e-Library Myanmar Project

Supporting educational change at an expanding range of universities in Myanmar by enabling access to knowledge and building skills and capacities

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A librarian helps students in Mandalay University's eLibrary room.
A librarian helps students in Mandalay University's eLibrary room.

Having timely access to the best international teaching, learning and research resources is essential for high quality education and research, and thereby for social and economic development.  

The online availability of global scholarship has opened up exciting new possibilities for academic institutions worldwide, and the opportunities are greatest for those in developing countries such as Myanmar where libraries do not have extensive print collections. Now, given appropriate support, institutions and their libraries have the potential to “catch up” quickly.

There are 48 universities and colleges in Myanmar under the control of the Ministry of Education (and more than 150 in total). After years of isolation, their libraries have very limited current print collections.  What’s more, until the start of the eLibrary Myanmar project in December 2013, no universities had access to online subscription resources.  As a result, research standards and output have been undermined, and students have missed out on the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed both in education and the workplace.

The eLibrary Myanmar project was created to enable libraries at universities under the control of the Ministry of Education to provide effective support for teaching, research and learning across all faculties - from the sciences to the social sciences and humanities.

As a result of the project (which began in December 2013), faculty and students at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon (formerly two of the most prestigious universities in Asia) can now access an impressive range of high quality international journals, databases and e-books for the first time.  We were pleased to welcome three additional universities to the project in November 2014 - University of Dagon and the University of Yadanabon (two of the largest undergraduate universities in Myanmar), and the University of Economics in Yangon. Access to e-resources is currently being set up.

Opportunities to promote sustainability through the development of a library consortium are being explored, and training will also be provided on open access, the changing landscape of scholarly communication, and copyright.

The eLibrary Myanmar project is funded by the Open Society Foundations’ Higher Education Support Program (HESP). 

December 1, 2013 - May 31, 2015.

  • Enabling access to a comprehensive multi-disciplinary package of over twenty core international subscription e-resources through effective negotiations with publishers
  • Increasing the skills and capacity of librarians, including IT and information literacy training
  • Empowering librarians to build close links with faculty
  • Raising awareness amongst faculty, researchers and students about the availability and benefits of e-resources (both subscription and open access), and improving skills and confidence through training
  • Encouraging faculty to embed the use of e-resources in the curriculum, particularly in priority subject areas including law, international relations and political science
  • Reviewing national copyright law and providing advice to ensure that revisions support libraries, education and access to knowledge
  • Supporting visibility of local research outputs through open access publishing and institutional repositories

A wide range of high quality international e-resources is now available to faculty and students at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon. View the full list here

Access to e-resources is currently being set up for the University of Dagon, the University of Yadanabon and the University of Economics in Yangon.

  • Access to a vast eLibrary is now available. Following negotiations with publishers, we have licensed and made available a comprehensive eLibrary containing over 10,000 full-text scholarly journals, more than 130,000 full-text academic e-books, and a vast range of other materials.
  • Single point of access to multiple e-resources. In order to promote discoverability and ease of use, content from the many individual e-resources can be cross-searched via a single EBSCO Discovery Service interface which has been customised for the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon, and which includes their branding. Customised EBSCO Discovery Service interfaces will be available at the University of Dagon, the University of Yadanabon and the University of Economics in Yangon shortly.
  • Training for librarians, faculty and students. An extensive programme of e-resources training for librarians, faculty and students is being implemented by our two highly experienced local Project Coordinators.  
  • Increased skills, capacity and confidence of librarians. Having received IT and e-resources training themselves, librarians are now helping our local Project Coordinators to provide training to faculty and students, as well as providing support to users in the library.
  • Improved technological infrastructure, bandwidth and library facilities.  From new fibre optic cables to new computers and air-conditioning units in the libraries, the project has already been a catalyst for major improvements to infrastructure, bandwidth and library facilities at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon. This is also the case at the University of Dagon, our most recent project partner.
  • Usage of e-resources is growing fast. There has been a big growth in usage of the EBSCO Discovery Service, the gateway to the eLibrary.
  • Increased library visibility. Libraries at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon do not currently have websites but, having set up Facebook pages in May 2014, librarians are now communicating regularly and have already attracted an impressive number of friends.
  • Interest from other universities. Additional universities have expressed an interest in joining the project and are working very hard to improve their technological infrastructure and bandwidth to support access to the eLibrary.

Download an information sheet about the eLibrary Myanmar project (PDF) here.

Contact Susanna Lob, Manager of the EIFL eLibrary Myanmar project.

One of the reforms that will need to take place in universities here is to make sure that in all the departments there is the ability for universities and students to shape curriculums and to have access to information from everywhere around the world, and that it’s not just a narrow process of indoctrination.
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, speaking with students at the University of Yangon at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall, November 14, 2014.