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Research Articles (Information Studies)

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    Intelligent libraries and apomediators: distinguishing between Library 3.0 and Library 2.0.
    (SAGE, 2013) Stilwell, Christine.; Underwood, Peter Graham.; Kwanya, Tom Joseph Mboya.
    Many terms and concepts have appeared in and disappeared from the history of librarianship. Currently, the use of “point oh” naming system to label developments in librarianship is prevalent. Debate on the appropriateness, basis and syntax of this naming system is ongoing. Specifically, the profession has been lately engrossed in discourses in various contexts to unravel the real meaning and potential of Library 2.0. But even before this debate is settled, a new term, Library 3.0, is seeking space in the core librarianship lexicon. This development is causing confusion among librarianship scholars, practitioners and students especially on whether there is any significant difference between the two models. Through documentary analysis, the authors explored the true meanings of these terms and have concluded that Library 2.0 and Library 3.0 are indeed different. The authors have also concluded that whereas Library 2.0 could be seen as attempting to weaken the role of librarians in the emerging information environment, Library 3.0 projects librarians as prominent apomediaries standing by and guiding the library users on how best to locate, access and use credible information in myriad formats from diverse sources, at the point of need. The authors therefore note that the prospect of the Library 3.0 model has revived hope amongst the librarians who were uncomfortable with the crowd intelligence architecture on which the Library 2.0 model was founded. Similarly, the authors have concluded that Library 3.0 provides the tools and framework to organize the infosphere that the Library 2.0 threw into disarray. Thus Library 3.0 is generally understood to be an improvement of Library 2.0 tools and techniques. The authors propose that a 3.0 library be perceived as a personalizable, intelligent, sensitive and living institution created and sustained by a seamless engagement of library users, librarians and subject experts on a federated network of information pathways.
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    The public library as institutional capital : towards measures for addressing social inclusion and combating poverty.
    (SAGE, 2014) Stilwell, Christine.
    Much has been written about measuring the contribution of public libraries to society. Using a transformative paradigm, this article addresses the development of measures with regard to the public libraries’ role in fostering social inclusion and alleviating poverty in South Africa. The approach taken is based on Sachs’s notion of capital endowments. It employs a thematic analysis of the literature and easily sourced statistics to show how to describe the status of a selected site, and a heat map to show the results. This planning tool could be of use in garnering government and public support for the key role played by libraries.
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    The effects of climate change in preserving the past and enhancing the future of legal deposit in South Africa.
    (UNISA, 2013) Nsibirwa, Zawedde Gulikomuseesa.; Hoskins, Ruth Geraldine Melonie.; Stilwell, Christine.
    With the current problems of global warming and climate change, preservationists are applying green construction principles to depositories and archival facilities (Henry 2008:3; Kim2008; Nsibirwa 20 12:73).Collections stewards, architects and engineers face design challenges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop an adaptive response to climate trends (Henry 2008:3).A2012 study by Nsibirwa (2012) of the preservation of, and access to, legal deposit materials found that climate change can affect the buildings that are the most important source of security to the materials stored in them. One of the objectives of the doctoral study on which the article is based, was to find out what activities and strategies are used to preserve the materials, as well as to provide a way forward in the preservation of South Africa's cultural heritage. The units of analysis in this study were four legal deposit libraries and three official publications depositories. In this study the population comprised a total of 17members of staff: three heads of libraries and 14 librarians. The survey of legal depositories found that preservation activities are generally underdeveloped as a result of various factors, including insufficientfunding. Yet, there is a greater need than ever for preservation, since predictions are that temperatures, rising seas, rainfall and flooding will continue to increase due to climate change and global warming. These conditions will lead to a shift in approaches to preservation, including looking at what poses the greatest threat when it comes to climate change. The study found that depositories may need to revert to some ancient as well as new sustainable approaches to offset the effects of climate change. The article puts forward a number of practical solutions to ensure that the environment in which materials are kept, is suitable.
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    From adversarialism to co-operation: key implications of the new South African labour dispensation for the library and information sector.
    (UNISA, 2007) Raju, Rajandren.; Stilwell, Christine.
    The concept of co-determination, which is a fundamental principle underpinning the new South African labour dispensation, is examined. Co-determination represents a deliberate move away from adversarialism to cooperation. As the intention of the legislation is to have employers work together with employees, who are organised collectively into trade unions, the present article examines the effect of the trade union movement on the library and information services (LIS) sector. It identifies factors in the international literature that are seen to have an influence on the growth of trade unionism and traces these within the South African LIS context in relation to four key statutes in the Labour Relations Act. The LIS sector in South Africa is represented by a myriad of "generic" unions and a professional association and this dichotomous system of representation has severely limited its opportunities to exploit the progressive labour dispensation. The sector should therefore re-examine the opportunities offered by the new dispensation. The article focuses in particular on the tertiary education sector.
