The National University of Samoa (NUS), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched the national Samoa Digital Library (SADIL) Project on Monday 17th of January 2022 at the NUS Fale Samoa.
The Digital Library is part of the Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative (SKSI), which is collectively funded by the India South-South Cooperation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and UNDP.
SKSI is a rights-based initiative that acknowledges the right to access to information by all Samoans, contributing towards an enabling environment for enhanced digital development. The initiative also aims to produce a user-friendly localized knowledge e-platform, providing access to full text, bibliographical and institutional information from Samoa and international sources that are openly licensed.
An objective of this initiative is the establishment of a knowledge platform that comprises of two repositories (the Lifelong Learning Lab and the Research repository) and a digital library.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a heavy reliance on online technology for working and learning. Hence the digital library is timely with its wealth of digital resources – providing online access to information for work, for education and for use in our daily lives. Knowledge is power. Therefore, access to quality information empowers people to make the right choices and the right decisions, hence ensuring an empowered knowledge-based society,” said the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Seuula Ioane Tua’au.
The national digital library aims to increase access to bibliographic and institutional information from Samoa in English and Samoan.
The development of the multilingual interface of the digital library was carried out by national consultant, Mose Mose.
The project is now complete, and the launch ceremony also served as the official handover of the National Digital Library to the National University of Samoa to administer through its Learning Resource Centre (NUS Library) on behalf of all of Samoa. The Digital Library currently has numerous electronic resources on Samoa mainly from NUS.
Both key donors, India and the United Nations, reaffirmed their commitment to the development of inclusive knowledge societies in Samoa.“India, as a partner and true friend, would like to extend a helping hand to Samoa towards its socio-economic development. I would be very happy to engage with the Ministry of Education and see how we can work together in the areas of education, e-learning, capacity-building and human resource development,” said India’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Muktesh K. Pardeshi, who joined the launch virutally.
“The future of learning, like most facets of our society nowadays, is digital. We need to move with the times. A key part of this digital transformation is digital libraries, as we have seen here today. Digital libraries ensure continuity and availability of information regardless of the circumstances. As the pandemic continues to evolve, presenting multi-faceted challenges, we must also respond accordingly. Digital libraries have emerged as vital pathways to high quality educational content ensuring all Samoans can access information freely and learn without disruptions, regardless of current limitations,” said the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu.
The Project Team and Management acknowledged the significant contribution of enriching electronic historical and archaeological records on Samoa from the NUS Centre of Samoan Studies.
The Digital Library also contains resources from external libraries such as the United Nations Digital Library. The Digital Library in the near future will also contain resources from the Government Ministries and will be linked directly to the Ministry of Education.