Africa perfectly poised to gain from digital tuition

The library at Monash University South Africa, the local campus representing Australia’s Monash University, houses 417,000 electronic monographs or e-books available on platforms, the largest source of information of this kind in Africa.

Students more tech-savvy and enjoying access to rich information resources. (Image: Monash University SA)

The library supports teaching and research in the faculties of Arts, Business and Economics and Information Technology.

The academic institution is also differentiated by the fact that it provides access to more than 1040 databases, more than any other university on the continent.

Anusuya Aramugam, Electronic Resources Librarian at Monash University SA, explains that the functionality behind technology and access to information is supporting an increasing number of tech-savvy students.  

There are a number of ways in which this information is sourced and archived in the library. Aramugam mentions the role of authors, content aggregators, publishers, subscription services and perpetual access, amongst others.

The subscription service, for example, ensures that content is updated on a regular basis to keep up with changes in technology.

“Students use e-books and download chapters, for example. The Internet is made available to ensure that ebooks can be downloaded in PDF format. As soon as users realise that the information is available digitally or electronically, there is an immediate interest. It is about the functionality and accessibility,” explains Aramugam.

The advent of digital technology has had a major impact on the education field. It has helped to create a rich source of information and radically transformed the processes of sourcing and accessing this information.

In terms of security, Aramugam states that in addition to licence agreements in place, the University has digital link software that automatically authenticates registered students and staff. This helps to keep control over resources.

Aramugam says the scope and magnitude of ebooks databases means that students have access to a rich source of information, the scale of which has not been available in Africa before.

Chris Tredger