Dubai’s and the Middle East’s first electronic library is a far cry from those of another era which housed dusty books on rusty bookshelves.
“This is just an idea, the first step towards something big and different. The library has many e-services like different online databases that offer access to different technologies and has more computers and fewer books. The response towards the library in terms of members and visitors has been very good,” said Eissa Abdulla Khalaf Abdulla, Library Services Officer, Public Libraries Department, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.
Being the first electronic library in the Middle East, it is an incorporation of technologies from all around the world. One of the popular services includes the ‘self learning’ plan. Eissa said: “Some of our older members are not fully aware of how to use new technology and the self-learning service includes e-programmes where they can learn themselves through audio and visual mediums. We just guide them with the basic information. People are very inquisitive about these technologies and want to learn more.”
The e-library offers members quick and easy access to a vast pool of study and research databases. Not only do they cover a spectrum of subjects both national and international, these databases also are current and as relevant as possible. There are three databases, which include the library’s online public access catalogue, which has details of all the collections by title and location, Ebrary that provides access to an online database that categorises and archives more than 52,000 books and the Oxford Islamic Studies Online that encompasses over 3,500 Quranic materials.