Library unveils e-resource centre for offline research

A Kenya National Library Services e-granary in Nakuru. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH
A Kenya National Library Services e-granary in Nakuru. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH 

The Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) has launched an e-granary server at its Nakuru branch for researchers to access information offline.

The facility also referred to as “the Internet in a Box” provides instant access to more than 32 million digital resources for researchers with inadequate Internet access.

The Sh156,000 e-granary server was donated by the US Embassy under the American Corner project which seeks to equip the modern library in the county.

Kenya National Library Services ICT officer Joseck Olala said the platform delivers instant access to a wide variety of educational resources including video, audio, books, journals, and websites.

He added that the information contained in the e-granary can be shared among readers.

“A single e-granary, connected to a wired or wireless local area network can serve thousands of users,” he said.

The system also allows for the addition of content as well as upgrading the existing information. The e-granary has features similar to those found on Internet-based e-books which enable one to search for information.

“The e-granary digital library comes with a built-in proxy and search engine that emulates the Internet experience,” he added.

It also includes built-in tools that allow subscribers to upload local materials as well as create and edit unlimited offline websites.

About six per cent of the content in the e-granary digital library is not available on the public Internet because most of the materials require a subscription or payment.

The e-granary is compatible with any operating system and it holds more than four terabytes of hard drive space. It can also be used by firms to store their records which reduces connectivity cost.

This is one of the major projects by the embassy since it entered into a partnership with the KNLS.

The e-resource services also include a video conferencing facility at the public library as well as in Kisumu to enable online interaction among students.

Debating club members from secondary schools in Nakuru and Kisumu are expected to be the first to engage in real time discussions on politics, education, environment, science, and current affairs via the platform.

The e-granary hosts an offline database on researchers, lecturers and the public who access the content at KNLS e-resource centres.

The system is widely used in developing countries with limited Internet access.