Friday, 6 June 2008

SAOUG: Day 2, 5th June 2008

The SAOUG Conference Day 2, 5th June.
Yet another day of interesting presentations from fellow librarians and of course, the Keynote speaker Geoff Hoy from TENET. How librarians view the IT Techies and how they view us - the librarians. Make you think of the stereotypes we all fall victims to. Times change, so we are. Some of us become 2.0 librarians and use these tools to better the services in the library and get closer to the so called "google generation". But the librarians need to start working in partnership with their IT departments, as there are many pitfalls for which we are not trained.
Number of presenters talked about the Open Source Institutional Repositories. World-wide the paradigm is to make research collections available online and improving the access to information, which is of great value for research. Since the facilitation of access to information is a primary function of academic or research libraries, they can take the initiative to implement a digital research repository in order to manage, organise, preserve, distribute and offer access to research conducted by the members of the institution. If an institution supports open access, wants to increase the usage and visibility of research conducted at that institution and want to preserve all research output digitally, an institutional repository (IR) is the answer.
In SA there are currently 12 repositories. How to get started with creating IR?
- Analise the need of your organization (survey-questionnaire; presentations to researchers)
- Compile a plan & proposal
- Evaluate various IR software (DSpace, etc.)
- Develop, Design & Install your repository (management approval)
- Test your repository
- Market and promote your repository
- Develop policies and procedures (preservation, copyright, etc.)
- Sell the idea to the academics ( demonstrations; how easy is to submit material to repository)
- Provide training
- Register your repository
- Communicate, collaborate & share with others; start populating; make it more visible.
Other interesting development comes from CSIR. They are busy building a "Knowledge commons" suite of physical and virtual knowledge spaces. This spaces will be conductive to learning and knowledge transfer through planned sharing - which will enable better practices within the CSIR. What is knowledge commons - tacit knowledge sharing, person-to-person contact, collaboration across organisation boundaries.
A new initiative at this conference was "speed vending". All delegates were divided in groups and allocated to different vendors for a specify time, then the groups moved to the next vendor. The vendors were given exposure and opportunity to market their products and services to a large number of delegates.
At the afternoon session some of the points discussed were:
- E-scholarship strategy (web portals, digitised collections and self-generated e-publications); UPSpace
- Digital scholarship and the role of the University library - The influence of modern information technology in education and research have resulted in digital or e-scholarship. The key focus areas at UP library are: e-Research; e-Learning; e-Resources; Open Scholarship; Digitisation; Web/Library 2.0; Repositories and the Library Web.
- African Journals OnLine (AJOL). Africa needs access to its own scholarly publications, and must also contribute to the international academic community. Primary due to difficulties accessing them, African published research papers have been under-utilised, under-valued and under-cited in the International and African research arenas. The Higher Education needs to provide both the "Y" generation and "non-computer literate" with access to information.
At the closing of the SAOUG Conference, the Chair Dr. Glenda Myers provided a summary of the conference papers and thanked all participating vendors, delegates and the committee for their help to make a success of this conference. Future workshops and groups will reflect the needs specified by the delegates at the "round table topic discussions" held on 4th June.
We have been entertain and inspired at the end by Christof Appel, Fewture Consulting.
Thank you SAOUG, SLIS & OSALL for the interesting and well organised conference. We learned a few new tips; We learned that we are not far from the mark in providing services to clients; We learned that if you can do it we can do it to; we learned that change can be good; We all interacted and share experiences and thoughts, made new friends and connections.

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