The eGranary Digital Library, an offline library also known as The Internet in a Box, developed by a US based, non-profit called WiderNet Project is to commence operation in Nigeria, especially in Universities.
The project puts millions of digital documents, e-books, websites, mulitmedia and academic texts, on to a server in a school or university that allows an offline viewing.
Abubakar Mohammed, a final year law student at Ahmadu Bello University said to Al Jazeera, “It gives me up-to-date information unlike the normal library, where textbooks sometimes are outdate.
“It gives me an oppurtunity to access libraries not only in Nigeria but libraries outside.”
The project allows information to be available to local users at no cost, even when the internet goes down.
Zainab Ismail, an Islamic Law Student, the project means she no more needs to visit the university book library.
“I find anything I search for.
“It is fast and works even without a connection.
“It helps me a lot before and after classes.” she said
However, the project is not restricted to students alone, as it is viewed as especially cost-effective at a time when funding for education has been cut.
A teacher at Ahmadu Bello University, Ibrahim Barkindo, said, “Lecturers use it to update themselves , to conduct research, writing journals and their projects.
“Sometimes we read on screen; sometimes we save some of the pages and print them later use.”
The eGranary project lets readers to upload and edit local material, allowing them to create and edit their own websites, which are stored locally.
The founders of the project are still working on expanding access by putting the library onto a small chip, which would enable it to be taken anywhere and is likely to further boost its popularity.