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, faculty and students at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon have had access to an impressive range of high quality international journals, databases and e-books since April 2014.
Three additional universities joined the project in November 2014 - Dagon University and Yadanabon University (two of the largest undergraduate universities in Myanmar), and the Yangon University of Economics. The project expanded further when West Yangon University joined in April 2015.
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).