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    A theoretical framework for the study of agricultural knowledge and information systems in a developing country.
    (UNISA, 2013) Munyua, Hilda Mantema.; Stilwell, Christine.
    With poverty and hunger growing in sub-Saharan Africa, increased agricultural productivity is urgently required. Agricultural extension services should improve their delivery to those small-scale farmers who play a key role in production. There is a need to build on previous research focusing on the integration and sharing of knowledge from different sources, and into the role of small-scale farmers in an agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS). Studying an AKIS requires a broad theoretical framework to explain its different facets comprehensively. This article reviews perspectives, theories, concepts and models for studying the AKIS of small-scale farmers. A critical review and analysis of the literature, it offers a holistic theoretical framework to underpin research, to ensure a deep understanding of the complexities of the AKIS of such farmers in a developing country.
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    Towards enhancing the delivery of information for development with a special focus on addressing poverty and social exclusion.
    (UNISA, 2011) Stilwell, Christine.
    Do South African libraries and information centres contribute to development? Such interventions would require the effective addressing of poverty and social exclusion. This article refers to a two-phase survey which identifi ed, documented, and shared examples of local instances of social exclusion initiatives in the public library sector. The research is qualitative, based on a simple form of thematic analysis. The article concludes that the initiatives identifi ed in the survey do contribute to fostering social inclusion and that public libraries have the potential to be key role-players in development efforts. Adequate measures, using specifi c criteria, should be developed to enable effective evaluation and monitoring.
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    Library 2.0 principles and Ranganathan's fifth law.
    (UNISA, 2010) Kwanya, Tom Joseph Mboya.; Stilwell, Christine.; Underwood, Peter Graham.
    Ranganathan’s five laws of library science were first published in 1931. Although initially devised for the Indian context, these laws have been adapted – in form and spirit – by libraries all over the world. With the emergence of new librarianship models such as Library 2.0, most practitioners wonder whether the laws still hold. This study used critical documentary analysis to investigate the relationship between the Library 2.0 principles and Ranganathan’s fifth law. The authors conclude that this law, like the other four, remains applicable in most instances. However, some scenarios require careful consideration and adjustment of the fifth law.
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    Challenges of managing indigenous knowledge systems.
    (Elsevier, 2011) Lwoga, Edda Tandi.; Ngulube, Patrick.; Stilwell, Christine.
    This article provides a systematic analysis of the challenges of managing agricultural indigenous knowledge (IK), and accessing external knowledge in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on Tanzania. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect primary data from 181 smallscale farmers in the six districts of Tanzania. The findings indicated that farmers faced various challenges in managing their IK, and accessing external knowledge, which ranged from personal and social barriers, to factors in the external environment such as infrastructure, policy, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and weak linkages between research, extension services and farmers. Farmers also faced challenges when using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to manage their knowledge, such as personal, socio-cultural, infrastructural, technical, and economic factors. It is thus important for the government to improve access to extension services, review the IPR system, enhance rural electrification, telecommunications and roads infrastructure. Further, the knowledge providers (i.e. agricultural extension officers, researchers, educators, libraries, non governmental organisations, civil society, and other agricultural actors) should nurture a knowledge sharing culture. Farmers need to be assisted and trained to document their knowledge, map communities’ IK bearers and innovators, use multiple formats (print and ICTs) with traditional communication channels (for instance, folklore and apprenticeships) specific to a local context to disseminate knowledge. Participatory approaches should be employed in knowledge production and dissemination in order to include farmers’ needs and expressing knowledge in the resulting technologies, practices and new knowledge. In this way linkages between indigenous and external knowledge would be enhanced for improved farming activities in the local communities.
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    Information seeking patterns and telecentre operations: a case of selected rural communities in Tanzania.
    (Elsevier, 2011) Chilimo, Wanyenda Leonard.; Ngulube, Patrick.; Stilwell, Christine.
    Information needs assessment is critical in developing and running relevant information services. This article explores the information needs and information- seeking patterns of the people living in communities surrounding telecentres. The research was based in four rural districts in Tanzania which have telecentres. These were Sengerema, Magu, Karagwe and Ngara districts. The research was done utilising the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) to determine how people or communities seek information concerning problem-solving, decision-making or question- answering situations. CIT was also used to determine the extent to which ICTs were used in seeking information. It was found that business and agricultural related information were the main information needs of the people in the communities involved in this study, however this information was rarely provided by the telecentres. The study further found out that face-to-face communication and the radio were the major sources of information that the respondents used. This study recommends that management of the telecentres should regularly assess user information needs in order for telecentres to have an impact on rural communities.
