AFRICA: African Digital Library online [19991209]

AFRICA: African Digital Library online [19991209]

Originally posted to : AFRO-NETS Dated: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 09:40:11 -0500 (EST)

African Digital Library on-line -------------------------------

A digital library for the benefit of users throughout Africa, went on-line 3 November 1999. In response to the need for library books in Africa, Technikon SA (TSA) has provided an initial sponsorship of ZAR 1m to set up the African Digital Library.

The library is being established by TSA and the Association of Afri- can Universities in collaboration with netLibrary, a private American company. It will provide Internet access to African users throughout the continent to a library of full-text books at no cost to the user.

Over 60 publishers will provide full-text books. Encryption will en- sure that only one user will access a book at any one time, and loan periods will be a few hours as users work with the books.

"The cost of establishing physical infrastructure, purchase and main- tenance of books makes the provision of an acceptable level of sup- port a daunting task. The cost of joining virtual libraries is out of reach for many African institutions. Accordingly, the COLISA (Confed- eration of Open Learning Institutions of South Africa) partners are coming in to provide support. TSA's Centre for Lifelong Learning is approaching private and public sector institutions," says Paul West, the Centre's Director.

Sponsorships will be on a per-book basis, and sponsors will be able to advertise by means of banners per book sponsored.

As far as use is concerned, persons in any Africa country with a server having an African domain, will be able to access the library via:

Servers such as those with a .com suffix which cannot be identified as African should provide the Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning with their IP address range so that the service can become accessible free of charge to their subscribers also. Users will then be able to open an account with the library free of charge.

The library will be made available to people using the Internet in Africa only. As Internet access expands in Africa, the e-book collec- tion will grow and accommodate user needs.

"At this point the library contains 3,000 books, and the collection will be built as fast as funds permit," said West. "The African Digi- tal Library is yet another venture initiated by TSA's Centre for Lifelong Learning to bring learner support to learners in Africa. It is an exciting step which will open doors for many who would previ- ously have had limited access to resource material. Technikon SA has great hopes for development of this service for the benefit of the peoples of Africa."

For further information, contact:

Paul West Director CLL Technikon SA

--- end of message ---

[This item is distributed in the "extra" service of the UN's IRIN information service, but may not neccessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For feedback, further information or free subscriptions, contact IRIN at fax: +254 2 622129 or e-mail Photos, maps and links at ]

Subscriber: Keyword: IRIN

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific