n Mousaion - African institutional repositories as contributors to global information : a South African case study

Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



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.

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