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    Getting the write message right: review of guidelines for producing readable print agricultural information materials.
    (LiASA, 2003) Morris, Craig Duncan.; Stilwell, Christine.
    Print agricultural information materials (PAIMs), such as leaflets, booklets and fact sheets, are used extensively to provide information to farmers. Such print materials can play a vital supportive role in extension, even to low-literate communities. Principles for repackaging technical and scientific agricultural information in print are reviewed to provide guidelines for producing PAIMs that are 'considerate' of the target audience's information needs, communication and language style, and level of reading and education. Criteria for choice of content include brevity, accuracy, appropriateness and relevance to the end user. An understanding of factors affecting readability, accompanied by readability assessment and pretesting materials on users, will ensure greater clarity of expression and aid comprehension. Important elements of the design and layout of PAIMs include logical organisation of content and arrangement of text on the page, legibility of the text as affected by colour and typography, highlighting, and the use of pictures to complement and reinforce the message. Such design tools should be used to attract and not distract the reader. It is concluded that a collaborative effort of communicators and audience in the development process will aid the production of PAIMs that contribute effectively to the diffusion of agricultural and development information in rural areas.
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    Alumni perceptions of a post graduate Information and Library Science Education programme at the University of Natal, South Africa.
    (LiASA, 2004) Stilwell, Christine.
    A survey of alumni perceptions of a post graduate programme in Information and Library Science, the B.Bibl. Honours, at the University of Natal, South Africa is described. Module content and appropriateness are reviewed in relation to demands of the workplace. Alumni views on delivery and assessment methods are interrogated as are requirements in terms of continuing education. Critical issues in ILS education are identified, for example, balancing a human-centred approach with Information and Communication Technology competencies in the networked age. Reference is made to Information Management and Knowledge Management. Findings suggest that the Programme has broadly attained its anticipated outcomes in preparing alumni for the workplace and that to some extent a balance between the various considerations outlined in the literature had been achieved.
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    An investigation into the feasibility of unionising LIS workers: a case study of the tertiary sector.
    (LiASA, 2006) Raju, Rajandren.; Stilwell, Christine.; Leach, Athol Brian.
    This article reports on the findings of a study that investigated the feasibility of unionizing LIS workers with special reference to the tertiary education sector in South Africa. The primary objectives of the study were to investigate the need for an organisation to address the industrial concerns of LIS employees and to investigate the organization most capable of addressing both the industrial and professional concerns of the sector. The majority of the respondents expressed the view that there is a need for an organisation to address the industrial issues of the LIS sector. The findings also reveal that there is substantial support for the professional association, as opposed to a generic trade union, to address the industrial and professional issues of the LIS sector.
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    Hello tomorrow? Sources of HIV/Aids information used by residential students at the University of Natal.
    (LiASA, 2008) Ntombela, Mandla Maxwell.; Stilwell, Christine.; Leach, Athol Brian.
    This article identifies sources of HIV/AIDS information used by residential students on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the former University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal). A questionnaire targeted at residential students on the Pietermaritzburg campus was used to determine which sources of HIV/AIDS information they used. The study upon which the article is based found that HIV/AIDS has become an everyday reality in the university system. There was a need for a clearer, more forceful definition of roles and responsibilities amongst all the partners in response to the epidemic. Residential students were generally satisfied with the existing sources of HIV/AIDS information but they did encounter problems in accessing some sources. The authors argue that it is time for the university sector and its partners to take stock of a situation that might quickly outpace the institution. Provision of relevant information in an appropriate format needs to be an integral part of the University’s response to HIV/AIDS. Sources that were used most frequently should be utilised by university information stakeholders to disseminate information among students.
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    Mapping the fit: library and information services and the national transformation agenda in South Africa, Part I.
    (LiASA, 2008) Stilwell, Christine.
    This article, the first of two parts, is an update of one which appeared in the IFLA journal in 2007 (Stilwell 2007a). Progress since 2007 is mapped in terms of the fit between the library and information services available and the national transformation agenda. It reviews information policy and describes information sources, systems and services in South Africa as part of the wider national information system. It stops short of describing the situation pertaining to school libraries, archives, record centres and museums, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), embassies, commercial database industry and indigenous knowledge which are covered in Part 11. The sectors concerned with the dissemination of information and information technology are also described in Part 11, as well as the library and information education and training sector and the organised profession. This overview is based on literature retrieved from the available, mostly electronic, databases.
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    Mapping the fit: library and information services and the national transformation agenda in South Africa, Part II.
