Digital Library Resources and International Education: Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries
This paper argues that the advent of Internet and library resources online could be beneficial to universities in developing countries if challenges are carefully analyzed and addressed. International education in this context refers to academic activities around the world, with a special emphasis on developing countries. Academic activities are dependant on libraries. The traditional library refers to physical buildings and books in a physical location. Things are no longer quite the same in the digital age. Library resources are becoming largely digital. Some materials are born digital, other are digitized. With the Internet, these resources are potentially available to anybody any where in the world with a web browser. Mass digitization of documents by academic, government and corporate entities keeps increasing the volume of digital resources available in libraries. Consequently, users no longer need to physically go to a library to have access to library materials. On the other hand, it is a known fact that academic institutions in developing countries are under-equipped in terms of library resources. For this reason, Internet and mass digitization of library materials in developed countries represent an opportunity for resources for needy institutions in developing countries. The first part of the paper analyzes resource needs of library users in the developing countries and new opportunities theoretically available to them with the advent of Internet and library resources online. The second part of the paper analyses challenges that could prevent access to digital resources available online, such as computing equipment, Internet access, resources’ access rights, copyright issues, etc. The third part of the paper suggests ways to overcome these challenges in order to allow academic institutions in developing countries to have access to much needed library resources available online.
Keywords: Digital Libraries, International Education, International Development, Developing Countries
Dr. Michel Nguessan
Head of LIbrary and Academic Technology, Governors State University Library, Governors State University
Dr. Latifa Limam
Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science, Université de la Manouba