Browsing by Department "Department of Knowledge and Information Stewardship"
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- ItemOpen AccessBuilding biodiversity data infrastructure for science and decision-making: information needs and information-seeking patterns in South Africa(2020) Daly, Brenda; De Jager, Karin; Higgs, RichardBiodiversity information is critical to inform science-based policy development as well as to support responsible and accountable land-use planning and decision-making practices. The uptake of available information for these uses is, however, not yet quantified or understood. Here, the extent to which the needs of biodiversity information end-users in South Africa are supported via existing information sources was investigated, at the science, practice and policy interface, using the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI's) online conservation mapping service users as a case study. A quantitative investigation of the information needs of end-users of biodiversity information was made, their information-seeking patterns analysed and the various uses of information by different user groups in South Africa investigated. This allowed for the implications of these needs and behaviour on system design and information provision to be formulated to better design the envisaged National Biodiversity Information System at SANBI. Based on a representative sample of end-users from policy, implementation and research backgrounds, a questionnaire was used and the responses were examined to determine which content was most useful, what barriers and enablers they face when trying to access biodiversity information, and what degree of interdisciplinary information is needed in addressing environmental problems. A sample of 778 (13%) respondents from a total of 5977 biodiversity information users was analysed from across the country. The study found that the lack of appropriate or available information remains one of the three highest unmet needs of biodiversity information end-users. The absence of good prior knowledge of sources of biodiversity information and unreliable and inaccurate information are two additional factors that hinder respondents in finding biodiversity information and achieving their goals. The major implication of information deficiency identified by respondents related to uncertain and/or inaccurate outcomes resulting in ill-informed decision-making. A key outcome of the analysis of the survey results are a series of recommendations on how these issues might be addressed, and it is envisioned that these may be used to help guide the development of a National Biodiversity Information System. A broad range of recommendations have been proposed, principally that the interoperability of information from various adjacent and disparate fields of study be combined with biodiversity information as a means of addressing environmental problems.
- ItemOpen AccessKnowledge production practices in higher institutions of learning in Zambia: a case of the University of Zambia(University of Cape Town, 2020) Kanyengo, Christine Wamunyima; Smit, J GretchenThe core business of higher education institutions such as universities is knowledge production. This is achieved by conducting research which results in various research products being produced, as well as through teaching and the production of graduates. The main objective of the study was to explore and describe knowledge production practices and their attributes within a university environment at the University of Zambia. The study's major contribution to knowledge is that it indicates to what extent this objective is achieved. A mixed methods case study approach that used both quantitative and qualitative research methodology was adopted for the study. The mixed methods analysis framework was based on grounded theory, bibliometric techniques, and concurrent triangulation. The site of investigation was the School of Medicine at the University of Zambia. The sampling technique also adopted a mixed methods approach by using purposive, availability and stratified purposeful sampling to sample the respondents. The PubMed/Medline database, academic staff, key informants and the documents reviewed all served as the key sources of information for the study. Data obtained from PubMed/Medline, questionnaires and semi structured interviews were quantitatively analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software, while the more qualitative information that was gleaned from open-ended questions, semi-structured interviews and documentary sources was analysed thematically. The subject analysis of PubMed/Medline articles was done using the VOSviewer software and Microsoft Excel. The findings reveal that the yearly research output from 1995 to 2015 was 281 scholarly papers in 159 journals. The lowest number of papers published were recorded in 1997, 2000, and 2004 while the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 show the highest number of papers per year; and the highest was recorded in 2015. It was found that, except in 1997 and 2000, most of these papers were authored by more than five researchers. This indicates a high degree of collaboration. The journals in which the academic staff were publishing in emanated from all over the world; Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The journals themselves are also a combination of both high impact factor journals such as the PLoS One, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, The Lancet, Malaria Journal and those with no impact factor like the Medical Journal of Zambia. The results indicate that the respondents mostly investigated and published in subject fields related to diseases most prevalent in Zambia, i.e. HIV and Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In addition, the findings indicate that the majority of the academic staff were born after 1960 (73%), with high digital information retrieval skills (95.2%), and with their research output published mainly in journals. The knowledge was produced for various reasons: 85.4% for research purposes, 80.5% for academic promotion, 80.5% for production of knowledge, 73.2% to improve teaching, 61% to provide evidence, 51.2% to change practice, 41.5% to improve policy, 41.5% for personal advancement, and 24.4% for research funding. The knowledge was produced ethically, advancing scholarship, and deemed to be beneficial to society. The overall conclusion drawn from the study is that the knowledge productivity of the School of Medicine has steadily increased over the years and that this is supported by various institutional policies. Additionally, there is increased collaboration with persons outside the continent, whilst there is less collaboration with countries in Africa. The key recommendation for the School of Medicine is that it should work with and within the various layers of the university's institutions such as the Library, Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies, University of Zambia Press, and the Centre for Information and Communication Technology. This would ensure that impediments to knowledge production, diffusion and utilisation are mitigated.
