View the PDF document The promise of digital libraries in developing countries

Witten, I. H., Loots, M., Trujillo, M. F., Bainbridge, D. (2001) Communications of the ACM 44(5), 82-85.

Digital libraries are a key technology for developing countries. They can assist human development by providing a non-commercial mechanism for distributing humanitarian information on topics such as health, agriculture, nutrition, hygience, sanitation, and water supply. Many other areas, ranging from disaster relief to medical education, from the preservation and propagation of indigenous culture to educational material that addressess specific community problems, also benefit from new methods of information distribution. Perhaps even more important than disseminating information originating in the developed world is the need to foster the abilty for people in developing countries to build information collections locally, for effective human development blossoms from empowerment rather than gifting.