Digital Library and Influence On Online Studies
Access to scholarly information through the emergence of DLshas made Distance learning transform into online studies. Most Kenyan universities engaged in Distance learning or Virtual campuses have had to convert their content to digital content so as to stay updated with the technology. Under the previous distance learning systems most students and university staff faced various challenges ranging from distance barrier, inadequate quantity, lost in transit, mutilation, missshelved and scarcity (as a result of out-of-print). This increased burn outs among students and it increased the number of semester defaults among students. According to Kenya Methodist University students found it costly commuting for materials as well as burdened moving around with files.
As the political wing of the current government swung to power with the slogan moving from “analog” to “digital”. Indeed it is a complete migration of the way studies are taking place in our universities. The traditional library environment relies heavily on research articles in printed format, which were mostly published by commercial based outlets and made available to individuals, libraries and institutions that can afford the Subscription fees. However for the e-materials the cost of publication and distribution is reduced and thus makes it easily accessible and further convenient for students. All a student needs is a good gadget and internet connection and pap! They are in the library.
However, while the first and second world countries have been leveraging the DL to bridge information gap, there is still low adoption and usage of DLs in third world countries and African countries in particular. The success of a system can only be determined by user acceptance. This is the reason why scholars over the years have been researching to understand adoption and usage of new technologies. Researchers have identified various factors that influence adoption and usage of digital technology, ranging from individual, institutional and system characteristics. In Kenya public and private universities have striven to improve their online studies and thus increased use of the digital libraries which are not only upto date but as well as easy to handle but also cheap to maintain.
Due to the needs and focus of the students it was noted that senior students preferred e-learning resources than young students. Universities have had to establish post graduate digital libraries to reach out for this markets. Kenyatta University for example has a fully-fledged post graduate digital library. This makes the university a preferred destination for post-graduate studies, however the university that boasts of the best student to computer ratio, KeMU notes that mature students in her digital campus demand more of e-learning materials because they have busy schedules at work and thus it is convenient for them. Kenya Methodist has invested in latest technology whereby there is an online librarian to guide and provide instant solutions whenever one needed just as one would have in a physical library.