Libraries have always been a crucial part of the learning process. One can describe the library as a centrally organized set consisting of resources that include an entire spectrum of different types of media (text, video, hypermedia) as well as human services. When we think about libraries, the first thing that comes to mind is the physical components such as space, equipment, storage, racks full of books and other academic material.
No one can deny the role reading play in the life of students. Since digitization has taken over most of the components in school learning and higher education, learning through digital libraries is not a thing of the past anymore. The decline in visits to conventional libraries suggests that students prefer to access information and read content without visiting a library in person.
While many libraries and universities are digitizing their materials to be accessible to members and the general public, let us take a look at the main benefits of digital libraries for higher education:
- Instant access to resources: There is no luxury such as having access to abundant knowledge and relevant information pertaining to specific subjects. A Digital library cuts short the time and effort one would put into visiting a conventional library and finding the right book. With options like in-built content search with only a few keywords or titles, searching for what you need from thousands of resources becomes easy.
- No physical boundaries: Accessing the digital library is much easier and efficient, unlike a conventional library, students don't have to check the opening and closing hours to plan their visits; with just an internet connection, you can access a digital library anytime, anywhere. Digital libraries provide the students with the convenience of learning at their own comfort. Students can access and read the library materials in various digital formats (eBooks, audiobooks, videos on demand 24 hrs/day) anytime and anywhere using their preferred devices.
- Preservation of resources: Conventional libraries need to invest heavily in the maintenance and preservation of library resources. The physical library resources are accessed and reused by readers regularly, where it becomes difficult to prevent the deterioration of books, vinyl records, cassette tapes and other resources. Whereas with digital libraries, the content is digitized, and the digital resources are accessible to a large number of readers regularly without focusing on the preservation of physical materials.
- Real-Time Interactions: One of the main benefits of using the digital library is that students can clarify their doubts then and there with new-age management software that can facilitate interaction between readers and administrators. The readers can also interact by setting up online communities and find a resolution to their doubts in real-time. This dynamic and real-time interaction feature has the potential to make the readers switch from conventional libraries to digital libraries.
- Updated information: Digital libraries help you access the updated resources with the latest technology available, the conventional libraries may fall behind in purchasing the latest editions of books, magazines, and other content resources. But digital libraries in higher education institutes or organizations can update the digital library regularly. Many publishers these days allow digital libraries to make the latest editions and magazines accessible to the readers based on the pay-as-you-read model. Hence, digital libraries help engage readers by providing access to the latest publications.
The above benefits will help you see the increasing importance and necessity of digital libraries for higher education in the age of technological advancement and digitization.
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