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General News of Saturday, 30 May 2015

Source: GNA

Second lady advocates digital libraries in Africa

The Second Lady, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur has called for the establishment of regional networks of digital libraries in Africa to accelerate the pace of research on the continent.

She said without any conscious effort to digitize the libraries and archives it would be difficult for the continent to harness its potential for accelerated development.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur was speaking at the fourth International Conference on African Digital Libraries and Archives (ICADLA-4) at the University of Ghana, Legon.

The conference, which was on theme: “Focusing on the strategic framework and road map for Africa’s Digital Libraries and Achieves” aims to provide a platform for African institutions to examine and review the development of national and international policies in relation to Africa.

The two-day forum is being attended by participants from regional and international policy institutions, archives, libraries, museums, government agencies and departments, all levels of educational institutions, funding institutions as well as research centres.

The conference was hosted by the Ghana Library Association (GLA), in collaboration with the Department of Information Studies of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Library Authority.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur also emphasized the need for a coordinating body that would be responsible for ensuring that the network comes in to help the various libraries that have problems with software issues and advice.

According to her, since 2009, there has been three successive conferences on digitization, yet there has not been much improvement in terms of the digitization of the libraries and archives and called on the authorities to do more in this regard.

She stressed the need to put in strategies and see how far the country’s libraries and archives have gone in the digitization effort.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur called for a strategic plan which would allow the regional networks to be divided into a sub-regional groups then upon improvement, move to the regional level for action to be taken.

She also charged the participants to come out with a plan on how to implement a road map of action for digital libraries and archives in Africa.

Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu, the Deputy Minister of Communication, who represented the Minister of communications, said advances in information documentation continue to open opportunities for mankind and if adequately harnessed, will contribute significantly to the accelerated development of the country.

He said the government has identified ICT as a key pillar and the enabler for the country’s socio-economic transformation, and that, the development of the Ghana ICT for Accelerated Development (ICTD4AD) policy has been developed alongside relevant enabling environment for the promotion of ICT as a catalyst for the nation’s development.

He said the emergence of digital libraries and achieves have created new fields of information documentation, which has led the world of information we live in, adding that, the world thrives on information.

He said the government's fibre optic project would also support the e-government project which will link all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to the seat of government.