Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interview with the Librarian at the SABC Newspaper Cutting Section

Themba Mtshali
SABC Newspaper Cutting Section
This is an interview as part of a series of blog posts to gain a better understanding of the SABC Media Libraries and what we do in the different sections that we belong to.

The interview this week is with Themba Mtshali, the Information Librarian who works in the Newspaper Cutting Section of the SABC Information Library.

This section has a collection of 3200 000 newspaper articles. The following newspapers are ordered for this section: Beeld, Sowetan, Business Day, Star, Citizen, Mail and Guardian, Rapport, Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and the City Press. Every day articles are scanned in on the Newbase System and then electronically get cut, pasted and indexed.

Themba, please tell us a little bit about yourself. (Where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Information Library)

Answer: My name is Themba Mtshali. I was born in Soweto. I studied and passed my matric in KZN during the 1976 unrest. In 1981 I joined Standard Bank and worked as a Clerk. After that I worked at a NGO Company in Braamfontein as project coordinator for 5 years. In 1995 I joined the SABC as Desk Help Officer for late Dr Ivy Matsepe Cassaburi’s office. In 1996 I joined the SABC Media Libraries at the Cutting Service Section.

Please tell us about a normal day in your office. What newspaper articles do you give priority to?

Answer: My normal day in office starts with fetching newspapers from the security office at ground floor in the morning. I look through the papers for SABC articles to be scanned first and start scanning other newspapers thereafter. We give priority to current affairs news mostly form politics, sport, health etc. I also give attention to information requests that come to our office and cut, paste and index sports articles.

Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve in the library.

Answer: Our collection consists of newspaper articles that are scanned as well as newspaper articles that were cut and pasted and filed into files before we got the digital system. The focus is mostly on politics of the past and present government; SABC collections from when the SABC was established to present date. The newspaper collection is very vast and varied in its scope.

Do you struggle with technical difficulties, and if so, what?

Answer: Not much, but when we do have problems with our system server, we have BIT to assist us.

If you have an anecdote about a specific piece of interesting information, please share it with us.

Answer: As I am a sports fan, particularly soccer fan, I would like to preserve the history of soccer in South Africa.

Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.

Answer: The job keeps me well informed about what’s happening around me.

Related posts:
Interview with the Librarian at the SABC Information Library: Newspaper Cutting Section
Interview with the Information Librarian at the SABC Information Library

Questions and post by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives.

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