From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Librarian, Prof. Chinwe Anunobi, has confirmed that library activities across the offices and branches of the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) have been digitized, thus making the literary and intellectual materials easily accessible to the public from any part of the world.
In addition to that, she said that measures have also been taken to expedite construction work on the “abandoned” headquarters of NLN located at Central Area, Abuja, and had also secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to construct new NLN prototype branches in Ilorin, Kwara State; and Abeokuta, Ogun state, respectively.
Prof. Anunobi told journalists at a press conference in Abuja, on Tuesday, that the National Library is about 57 years old with a consequential 60 years old information resources, hence, it’s not out of place that some of the information resources are weak and deteriorated due to age and usage.
She explained: “To salvage and preserve them, we engaged in the digitization exercise aimed at preservation, increased availability and wider accessibility leveraging information and communication technology. While digitization activities were going on, the development and deployment of the National Repository of Nigeria (NRN) was about 70 per cent completed. We hope to achieve completion and commissioning for public use by the end of November, 2022.”
She disclosed that the NRN will house in electronic form, all Nigerian heritage that has been deposited from inception to date by authors, printers or publishers, in compliance with the legal deposit law, and it will be accessible by every Nigerian and beyond, regardless of status, qualification, or location.
She also explained that access to the materials will be in three categories, namely, full access, partial access (metadata and content page) and read only; and it is not only designed to increase visibility of Nigerian intellectual heritage but also to enable creators of the intellectual heritage have return on investments.
Prof. Anunobi confirmed that NLN has also leveraged on improved technology to developed a virtual library that is fully ready for deployment, and it will provide the reading public anywhere in the world, access to NLN operations and services. “This effort will enhance visibility and use of the rich National Library heritage as well as globalize our operations,” she said.
She also confirmed automation of the platform which makes it possible for authors and publishers to apply and receive with dispatch, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Serials Number (ISN), and Catalogue in Publication (CIP), contrary to the age-long practices.
“We have also deployed KOHA library automation software for cataloguing and classification in National Library. In April, we launched our Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), the window for all the resources housed in NLN. This will enable users to virtually check for the materials we have, and their exact location, without physically rummaging our shelves.
“Similarly, the ISBN verification platform has helped authors and publishers to verify the genuineness of the ISBN they are using, and has also helped eliminate the faking of standard numbers.”
She also stated that digitization exercise in NLN has also resulted in the indexing of all Nigerian newspapers, making them available online, hence researchers can easily access news stories and articles of their interest.
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