- ItemOpen AccessLibrary and Information Services (LIS) in astronomical research: an analysis of the contribution of LIS to the historical development of astronomy at the South African Astronomical Observatory(2021) De Young, Theresa; Raju, JayaThe objective of the study was to undertake a historical analysis of the contribution of library and information services (LIS) to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in the context of the historical development of astronomy in South Africa. Three critical questions guided the study: How has library and information service provision to the SAAO evolved historically in the context of the historical development of astronomy in South Africa?; What is the current status of LIS in astronomical research at the SAAO?; and, What possible new roles could the SAAO Library and its librarians play in an astronomy research facility such as the SAAO to contribute to South African astronomical research? In order to find shared experiences and trends relating to in the field of LIS in astronomical research, data were gathered using semi-structured interviews with purposively selected individuals experienced in the field of astronomical research as well those associated with astronomical LIS; relevant literature sources; primary documents from the SAAO Library archive; and, the researcher's own experiences at the SAAO Library (autoethnography). In adopting a qualitative approach via a phenomenological historical design, the study did not use explicit theory, but anticipated 'theory' in the form of patterns and trends emerging, inductively, at the end of the study out of the data collected. Content analysis together with qualitative research software application, NVivo 12 Pro, were used for analysis and coding of data collected for the study.
- ItemOpen AccessLibrary research support for masters and PhD students at the University of Eswatini(2020) Dlamini, Khosie Konkhekluhle; Raju, Jayarani; Mfengu, AndiswaThe changing academic and technological environment coupled with evolving research practices have greatly impacted the role played by academic libraries within the institutions they serve. This has sparked a global concern amongst academic libraries to re-evaluate their services as a means to aligning themselves to this new environment. As a result, academic libraries are transforming themselves and bringing about new services, particularly focussing on how they can enhance research output by providing support to researchers. Given this context, this study seeks to ascertain the extent of research support by University of Eswatini (UNESWA) Libraries for masters and PhD students at UNESWA. To address this objective, the following critical questions were generated: What are the current services being provided by UNESWA Libraries to support masters and PhD students at the University of Eswatini?; What are the library research needs of masters and PhD students at UNESWA?; To what extent are these needs being met by UNESWA Libraries?; and, If there are library research needs of masters and PhD students at UNESWA that are not being met by UNESWA Libraries, what research support services need to be put in place to address this deficiency? Schoombee's (2014) research lifecycle adapted for library research support was used as a supporting theoretical framework to guide the study. The study adopted a convergent parallel mixed methods approach within a pragmatism paradigm and a case study design. Academic staff members and librarians at UNESWA were purposively sampled whilst a census was conducted for all masters and PhD students at UNESWA. Data was collected using a structured paper-based questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and qualitative data was analysed thematically (by content analysis). The study concludes, inter alia, that despite the various library research support services provided by UNESWA Libraries for masters and PhD students, an expanded suite of research support services to more fully meet UNESWA's masters and PhD students' library research needs, is required. The study recommends that UNESWA Libraries should utilise available technologies and incorporate additional research support services that speak to the research needs of digital age masters and PhD students.
- ItemOpen AccessPositioning open access in a transformative paradigm(UCT Libraries, 2019) Nyahodza, LenaThis paper positions open access in a transformative worldview, advocating for the democratisation of scholarly communication processes to support equitable dissemination of and access to knowledge. The traditional scholarly communication (publishing) model demands the signing away of copyright, which makes publishers own research and demand subscription fees from readers to access research publications. This alienates knowledge from users as they are required to pay unaffordable fees to be able to access knowledge, which excludes readers from low-income countries, thus compromising their use of knowledge for community development. The exclusion of readers who cannot afford subscriptions indicate some form of capitalism in the form of knowledge commodification; and, open access challenges such dominant experiences by promoting access for all. Therefore, open access plays a democratic role that have great potential to support social justice agenda. All aspects of critical theory reflect in both closed publishing and open access publishing, with closed publishing model alienating readers and open access publishing creating opportunities for transformation and social justice by opening up knowledge for readers that cannot afford journal subscription fees.
- ItemOpen AccessStudent adoption and perceptions of the library and information mobile services at the University of Namibia(2020) Nakanduungile, Charlotte Ndeutala; Kahn, MichelleThe aim of the study was to examine students' adoption and perceptions of library and information mobile services at the University of Namibia (UNAM), Main Campus. The research objectives were: to assess factors influencing students' adoption and use of wireless technologies that enable them to access library and information services at UNAM Main Campus; to determine the challenges/opportunities that students face when accessing library and information mobile services at UNAM Main Campus; and to identify students' perceptions of the library and information mobile services offered by UNAM Main Campus library. The study employed a mixed methods approach to gather and analyse data, and was supported by the Diffusion of Innovations theory (DOI). Data were collected from students using a convenience sampling method while purposive sampling was suitable to gather the qualitative data from library staff. Data collection from students was facilitated through a questionnaire, and library staff were interviewed. The study findings showed that mobile phones and laptops have been widely adopted and used by UNAM students. The study concludes that the attributes of innovation (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability) are considered to be the influencing factors in the adoption and use of wireless technologies that enable students to access library and information services. The study results indicated that students enjoy the benefits which wireless technologies provide such as mobility, flexibility, convenience, engagement and communication in improving learning and academic performance and specifically in accessing library and information mobile services. However, slow network speed/network congestion during peak hours, limited Wi-Fi network coverage in areas and network downtime are some of the challenges that are frequently experienced and frustrate UNAM students when learning and accessing library information services. Though some students are not satisfied with the current provision of library services, and perceived them as inadequate due to limited access, lack of awareness and marketing of mobile services, and lack of a library mobile application, the majority of students perceived library services as adequate due to regular instant interactions and communications via emails, telephones and social networks that they exchange with librarians. The study recommends, among other things, that UNAM library staff be innovative in marketing and creating awareness of information resources and services to attract more students and increase library usage. Since there is no mobile application at vi UNAM library, the study recommends that the library design a mobile application to assist in providing library services to users with mobile devices.
- ItemOpen AccessThe digital classification of “unknown maker(s)” of cultural objects: A case study of Iziko South African National Gallery(2020) Moruthane, Sepadi; Higgs, RichardThroughout history, cultural institutions like the Iziko Museums of South Africa have preserved, catalogued, researched and displayed a diverse collection of cultural objects. The renewed interest in digital media has revived the move to reclaim cultural identities, bringing with it the associated challenges regarding the veracity of historical accounts. With the transition to digitisation, and the adoption of digital curatorship for knowledge production in museum environments, it has become necessary to examine the historical accuracy, reliability and trustworthiness of the digital information being provided. Digitisation is an important priority for most cultural institutions. This study contributes to the colonial debate about museum classification and the challenges that these institutions face regarding what is referred to as the “unknown maker”. The use of the term “unknown maker(s)” to denote creators of cultural objects housed in the Iziko South African National Art Gallery collections was crucial to this investigation into the digital cataloguing of objects whose creators could not be determined. The findings show that a national museum is a space where identities are contested, and that museum professionals are repeatedly faced with difficult curatorial and ethical decisions when it comes to classifying cultural objects. As a result, the problems encountered with the digitsation and cataloguing of cultural objects are extensive. Inaccurate classification processes, including the use of the term “unknown maker(s)”, affects how digital heritage objects are recorded, the servicesthat museums offer, how exhibitions are presented, the research that is undertaken, and the skills required to manage cultural objects.
- ItemOpen AccessThe archival records on Chinese slaves, convicts, exiles and ‘free blacks' at the Cape of Good Hope (1654 -1838): Conceptualising a digital curation project(2021) Chen, Vanessa; Kahn, Michelle; Bam-Hutchison, JuneDespite the growth of digital archives, there is no dedicated repository that systematically compiles the history of Chinese migration to South Africa. This qualitative study used 62 archival records housed at the Western Cape Archives and Records Service, to explore how the application of digital curation (particularly digitisation of materials) can be used in presenting, preserving and sharing the history on the first wave of Chinese slaves, convicts, exiles and ‘free blacks' at the Cape of Good Hope (1654 -1838). The study method consisted of three parts. First, a thorough literature search and understanding on the theoretical, practical and technical components of the subject. Second, the systematic collection and analyses of archival records (through a customised document analysis form) and third, an exploration on what digital curation can offer in terms of facilitating the access to and the preservation of these records. The study exists under a relativist paradigm which believes that reality is a product of power relations. It was found that the records provide valuable insight into the Cape's political development (from Dutch to British rule) and social hierarchies between Chinese individuals at the time. The archival content, being of historical significance, is in fact at a risk of physical and epistemological loss. This loss can be addressed through the application of digital curation which this study explores conceptually from the conception of a digital project to the use, reuse and dissemination of digital surrogates. It is hoped that this study can be used as a foundation or framework for refiguring the colonial archive and bringing other neglected South African histories to the forefront.
- ItemOpen AccessThe readiness of public libraries in South Africa for information literacy education: the case of Mpumalanga Province(2005) Hart, Genevieve Claire; Nassimbeni, MaryThe purpose of the study is to investigate the readiness of public libraries in South Africa for an enhanced educational role in developing the information literacy of school learners. The public libraries in Mpumalanga Province provide the case site for the study. Across the world, information literacy education has been identified as the raison d'etre of school libraries. There are two arguments for public libraries in South Africa to take on this mission: • the demands of the global economy for information literate school leavers - reflected in South Africa's new school curriculum, which is widely described as "resource-based" and which lists infonnation skills as a critical cross-curricular outcome • the shortage of school libraries in South Africa. It has been estimated that eight million out of 12 million learners do not have access to libraries in their schools. In recent years there have been suggestions that South African public libraries take on a more direct educational and developmental role - which might be more appropriate than the inherited Western model of service. Information literacy education might well be their unique contribution to social inclusion in a country where, on average, less that 10 percent of the population belong to public libraries. The introduction in the late 1990s of the new curriculum has brought a huge increase in the use of public libraries by school learners - most of whom are not signed-up members but who need access to public library resources as they grapple with the information seeking demands of their school projects and assignments. The increase in use has led to much comment in public library circles on the iJJ-preparedness of school learners for project work in the library. The theoretical underpinning of the study comes from the research and theory building of Carole Kuhlthau and Christine Bruce - both of whom have enriched information literacy theory with their "borrowing" from constructivist and relational learning theory. To Kuhhhau, information literacy is a constructive process of building meaning and knowledge. The task of information literacy education in schools and libraries - is to teach people how to learn - not how to find discrete bits of information. Christine Bruce's research highlights the significance of people's conceptions of information and information literacy. She identifies categories of conceptions ranging from those which see information literacy as knowing about resources to those who describe it as creating new knowledge and building wisdom. Effective information literacy education has to take into account the existence of these different conceptions. The PhD study sets out to examine if indeed public libraries in South Africa might assume an enhanced responsibility for information literacy education and, if so, what inhibiting and 111 facilitating factors might exist. The word "readiness" in its title has two layers of meaning: at one level it refers to physical capacity and on a second level to more intangible and subjective attributes such as staff attitudes and beliefs. The research questions examined in the study relate to these two layers of meaning. They are informed also by a wide-ranging survey of the literature