Building On Digital Libraries’ Growing Momentum in Africa

Gracian Chimwaza, Blessing Chataira and Chipo Msengezi | University World News | June 20, 2014

Institutional repositories are increasing in number, improving access to online archiving and preserving and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of research institutions. Doors are opening for students in low-income countries to access instructional and tutorial materials from leading universities in the developed world at the touch of a button.Digital libraries – collections of documents organised in an electronic form – encompass learning tools that could potentially enable huge strides in research, teaching and learning in African academic and research institutions.

They support the development of institutional repositories, open educational resources or OERs, and massive open online courses or MOOCs.  OERs are educational resources that are openly available for use by educators and students, without the need to pay royalties or licence fees, while MOOCs are a recent development providing free online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.  There is a proliferation of new private colleges and universities in Africa, largely based on income from tuition fees. OERs and MOOCs are competing with this business model...