Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Role of University Libraries in Enhancing Local Content Availability in the Nigerian Community

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Role of University Libraries in Enhancing Local Content Availability in the Nigerian Community

Article excerpt

Introduction

What is local content? According to Abdul Waheed Khan, in his paper presented in a UNESCO and World Summit on the Information Society, "Local content is an expression and communication of a community's locally generated, owned and adapted knowledge and experience that is relevant to the community's situation". Bhattacharjee (2001) says that local content is generally defined as a work which is produced under the creative control of nationals of the country. Meanwhile, the economist definition of local content is that it is the proportion of input which comes from the country itself, as opposed to those imported. Observing that the term "local content" simply refers to indigenous production of anything, the objectives of this paper are;

1. To review the importance of local content in the context of knowledge.

2. To suggest the role to be played by Nigerian university libraries in developing local content emanating from the university communities.

3. To suggest roles to be played by university libraries in the attempt to publish local content originating from Nigerian university communities to the global world.

Literature Review

Local content is important for national development. It is a product that nations, countries and communities should seize before the end of next decade. The educational, social, economic, political, and religious despondence of today's society is highly related to the reliance of man on non-local content, leaving the often rich, compactable and prized native produce to die slowly without reference to it. This was the ugly observation of several world organizations and scholars around the globe, which resulted in the copious summons to all countries of the world, especially the African countries that are yet to discover the value of their locally generated information, to ensure organization, dissemination and application of the same information in all facets of life's activities.

On Thursday, April 22, 2010, the Nigerian local content bill was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan while in acting capacity. Since then, Nigeria's analysis of the gains and future of the law is barely narrowed to the economic sector, largely concerned with the empowerment of Nigerian nationals in the country's oil and gas industry, arousing little or no consciousness in other sectors like information, which is the power of western nations. The strength, extremes and all-sector importance of the law is not yet understood by Nigerians. Maybe, that President Jonathan and Nigerians, judging by few comments, are happy that this new law will help provide domestic jobs to Nigeria's 140 million citizens, is a representation of how narrowed they have placed the importance of the law. It is no doubt however, that Nigerians may be happier when they shall see and comprehend the benefits of the law in the information milieu (Edemhanria, 2010).

Local content also sharpen government and private enterprises. The studies of Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz (2001); Duran-Romero (2003); Ondategui (2001) and European Union Reports (2002, 2006) reveal the positive result of employing university content (thesis, dissertations, etc.) to production by government and private enterprises in Europe. The application of local research knowledge to manufacturing, engineering, business and other services can be of immense advantage to a community's economic growth. Universities furnish qualified and mobile human resources, researchers and/or students, whose services can be enlisted by the corporate world, with appropriate information.

Moreso, local content provision is an integral part of the development process of local communities. A library with content of local relevance will encourage communities to make use of the library services, especially if they are empowered to participate in development of the content. Greyling and Zulu (2010) opines that low local content on the Web inhibits buy-in from local communities into digital resources and thereby inhibit development of digital skills. …

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