Dienst Overview 2000-03-11 12:53:50 -0500

Overview and Introduction

What is Dienst?

The word "Dienst" refers to a number of things:

Conceptually, Dienst is a system for configuring a set of individual services running on distributed servers to cooperate in providing the services of a digital library.  The open architecture of the Dienst system - exposure of the functionality through an defined protocol - makes it possible to combine Dienst services in flexible ways and augment the existing services with other mediator services, which build on the functionality of the existing services.

The Dienst system originated with the Computer Science Technical Reports Project, a DARPA-funded collaboration to establish a digital library of computer science technical reports.  

What can Dienst be used for?

Broadly speaking, there are three ways that Dienst is used:

  1. Organizations that wish to join an existing digital library built using Dienst.  

  2. Organizations that wish to create a new distributed digital library with Dienst.

  3. Organizations that wish to undertake research in digital libraries using an existing Dienst digital library or by experimenting with the software.  The modular nature of the software encourages researchers who wish explore mechanisms for enhancing existing services or using the interfaces to existing services to built other services.

Notice: While the software has been built and tested according to conventional software engineering standards, we stress that it is research software.  Organizations wishing to use it for mission critical applications should consider a thorough review of the architecture, protocol, and software for robustness and security.

What kind of resources can Dienst be used for?

The distributed Dienst software is configured to handle textual resources (documents) in a variety of formats.  However, the Dienst architecture includes a sophisticated document model that accommodates a wide variety of digital resources.  Using the Dienst software for these other resources will require some programming.

How is Dienst licensed?

The Dienst protocol and software is copyrighted but is available for free and can be used and redistributed for non-commercial uses.  

Who uses Dienst?

The Dienst protocol and software is used in a variety of existing digital libraries and projects.  Some of these are listed below:

Who supports work on Dienst?

Dienst is a project of the CDLRG - Cornell Digital Library Research Group.  Work on Dienst sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on behalf of the Digital Libraries Initiative under Grant No. N66001-98-1-8908.  Additional work on Dienst is sponsored by the National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative Phase 2 Project Prism under Grant No. IIS-9817416. 

More Information?

More information is available by reading the other documents available at this site:

Also we have written a number of papers have been written about Dienst and its applications.  Refer to the References section.

Send mail to info@prism.cornell.edu for more information.


Predicting Indexer Performance in a Distributed Digital Library, Cornell University Technical Report and draft of submission to European Digital Library Conference, May 1999.

Using Query Mediators for Distributed Searching in Federated Digital Libraries, Draft of submission to ACM DL'99, August 1999.

A Characterization Study of NCSTRL Distributed Searching, Cornell University Technical Report, January, 1999

Defining Collections in Distributed Digitial Libraries, D-Lib Magazine, November 1998.

NCSTRL: Design and Deployment of a Globally Distributed Digital Library, Draft of submission to Journal of the Society of Information Scientists (JASIS) 1999.

Making Global Digital Libraries Work:  Collection Services, Connectivity Regions, and Collection Views.  ACM DL'98, June 1998.

The Networked Computer Science Technical Reports Library. Cornell Computer Science Technical Report, July 1996.

Dienst: Building a Production Technical Report Server. Chapter 15 in Advances in Digital Libraries, Springer Verlag 1995.

Dienst: implementation reference manual. Cornell Computer Science Technical Report, May 1995.

Dienst - An Architecture for Distributed Document Libraries. Communications of the ACM, April 1995, Vol 38 No 4 page 47.

"Drop-in" publishing with the World Wide Web. 2nd Int'l WWW Conference 1994.

A protocol and server for a distributed technical report library. Cornell Computer Science Technical Report, June 1994.