Many believe that CD‐ROM's storage capacity and its full integration with desktop and notebook computers make it an attractive technology for developing countries. Its integration with microcomputers offers developing countries several bonuses. One innovative use of the technology in developing countries is to combine it with online networks. Although there have been projects that improve the awareness of the potential of CD‐ROM in developing countries and a copious body of research work on the use of CD‐ROM technology is also available, there is still a gap between expectation and realisation. Thus several questions arise which require further evaluation. For example, what are the benefits of merging CD‐ROM technology with online networks in Africa? How can optical mass storage such as CD‐ROM and DVD (digital versatile/video disc) effectively be utilised to reduce an information gap in Africa? This paper describes the potential use of hybrid CD‐ROM/online technology in developing countries and provides partial answers to these questions as they relate to Africa.
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