    (LIASA, 2009) Stilwell, Christine.
    An update of an article which appeared in the IFLA journal (Stilwell, 2007a), this article follows on from Part 1 (Stilwell, 2008) charting progress in terms of the fit between available library and information services and that which is expected in terms of the national transformation agenda. This second article picks up on libraries and information services in South Africa as part of the wider national information system, starting with school libraries. An overview of archives, record centres and museums, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), embassies, commercial database industry and indigenous knowledge follow. The sectors concerned with the dissemination of information and information technology are described as well as the library and information education and training sector and the organised profession. This overview is based on literature retrieved from the available, mostly electronic, databases.
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    Journal cancellations in university libraries in South Africa.
    (LiASA, 2010) Hoskins, Ruth Geraldine Melonie.; Stilwell, Christine.;
    This article is based on part of a survey that investigated journal cancellations in university libraries in South Africa. A study population consisting of 17 university libraries in South Africa was surveyed by means of an online questionnaire to establish the factors that influenced journal cancellations. Interpretation of the results revealed that South African university libraries, like most academic and research libraries world wide, have been adversely affected by high priced journal subscriptions and many libraries have simply cancelled subscriptions to pay for ongoing subscriptions. Recommendations are made about enhancing library budgets and access to usage statistics, supporting consortia and avoiding restrictive journal packages.
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    Library 2.0: revolution or evolution?
    (2009) Kwanya, Tom Joseph Mboya.; Stilwell, Christine.; Underwood, Peter Graham.
    Library 2.0 is a controversial concept that stirs debate on many fronts. As the concept continues to arrest the attention of most library users and practitioners, a number of issues relating to its real nature emerge. One of these is the character of change it represents. While many library scholars and practitioners agree that Library 2.0 represents a change, they disagree on the nature of this change. Using a critical review of documentation and arguments on this subject, the authors identify three points of view on this change. Whereas some feel that the change is revolutionary and may drastically transform the profession – including renaming – others see it as an evolution of the current best practices to mould a better, user-centred service using modern technology. Still others see Library 2.0 as neither revolutionary nor evolutionary. This paper seeks to clarify these three points of view on the character of Library 2.0 change in libraries, as institutions, and in librarianship as a profession. It also recommends that while Library 2.0 should be seen as the latest instance in the development of the library and the services it offers, its role in facilitating participatory user-centric services should not be ignored.
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    A contextual study of information literacy of aspirant barristers in Nigeria.
    (LIASA, 2012) Lawal, Victoria Ladi.; Stilwell, Christine.; Kuhn, Rosemary Jean.; Underwood, Peter Graham.
    The study upon which the article is based investigated the information literacy of aspirant barristers in Nigeria and examined the efforts undertaken to restructure the legal education system in Nigeria. It explored the connection between contextual influences and professional development, particularly with respect to the concept of legal information literacy and the value of acquired educational skills in the context of legal practice in Nigeria. Data were obtained using quantitative and qualitative approaches. Key findings from the study were supportive of the importance of information literacy as central to the development of professional competence of the aspirant barristers which can be achieved through re-structuring the teaching methods and curricula of the Nigerian Law School (NLS). The study makes recommendations for the adoption and integration of information literacy as a conceptual framework by which skills training can be developed into the curriculum of the Nigerian Law School.
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    "Boundless opportunities": towards an assessment of the usefulness of the concept of social exclusion for the South African public library situation.
    (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2006) Stilwell, Christine.
    Defines the concept of social exclusion. Identifies factors that contribute to social exclusion. Explores the usefulness of the concept in local contexts
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    The KwaZulu-Natal school library policy and its feasibility for implementation in the Province.
    (2012) Du Toit, Mariana.; Stilwell, Christine.
    The research took into account accepted standards of good policy formulation to provide perspective and contextualise the study, and delineated educational challenges for the sector. The following theoretical frameworks guided the study: a constructivist approach in interpreting and evaluating the role of school libraries within an education system based in constructivist principles, the traditional policy model to evaluate policy formulation and design, and a social constructionist view of policy in the interpreting of policy development and implementation. The epistemological basis for the main methodology, the Delphi technique, was social constructivism. The research design comprised two phases. Qualitative data collected from the Delphi panel's expert opinion was interpreted to analyse the policy document critically and assess its implementation strategy. Quantitative data from an analysis of existing surveys and reports provided an overview of the current state of school library provisioning in KwaZulu-Natal. School library models already being implemented in the province were evaluated against this background. The research results provide guidelines for reviewing and refining the provincial policy intervention and brought to the fore several issues that need to be resolved to facilitate school library development in South Africa.