of educational change in South Africa and of the role of public libraries, internationally, in information literacy education. The questions can be grouped into three categories: • What is happening at present in terms of information literacy education for school learners? • Do public libraries have the physical capacity for information literacy education? • What are the attributes of public library staff in terms of their experience of and attitudes towards information literacy, information literacy education, and, indeed, towards a stronger educational role for public libraries? Any discussion on the capacity of Mpumalanga's public libraries for information literacy education has immediately to acknowledge the uneven distribution of libraries - common to all South African provinces. The Director of Mpumalanga Provincial Library Service estimates that his province requires 98 new libraries. The Province of Mpumalanga lends itself to the research problem for a number of reasons. Its social and economic characteristics throw into relief the critical issues highlighted in the literature review. It is one of South Africa's five "new'' provinces, having amalgamated two apartheid era "homelands". It is regarded as a "rural" province" with sprawling densely populated but underdeveloped areas. Only 18 percent of its schools have libraries. The study took place in a time of upheaval and restructuring of local government - the tier of government responsible for the day to day management of public libraries. The climate of uncertainty is found to play a significant part in the prevailing low morale of public library staff. The research project has a design structure of two interdependent phases. The overarching theoretical framework is interpretivist constructivism. The realities and meanings constructed by public library staff are central to the problem. However, it employs both qualitative and quantitative methodologies as each contributes to the understanding of the problem. The first phase is a broad survey of 46 public libraries in Mpumalanga, undertaken in March/April 2004, which gathers both qualitative and quantitative data by means of interviews with 57 staff members - based on a semi-structured questionnaire. The aim was to gather quantitative data on the resources and facilities within the libraries and their services to schools - and, by means of several open-ended questions, qualitative data on library staff views on the impact JV of the new curriculum and possible changes in their social role. The first phase leads into the next phase - a more focused participant observation case study of the information literacy programmes in two public libraries in one small town throughout October 2004. Three vignettes scaffold the case study, which serve both to give a sense of context and to highlight the theoretical issues. In this phase, an added perspective is school educators' use of the library - and their beliefs about learning and libraries. Twenty-seven interviews with Grade 7 and 8 educators and principals in the seven schools served by the public libraries were conducted. The analysis of the first phase data led to tentative findings. The second phase case study started afresh - open to alternative or contradictory interpretations. However, its findings are surprisingly convergent with those of the first phase. It seems that Mpumalanga public libraries are heavily engaged in serving school learners. The study indeed concludes that public libraries need school learners - given their low use by adults. Shortcomings in certain physical facilities, such as the lack of space and absence of retrieval tools, are inhibiting factors with the heritage of apartheid still impacting on the availability of and quality of service. The low level of professional education of public library staff is found to impede innovation in library and information service programming. The prevailing information literacy education largely comprises, at present, one-to-one support, although there is a fair amount of source-based group library orientation. Moving from library orientation towards information literacy education will depend on a shift in conceptions of the educational role of public libraries. In the absence of recognition of their curricular role by public library authorities and educationists, many public librarians are not sure that their services to school learners are legitimate. There is, at the same time, dawning recognition that present approaches are not meeting the needs of school learners and that more effective communication with educators is required. This recognition comes from public librarians' frustrating encounters with learners rather than from insight into information literacy education theory and experience. And educators' simplistic conceptions of project work and lack of cognizance of the demands of information seeking in the library do not allow for a more dynamic role for public libraries. The study makes recommendations for various role-players - the library profession, the governance structures of public libraries, public library staff, educators and educationists, and information literacy researchers. The fundamental conclusion is that sustainable information literacy education in public libraries will depend on more dynamic leadership and on a vision of a new model of public library.