WiderNet lauded for helping Somali universities ‘overcome information famine’

January 14, 2019

A story posted by University World News on Jan. 11 provides a detailed look at the impact made by the WiderNet Project’s eGranary Digital Library on 10 university campuses in Somalia. With internet access still “slow, unreliable, and expensive” for universities in the Puntland region of Somalia, the eGranary offers an important alternative to outdated textbooks and other printed materials.

Often referred to as the “internet in a box,” the eGranary provides offline access to over 35 million digital resources and includes a built-in proxy and search engine that emulates the internet experience. UNC School of Information and Library Science Associate Professor Cliff Missen founded and directs the nonprofit WiderNet Project, as well as its research and development lab WiderNet@UNC.

Written by Dr Saeed Fahia, technical adviser at the Department of Higher Education of Puntland Ministry of Education, the recent article includes survey feedback from administrators, students, and faculty members.

“The findings of our evaluation survey suggest that the eGranary libraries have greatly benefited the staff and students of the Puntland universities,” Fahia writes.  “The small digital information servers that were installed continue to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, and research in these institutions. The results of the evaluation survey challenge the institutions to continue improving the use of eGranary libraries. As long as internet access remains inadequate, the surveyed lecturers and students recommend that all institutions install eGranary digital libraries.”

Click here to read the full story.