Mousaion - Volume 32, Issue 1, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 32, Issue 1, 2014
Information seeking behaviour of blind and visually impaired students : a case study of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg CampusSource: Mousaion 32, pp 1 –22 (2014)More Less
Based on a study for a master's dissertation, this article reports on an investigation of the information seeking behaviour of blind and visually impaired students. It investigated whether the services provided by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on its Pietermaritzburg campus (hereafter UKZN-PMB) accommodated the information seeking behaviour of blind students and those with visual impairments. The theoretical framework for the study was Wilson's (1996) Model of Information Behaviour, Belkin's (1982) Anomalous State of Knowledge approach and Oliver's (1996) Social Model of Disability. Blind students and those with visual impairments, the subject librarians from the Main Library and the Disability Unit (DU) Co-ordinator were surveyed. The study revealed that the students exhibited information seeking behaviour that included the DU staff as an indispensable part of information access. Recommendations include developing a strategy to implement the UKZN disability policy and allocating a sufficient budget for the purchase of assistive devices or, preferably, incorporating principles of universal design in the information system.
Information needs and seeking behaviour of orphans and vulnerable children, their caregivers, and service providers in rural regions in NamibiaSource: Mousaion 32, pp 23 –45 (2014)More Less
A big problem in Namibia is the issue of destitute orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), many of whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS related illnesses. This study sought to examine the information needs of OVC and their caregivers and their information seeking strategies in managing the OVC situation in Namibia. Both qualitative and quantitative survey research methods were employed. Questionnaires were posted to various service providers, while interviews were conducted with OVC and their caregivers. Focus group discussions were also used for caregivers and informants in order to collect data on the respondents' general attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions. The study took place in the rural Ohangwena region in January 2009 and urban Khomas region in April 2009. The preliminary findings indicated that there was a higher school dropout rate among rural OVC. Both rural and urban OVC expressed the need for financial assistance or grants, child care support, feeding schemes and health services as their top priorities. The rural OVC said they required information about school development fund exemptions, financial assistance or grants, health services, childcare support, and training opportunities. The urban OVC expressed the same priorities except for counselling, which was added to their list instead of training opportunities. Both the rural and urban OVC stated that they consulted relatives, teachers and friends for advice or information, thus indicating that interpersonal sources of information were the most important source of information. The study provided useful information for interventions and further research.
Agricultural researchers and extension workers' information needs and challenges in Zimbabwe : preliminary results of a pilot studySource: Mousaion 32, pp 46 –63 (2014)More Less
Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of many developing countries, contributing considerably to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), labour and exports. In Zimbabwe, agriculture provides an income to 75 per cent of the country's population. The role of researchers and extension workers is thus important in this process. This article reports on a pilot study that examined the information needs and challenges of veterinary researchers in Zimbabwe. Purposive sampling was used to identify and select respondents around Harare. Although Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East were initially selected, the study was able to capture respondents from across other provinces and districts from part-time students attending Mazowe Veterinary School. A questionnaire was used to collect data, most of which was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study revealed that there were varying information needs among the respondents, with the need for information on animal health and production being the lowest, despite the majority of respondents being veterinary extension workers. Lack of resources - especially transport and information sources - was cited as a factor affecting research and extension services. The study also showed that there was poor dissemination of agricultural information between researchers and extension workers and the farmers, and this was done through various channels, traditional and modern information and communications technologies (ICTs).
Source: Mousaion 32, pp 64 –83 (2014)More Less
Digital libraries have a huge potential towards offsetting the knowledge deficit in many parts of the world and Africa in particular. This article reports on a study aimed at exploring the status of digital libraries and the contributions they have made towards bridging the knowledge gap in Africa. The study examined the origin, growth and current status of digital libraries; identified critical issues surrounding their existence; and investigated the level to which they had helped to reduce disparities in access to knowledge and promote the quality of education and research in Africa. It also explored the challenges met in the development, management and use of these libraries with a view to improving them. Data collection and analysis was largely based on a review of the extant literature as well as an analysis of the statistical data collected from a number of organisations and websites. The key finding was that although there had been some efforts in Africa to harness opportunities created by the Internet and digital libraries through research initiatives, the continent still trailed the rest of the world in the actual use of these resources. It was recommended that African governments and higher education institutions (HEIs) create an environment that is conducive for further development of these libraries and facilitate them to contribute more effectively to information and cultural content. There was also a need to increase investments in the digital technologies to reduce the existing disparities and barriers to universal access to the knowledge resources.
