With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to halt. The first casualty was the education sector as all the institutions were closed fearing the fast spread of the virus. So, the students preparing for various courses lost the physical space they used to share for learning.
However, the technological virtual spaces came to the rescue. Online and digital libraries played an important role in providing the digital platform to these students. In fact, given the easy reach and accessibility, online educational libraries are emerging as a future platform for students.
Rising Kashmir’s senior education correspondent Riyaz Bhat lists some of the best online or digital libraries that have helped the students in filling the learning gaps especially after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Digital Library of India (NDLI)
The National Digital library of India is a project under the Ministry of Education, Government of India. The objective is to collect and collate metadata and provide full-text indexes from several national and international digital libraries, as well as other relevant sources.
In the library, the content is available in almost all languages that are being widely used in India.
The National Digital library of India is providing access to over 58,000,000 online resources in different languages that are being used in India.
Reportedly, the library is offering resources, books, journals, data sets, audiobooks, lectures, video lectures, presentations, notes, question papers, solutions in subject areas like Law, Medicine, Humanities, Sciences, Engineering, Literature and Management.
“In the library, the students can find the relevant learning resources by initiating searches based on important criteria like type, subject, and source. The NDLI has been collaborating with top digital libraries across the world to enable students to study at home by accessing additional and high-quality content,”
NDLI commits to make available to the learner's community learning resources through a single window, National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) has sponsored the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) project and arranged funding through the Ministry of Education.
Universal Digital Library
To collect and protect the creative, fictional, and scientific works of mankind in digital format, the Universal Digital Library was launched as part of the Million Book Project.
Currently, Lakhs of users visits the Universal Digital Library online to access millions of books scanned and recorded by the panel.
To make the library more learner-friendly, the Universal Digital Library has set advanced search options on the website of the library so that the learners can find the related information in a short possible time.
Besides, the Universal Digital Library has the option to surf through the collection of e-books and other virtual resources.
The learners only have to submit the right keywords like the book title, author, year of publication, subject, and language to find their desired book or any other resource.
One of the goals of the Digital Library of India is to provide support for full-text indexing and searching based on OCR (optical character recognition) technologies where available.
According to the research, one of the goals of the Digital Library of India is to provide support for full-text indexing and searching based on OCR (optical character recognition) technologies where available.
Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
Another digital library, the DOAB is a community-driven discovery service that catalogues and offers free access to academic, peer-reviewed open access books and assists the learners to locate reliable open entrances to book publishers.
According to DOAB, they offer all the services free of charge and all data is freely available.
The library produces books’ metadata to expand the distribution, visibility and impact of the online content. “The directory is open to all publishers of academic, peer-reviewed books that are published open access and that meet academic standards. All publishers included in DOAB are screened for their peer review procedures and licensing policies.”
On February-07-2021, DOAB said that it has effectively shifted to a new open foundation milieu, based on DSpace-6. Against its backdrop, all its services will remain free of charge with all data being freely available.
DSpace is an open-source repository software package typically used for creating open access repositories for scholarly and/or published digital content.
Internet Archive Library
The non-profit library provides access to learners for millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
According to the library, the users can access the Internet Archive to get information and study-material of over 525 billion web pages.
Through the Internet Archive Library, the users can freely access books, videos, audio, images, and web pages from some of the popular online sources.
The library while sharing some of the sources said that the users are redirected to Universal Libraries, American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, Children’s Library, Project Gutenberg, and Community Texts.
The library makes it easier for readers to find appropriate content by organizing digital books by language.
According to the figures of the library regarding the availability of study material and other content, the library has 588 billion web pages, 28 million books and texts,14 million audio recordings (including 220,000 live concerts), 6 million videos (including 2 million Television News programs), 3.5 million images and 580,000 software programs.
British Council Online Library
With an amount premium of Rs 1800 per annum, the British Council Online Library (India) is not only providing services of a wide range of online books to its users or members but has made available a collection of newspapers and magazines.
The library has been in the efforts of upholding cultural relationships and generating educational opportunities in different countries, including India.
Besides helping its Indian members to understand the English language, the library also allows the users to access an online library.
One is eligible to access all the data that has been made available to users when the individual signs up for membership in a digital library.
Among the data available in the archives of the library includes a wide variety of digital content like e-books, e-journals, e-magazines, e-newspapers, audiobooks, games, and school resources.
The users can also download the content of their choice.
The British Council offers face-to-face teaching in more than 80 teaching centres in more than 50 countries.