Mousaion - Volume 29, Issue 2, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 29, Issue 2, 2011
Author Mabel Minishi-MajanjaSource: Mousaion 29, pp 1 –2 (2011)More Less
I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this 6th Biennial ProLISSA Conference, an event that was initiated by the DISSAnet Project. DISSAnet is an acronym that stands for Development of Information Science in South Africa. The project was initiated in 1997 by Professors Irene Wormell and Peter Ingwersen from the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen, Denmark. The aim was to create a nation-wide platform to support the advancement of LIS research in South Africa in order to also meet the demands of a new country. ProLISSA has grown from the initial mandate of South Africa only to include southern Africa, and now colleagues from East Africa have joined us.
Towards enhancing the delivery of information for development with a special focus on addressing poverty and social exclusionAuthor Christine StilwellSource: Mousaion 29, pp 3 –22 (2011)More Less
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 identified, 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 identified 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 specific criteria, should be developed to enable effective evaluation and monitoring.
Some thoughts on the trends, issues, challenges and opportunities of information and knowledge management teaching and research in South AfricaAuthor Dennis N. OchollaSource: Mousaion 29, pp 23 –40 (2011)More Less
Information management and knowledge management mean the same thing to some and different things to others. Ultimately, handling or studying information and knowledge management as the same thing or as two different things still raises a lot of debate and confusion. An example of this would be the distinction between data management (DM) and information management (IM), or between IM and information resource management (IRM), across space and time. There are more shared research approaches, processes, strategies, technologies, content, concepts and know-how between knowledge management (KM) and IM than can be imagined and that often blurs the distinctions between them. Here, we have tried to conceptualise information and knowledge management before contextualising them within the broader issues, challenges and opportunities in research and teaching in South African i-schools. We have done this by using experiential knowledge, observations, a literature review and a content analysis of curricula and syllabi that were available during the writing of this article.
Assessment of the problems postgraduate students face in accessing e-resources at Makerere University, Uganda : a comparison between education and LIS studentsSource: Mousaion 29, pp 41 –60 (2011)More Less
Technology has become an integral part of higher education learning. With increased usage of instructional technology, web-based instructional resources such as electronic textbooks, journals, reviews and bulletins are making their way into the higher education system (Njagi, Smith & Isabell 2003; Okello-Obura & Magara 2008). In order to better understand the situation at Makerere University, a study was carried out on the e-resources-seeking behaviour of LIS postgraduate students and was subsequently published (Okello-Obura & Ikoja-Odongo 2010). With a view to drawing more lessons, a similar study was commissioned for postgraduate students in education at the same university. The objectives of the study were to: determine the knowledge or skills that postgraduate education students have as regards e-information access; establish the problems postgraduate education students face in accessing e-information resources; compare the level of skills for e-resources utilisation and problems faced by LIS and postgraduate education students; and recommend appropriate measures to address the problems facing e-resources access at Makerere University.
The study used a structured questionnaire for data collection, and convenience sampling was used to select the participants. To ensure a fair comparison, the same number of LIS students and education students were selected to participate. To provide uniformity in the study, both first and second-year postgraduate students were considered alongside LIS postgraduate students. The findings show that the respondents have positive attitudes towards e-resources utilisation. The problems identified by both groups of students include: slow Internet connectivity; inadequately networked computers; lack of access to low-cost printers in the library; inability to use advanced search strategies on most databases; and a lack of awareness of most of the e-resources. The study recommends inter alia that the speed of Internet connectivity should be improved by acquiring more bandwidth - or that a better option should be explored through the University Directorate of ICTs; lecturers should enforce the use of e-resources among postgraduate students, low-cost printing services should be provided in all postgraduate students' laboratories and dedicated to printing only online resources; awareness campaigns among both lecturers and postgraduate students should be intensified; and implementation of a phone text alert system should be explored with a friendly telecommunications company in the country. The findings of these studies will help library planners, LIS educators and education lecturers to consider ways to improve on e-resources access and utilisation. It is hoped that it will provoke new thinking towards improving the situation at the university library.
Conceptions and misconceptions of theoretical frameworks in Library and Information Science research : a case study of selected theses and dissertations from eastern and southern African universitiesSource: Mousaion 29, pp 61 –74 (2011)More Less
We have noted that both novice (postgraduate Master's and doctoral students) and established library and information science (LIS) researchers battle with the understanding, interpretation and selection of appropriate theoretical frameworks (TFs) to inform their research. We understand a theoretical framework to be informed by four major components: the hypothesis, the theoretical model, the research methodology - to be used to answer the hypothesis - and a well-defined literature review (supporting the focus of the research). Therefore, we hope in this article to provide an epistemological understanding of theoretical frameworks. This is achieved through the historical analysis of literature and the content analysis of selected Master's and doctoral LIS research reports conducted in selected universities in eastern and southern Africa. We also use our own experience in supervising postgraduate research work in LIS. Our finding is that there is a definite misconception as to what a theoretical framework is or should be. Based on the analysis we have done, not all master's and doctoral studies in Library and Information Science contain a distinctive theoretical model or a distinctive literature review, which some argue should be a distinctive part of the theoretical framework. We recognise the growth of theory in library and information science as a distinct subject, although LIS largely relies on theories from other disciplines. The article is divided into four sections, as outlined in the next section.
