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The role and value of special library services in the information age: a case study of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

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With technological advancements and the rise of the information age, this study investigated the role of special library services in the information age specifically in the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). While observations reveal that other special libraries have closed or down-sized, the SABC libraries have been in existence since 1961 and continue to function. For this reason, the aim of the study was: 1) To ascertain the value and role of the special library service in the information age at the SABC; 2) To determine the extent to which the SABC libraries have been influenced by ICTs; and 3) To draw on possible best practices and trends that can be implemented by the SABC libraries. The study’s population was the SABC staff in the hub cities of South Africa, namely, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Mixed methods approach was employed for the study. Two different web-based questionnaires targeted the SABC library staff and library users. Interviews were conducted with selected managers. The study was underpinned using the Organization Theory (Systems Approach), Technology Acceptance Model, The Embedded Librarianship, Librarian/Library 2.0, Blended Librarian models. Microsoft Excel was utilized for data analysis and to extract quantitative results. Triangulation was done within each case and across populations holistically to provide in-depth and rich data. The study was rooted in the interpretivist and pragmatism paradigms. Qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis together with hermeneutic phenomenology methods were employed for qualitative responses. Electronic analysis using Microsoft Excel was used as the nature of the case study allowed the researcher to engage thoroughly with the findings for better reporting. The study revealed a general satisfaction with the SABC library services with digitization being a necessity for the library service. A refreshing practice trending was that of benchmarking LIS graduates for employment in the special library services.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.