Source: Mousaion 32, pp 84 –97 (2014)More Less
Competitive intelligence (CI) as a strategic management tool is essential for organisations in developing countries. This article provides an overview of the current state of CI in Brazil. A questionnaire survey methodology was used where questionnaires were administered to CI professionals in organisations in Brazil. Only 46.1 per cent of the organisations indicated that they cope above average with changes in the external environment and the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that the CI function assists to quantify/qualify strategic choices. The respondents do not use sophisticated analytical techniques to analyse data. It is recommended that organisations in Brazil should seek to engage proactively with the global environment by revising their strategic priorities. They need to redress critical competitiveness issues, most notably the establishment of the CI function as a strategic tool.
African institutional repositories as contributors to global information : a South African case studySource: Mousaion 32, pp 98 –114 (2014)More Less
Globally, institutional repositories (IRs) have become part of the services offered in academic libraries. This is, however, not yet the case in African academic libraries. In South Africa, the majority of academic libraries have embarked on digitising their research output. The aim of the study reported on in this article was to describe the IR of the University of Zululand (commonly known as Unizulu). A literature review, personal experience and observations were used to gather information for the study. It was found that although there were a number of challenges in the beginning stages, the project known as UZSpace was launched successfully. It was also found that due to the fact that the open access principle was embraced, and through the use of harvesters, the IR was heavily utilised especially during the first few months after going live - a trend that is still continuing. The article points out the challenges experienced; highlights the current status of the project; and shows the strengths and weaknesses of the project. Recommendations include that the IR management should form its own department under the auspices of the library; staff issues be resolved; and contingency plans be put in place for when a staff member leaves the project. The digitisation of the research materials should also be done in-house instead of being outsourced in order to save time and finances.
Source: Mousaion 32, pp 115 –131 (2014)More Less
This article sets out to describe the usage of standards in the development of quality library services in universities in Kenya. Standards represent opportunities for librarians to add value as information providers and for the library profession to raise its visibility as an authority on information quality. The mixed research method was used for data collection. A total of 27 (87%) of the 31 respondents from private and public higher education institutions (HEIs) completed and returned the questionnaires. Based on the findings from the questionnaire survey, five heads of university libraries were interviewed. The findings revealed that the majority of the university libraries had used only five out of the ten Commission for Higher Education's Standards and Guidelines for University Libraries in Kenya (CHE 2007), namely: vision, mission and objectives; organisation and access of information resources; information resources; ICT resources; and library building. The higher usage of these five standards could have been attributed to the eligibility requirements for licensing of the external quality assurance regulatory body, namely, the CHE. However, the least utilised standards were those that were crucial to demonstrate that students had mastered the specific objectives of education. The CHE standards used for evaluation of university libraries in Kenya only covered inputs. The article concludes with a number of recommendations for improvement. The standards should focus on outputs and outcomes of the library programmes as primary indicators of quality.
Use of information communications technology for communication and collaboration among hospitals in Ibadan, NigeriaSource: Mousaion 32, pp 132 –160 (2014)More Less
Using data collected from 78 out of the 149 hospitals in Ibadan, Nigeria, which are registered with the Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), this article examines how these hospitals use information communications technology (ICT) to communicate information and collaborate with other hospitals for health care services. The results showed that the level of ICT literacy level in the hospitals is generally low; Internet access is mainly through mobile phones; and only two of the 78 hospitals own websites. Communication concerned mainly with local hospitals and collaboration across the Internet network to solve client health problems seldom occurred. Rather, patients were always physically moved to other hospitals, facilitated mainly by a combination of referral letters and mobile phones. The study location consisted of both rural and semi-urban areas but all the NHIS registered hospitals were concentrated in the semi-urban areas, and there was no reference to communication or collaboration between hospitals in the rural areas and those in the semi-urban areas. The gregarious nature of medical practice generally and the affiliation of the respondents in the study to many professional and interest associations could be explored to develop policies and programmes for promoting communication and collaboration among health facilities for improved efficiency in health care service delivery.