Source: Mousaion 29, pp 75 –94 (2011)More Less
A literature review on the information behaviour of engineers revealed that engineers utilise various sources, including personal contacts, to complete their projects. This article is based on a paper presented at the ProLissa Conference held during March 2011 in Pretoria. It reports on an explorative study into information-seeking and social networking frameworks that could be used to support a study on the role of social networking in the information-seeking and -sharing of consulting engineers. First, an explanation of social networking is provided and shows that a social network can provide the foundation for collaboration. A brief discussion of the life cycle of such collaboration, and how the life cycle of social networks can accommodate the different stages in the life cycle of an engineering project, is shown. Four frameworks are identified and comparatively discussed with the requirements of consulting engineers' project networks to determine their suitability to guide such a study. The four frameworks that were identified are Fisher's (2005) information grounds, Chatman's (2000) small worlds, Jaeger and Burnett's (2010) information worlds and Sonnenwald's (1999) information horizons. In conclusion, the main features of social networks and the characteristics that need to be accommodated in an appropriate information behaviour framework to study information-seeking and information sharing in consulting engineers' social networks are summarised.
The use of technology-based mechanisms and knowledge management techniques in library practices in an academic environment : a case studySource: Mousaion 29, pp 95 –116 (2011)More Less
In response to the knowledge-driven economy, many academic libraries have adopted knowledge management (KM) techniques in the provision of services. KM techniques have been implemented in commercial and business environments towards operational advantages and financial gains. However, there is uncertainty about whether the use of KM principles and technology-based mechanisms could partly solve the academic library's approach to improving its quality of service and fulfil its mandate to its community in the modern information environment. Using a case study approach, this study considered the use of technology-based mechanisms and KM techniques in library practices in order to enhance performance and improve the quality of service in the Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) library. Data were collected with the use of a questionnaire, interviews, observation and institutional documents. The findings of this study indicate that KM concepts were not universally understood at MCNY, and that library practices were not based on KM, but that they were adopting such KM practices as using social networking media for the purpose of collaboration and sharing knowledge.
Diffusion and utilisation of information and communication technologies by micro and small entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in KenyaSource: Mousaion 29, pp 117 –138 (2011)More Less
The study explores factors that influence the diffusion and utilisation of ICTs in the accessing of information by micro and small entrepreneurs in the tourism industry in Kenya. A multiple case study was used, focusing on urban-based micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the tourism industry. The results indicate that information communication technologies (ICTs) have introduced opportunities for improving communication and access to information, as well as generating online content, through quality information systems that are bound to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of most MSEs, as well as create new business opportunities. The results further indicate that MSEs use ICTs to access information, for e-mail services, to make reservations for flights, hotels and lodges, and to market their products and services. ICTs are also used for communication and money transfer services, word processing and storage of business information. The study revealed that most MSEs lack the prerequisite knowledge and skills, security and trust, financial resources and support to derive the full benefits of these technologies. The study concludes that information needs and subsequent seeking behaviour influence the diffusion and utilisation of ICTs by micro and small entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. In this regard, the study proposes a model that could be adapted as a framework for enhancing the diffusion and utilisation of ICTs by MSEs.
The road to the information and knowledge society : indigenous knowledge and the Millennium Development GoalsAuthor Marlene HolmnerSource: Mousaion 29, pp 139 –157 (2011)More Less
Benefiting from the process of globalisation and becoming an information and knowledge society has become the vision of many governments throughout the world. However, becoming such a society is much easier for developed countries as they already possess some of the prerequisite criteria to be classified as an information and knowledge society. These criteria include a stable economy, an efficient physical infrastructure, and an effective ICT infrastructure, to mention a few (Britz 2006; Holmner 2008). As many of the criteria of an information and knowledge society coincide with the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is much easier and faster for these developed countries to achieve these goals and benefit from the global economy. For developing countries that are still experiencing a digital divide, these goals seem nearly unattainable. As the deadline for achieving the MDGs is only five years away, it has become imperative for developing countries to investigate other roads and possibilities to assist them in progressing towards attaining these goals at an increased speed. Utilising indigenous knowledge is one of these roads that developing countries are making use of to reach this destination.
Library and Information Management education and training in Swaziland : a review of opportunities and challengesAuthor Khosie C. NdlangamandlaSource: Mousaion 29, pp 158 –172 (2011)More Less
This article has been extracted from a study that investigated the feasibility of providing Library and Information Management higher education in Swaziland. It highlights the state of Library and Information Management higher education and training in that country and, with the aim of providing a clearer background for further investigation, explores the opportunities, challenges and feasibility of providing it. The results of the investigation are reported elsewhere.
Source: Mousaion 29, pp 173 –194 (2011)More Less
This article is part of a doctoral study undertaken in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. It describes a now-completed investigation of the information-seeking behaviour of secondary level in-service geography teachers in Lesotho using focus group discussions. There were 82 participants in this sub-study teaching in various schools that offer geography both at junior and senior secondary levels in Lesotho. The study used Leckie, Pettigrew and Sylvain's (1996) model of the information seeking of professionals as its framework. Although Leckie et al's (1996) model identifies five work roles that trigger information needs, the empirical component this study identified three work roles: educator role, administrative role and non-academic role. In addition, the secondary geography teachers who were studied tend to use syllabus documents, learners' textbooks and colleagues as predominant information sources. They prefer information that will be easily understood by their learners and go to great lengths to seek information related to what they will deliver in class. This article offers a descriptive report of some key results.
Contextualising the use of ICTs in the public sector : the case of selected government departments in KwaZulu-NatalSource: Mousaion 29, pp 195 –210 (2011)More Less
The study reports on the types, usage and availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in four selected government departments in KwaZulu-Natal. In order to achieve the stated aim, the study answered the following research questions: What is the purpose of using ICTs in government departments? How frequently do the civil servants surveyed use ICTs for work purposes? Which ICTs do the civil servants consider effective in improving work productivity in government departments? What are the civil servants' recommendations for improving ICT usage in government departments? The study was informed by the diffusion of innovations theory. Mixed methods were adopted, employing aspects of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Multistage probability samples were used to select the elements for the survey method. A questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. The data were analysed using thematic categorisation and tabulation, and the findings were presented descriptively. The findings show that a variety of ICTs have been adopted in the sector. All civil servants surveyed indicated that they used ICTs to communicate with their colleagues and to disseminate departmental information. The most popular recommendations included the need for sufficient and coherent government policies regulating the training of staff in the utilisation of ICTs in the sector. Detailed recommendations for further study are provided.
Job functions and requirements for knowledge managers : lessons for Library and Information Science (LIS) schools in South AfricaSource: Mousaion 29, pp 211 –226 (2011)More Less
The study explored the job functions and requirements for knowledge management practitioners through the analysis of job advertisements appearing on 12 major jobsites in South Africa. It aimed to provide vital information that can assist in re-examining knowledge management education in library and information science (LIS) schools in South Africa. A total of 32 knowledge management-related job advertisements were retrieved using "knowledge" and "knowledge management" as search terms. Details regarding the date and location of the advertisement, job requirements (i.e. qualification, skills, knowledge, experience and attitude) and, most importantly for the purpose of this study, the job functions (i.e. responsibilities, duties, description) were captured from the advertisements and analysed. The majority of the jobs were based in Gauteng with a few based in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The findings revealed that a variety of job titles are used to refer to knowledge management practitioners, with "knowledge manager" appearing in a majority of the advertisements. Taking into account the multidisciplinary nature of knowledge management, there was diversity in terms of the qualifications required. Some of the common job functions or responsibilities listed in the advertisements were designing and executing a knowledge management strategy, identifying knowledge and information needs, conducting research, conducting knowledge audits, and developing, implementing and maintaining knowledge repositories/databases. The study recommends that LIS schools should endeavor to align their offerings to market requirements so that their graduates may have the required academic qualifications, knowledge, skills and attitudes. Areas of further research are recommended.
Source: Mousaion 29, pp 227 –245 (2011)More Less
The study traced Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates who graduated from the Department of Library and Information Science (now Information Studies) at the University of Zululand between the years 2000 and 2009. The study aimed to establish whether the graduates are employable, whether the curriculum is relevant to the LIS job market, and to investigate the perceptions of graduates about the LIS curriculum. A survey method was used to access the large and scattered LIS graduate population. A questionnaire consisting of both structured and unstructured questions was used as the main research instrument. A total of 50 graduates participated in the study. The results indicate that most LIS graduates are employed in the public sector, mainly in national, provincial and municipal libraries. Their daily tasks include, among others, cataloguing and classification, collection development, and abstracting and indexing. The results also revealed that cataloguing and classification and experiential learning remain critical knowledge and skills required in LIS-related jobs. The study concluded that LIS graduates are generally happy with the knowledge and skills they acquired from the department, but they are not happy with the overall curriculum offered. The study recommends that the department should embark on a curriculum review process that will include an internship programme and the balancing of traditional LIS modules with technology-related modules to cater for Information Science students.