Christensen defined a disruptive innovation or technology as one that eventually takes over the existing dominant technology in the market, despite the fact that the disruptive technology is both radically different to the leading technology and often initially performs worse than the leading technology according to existing measures of performance. In this paper we shall explore the concept of digital libraries and their potential to become disruptive innovations that may supplant the existing popularity of learning management systems. We present empirical evidence about the affordances of G-portal (a digital library) and describe a developmental project to build a digital library of geographical assets. G-portal serves an active role in collaborative learning activities in which students conduct a field study of an environmental problem within a geospatial context - beach erosion and sea level rise. The study examines five groups of students who used the G-portal and reports on their success: in finding information, creating multimodal learning artefacts, and constructing arguments.