By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has unveiled a database called ‘Boldscholar’ that would proffer solutions for pirated works of Nigerian authors.
Prof. Chinwe Anunobi, Chief Executive Officer of NLN at the unveiling of an AI- Powered E-library Platform, ‘Boldscholar’ in Abuja, said the platform would break the jinx of writing and people not getting access to the books written.
Anunobi said that with the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), there was need to move from the traditional means of depositing resources to online format.
She added that this would help generate money for the authors and publishers as well as Nigerian would benefit from getting access to electronic resources.
According to her, Nigerians are highly prolific writers, just imagine within the space of one year, we issued 17,000 International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
“This platform is a database and the national library has the responsibility to collect, process and preserve every information and resource emanating from Nigerians.
“We have been doing it religiously in the traditional format and then with the introduction of ICT it became very difficult for us to gather all the resources that are published in the country in electronic format.
“Initially, we didn’t have any choice but to ask them to submit their resources in CD and flash but we discovered that those that were published directly online but then it became difficult to get them into the memory of the country.
“Thinking of how to solve this problem, Boldscholar in June 2022 approached us to help us with a databank for the national library so that all those resources published electronically, we can have them within the memory of the country.
“So we embraced it and sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). So for us it’s a win-win thing for us because we are going to now have everything that is published in Nigeria so that publishers and authors can have value for their work.
“It will also help visibility because users will be able to access them from the comfort of their houses . It is a win-win thing, authors and publishers will get money and people will know what authors are writing,” she said.
Also, the Consultant and developer of Boldscholar, Chukwuemeka Godswill, said that platform would be of immense benefit to Nigerians as they would only pay one thousand naira for reading online.
Godswill said the platform would curb piracy and authors would be afforded the opportunities to earn money for their works.
According to him, the platform was developed to create online visibility for books published by Nigerian authors, for easy access to scholars.
“It is also to provide aggregate journals published by Nigerian tertiary institutions for global visibility and impact factor acceleration, fastrack the proliferation of e-learning in Nigeria and across Africa by providing easy access to digital resources required for online studies.
“It provide easy access to education resources for the visually impaired through audio books, enables Nigerian tertiary institutions and authors to generate revenue (IGR) from their intellectual property (journals and books) through a system that makes them earn revenue for every page accessed by researchers.
“We discovered Nigerians write books but nobody reads these books so we initiated this platform to help reach both local and international audience,” he said.
“On Boldscholar, you can have a billion readers and as more people reads, the authors get more money unlike what it used to be when after writing a book, you hardly see people reading such.
“The platform will also help the national library to collect all the books published by Nigerian as obtained in other climes and readers can also access contents from Nigerian authors,” he said.
He, therefore, said that the platform had been built in such a way that authors work could be translated into 40 languages, adding that the platform would be readily available for access in two weeks.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman said that literacy works had contributed in preserving the culture of the Nigerian society, hence the need to preserve the works of the authors for economic and national growth.
Represented by the Director of Basic Education in the ministry, Dr Folake Olatunji-David, he said that there was however need for change in every sector by reflecting a rich cultural diversity, presenting solutions and fostering communities through literature.
He said that literary works had also helped in address addressing societal issues like corruption, gender equality, and social justice.
“In Nigeria, writers are at the forefront of encouraging people of all ethnicities to march toward a future full of vigour and vitality. Therefore, the role of writers in our society is irreplaceable.
“Writers have, over the years, helped to emancipate people’s thinking, stimulate people’s enthusiasm, and inspire people to march towards the goal of national consciousness.
“Looking back, I think that our Nigerian writers, like workers in other fields, have scored considerable achievements and should enjoy the respect, trust, and love of our government,” he said.
Similarly, the President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mr Camillus Ukah, said the association had placed a significant emphasis on promoting literature in schools and communities across Nigeria.
Ukah said it had also partnered with educational institutions, libraries, and government agencies to cultivate a love for reading and writing among the youth.
“The association has witnessed remarkable achievements and significant milestones.Together, we have worked tirelessly to promote and celebrate Nigerian literature, to amplify the voices of our talented authors, and to inspire the next generation of storytellers.
“We have fostered an environment that encourages creativity, intellectual discourse, and cultural exchange, and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together.
“One of our best achievements has been the successful revival of the Mbari Series, a monthly discussion programme that provides a platform for established writers.
“It has also been a platform for aspiring writers to discuss, learn, grow, connect with one another, and bond with mentors,” he said.
He reiterated the need to recognise the vital role that creativity played in shaping the future of the country and as such had empowered young minds to find their voices, embrace their identities, and contribute to the rich literary tapestry of Nigeria. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi