The Development of a User-generated Digital Library

Current ICTs and mobile technology have the potential to empower communities to preserve and manage their own local knowledge. This paper looks at the development of the Ulwazi Programme, a community-generated digital library of local content, based in the eThekwini Municipality of Durban, South Africa. The programme uses crowd-sourcing and Web 2.0 technologies to enable communities served by the municipal library to contribute to a digital resource of local knowledge. By creating an online platform that inhabitants of the municipality can engage with and contribute to, the author argues that communities start participating in the global information society. Making this information more widely available can also serve to promote cross-cultural understanding and tolerance and in turn, social cohesion. Technology empowers communities to record what they feel is important in a way that makes sense and is logical to them. The Ulwazi Programme increases the capacity of the local communities of eThekwini to develop and access content in their own language. Previously technologically-marginalised communities now have online access to local knowledge, along with the prospect of participating in the global information society and developing digital literacy.

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Publication Name: IST-Africa 2013 Conference Proceedings