The African Digital Library

The African Digital Library

Anyone who lives in Africa and has access to the Internet can use "The African Digital Library", which was jointly created by the Association of African Universities (AAU), Technikon SA (TSA) and NetLibrary (NL). Net Library is an American company that specialized in setting up digital libraries for universities and companies.

Whereas libraries normally restrict access to their collections, this is the only known digital library of its size that opens its doors to such a large geographic region. By pointing your browser at <>, you will arrive at the library's front door. Take the 'Register to use the library FREE' the first time you visit. This will take you into the library where it will attempt to determine where you are (i.e. in Africa or somewhere else).

If the library correctly finds you to be in Africa, it will present you with a form to complete with basic information such as your name, telephone number and desired login name. You are then registered free of charge and can use the library immediately. If the library is not sure of your whereabouts, you will be asked to complete a form which is sent to the administrator, who checks your address and telephone and then opens an account for you. Your login name will then be sent to you by e-mail.

When you return to the library, you go to the same link as before, <> and click on 'Use the Library' link. Once in the library, you then click 'login' at the top of the page, enter your login name and password selected when you registered and enter the library collection.

The collection covers subjects such as management, health, agriculture, religions, information technology and many more topics. You can do a 'full text' search for the exact words you are looking for in an eBook. There are many eBooks on learning to use programmes such as MS Word, MS Excel and others. The more traditional methods of searching for eBooks using keywords, author, title and subject are also available in the African Digital Library.

The library collection comprises one copy of each title, which can used from within any country in Africa, via the Internet. Once an eBook has been drawn by one user, it becomes unavailable to all other users. The effectiveness of the search facilities ensure that eBooks are only needed for a few minutes. Once returned to the library by the user, they are immediately available for use by another users, frequently in an entirely different country.

Whilst eBooks are currently all in English, negotiations are underway to encourage non-English publishers to publish their books in eBook format. Companies and international agencies are being encouraged to support this venture as it gives support to every library and lifelong learner on the continent.

Any African library wanting to add this collection of ebooks to its resources need only provide one or more Internet-connected PCs for users. The users can then access eBooks from within the library, in much the same way they access the library's physical book collection.

-For more information contact:
netLibrary, Inc.
3080 Center Green Drive
Boulder, CO 80301, USA
Tel: +1-303-415-2548
Fax: +1-303-415-0468


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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