Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Report back on the 16th Annual LIASA Conference - Abel Thulare

Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre 22-26 September 2014
Abel Thulare, Information Librarian 

Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA)

LIASA Conference Theme: "Celebrating libraries in 20 years of democracy: continuing the dialogue"

This year’s conference theme was to call to action national building and social cohesion of life to the common South African story. Everyone plays a part in the shared South African experience.

The LIASA Representative Council & Executive Committee together with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) signed the Lyon Declaration with the United Nations which is guided by Human Rights. This declaration focuses mainly on poverty alleviation, HIV/Aids and focus on youth regarding access to education. Women and girls have the right of access to information in order to eradicate poverty. Information professionals manage data to provide accurate information to all sectors of government and society.Also cultural heritage preservation, more especially in the public sector. The focus should be on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to become pivotal in bridging the gap of technology, especially in rural communities. The declaration was signed by NLSA & LIASA and handed over to the United Nations.

LIASA Conference Sessions attended:

Abel Thulare at LIASA 2014

1. User preference for digital information, a case study: Ms Grace Mutsvunguma

2. Information without boundaries through use of Electronic Resources at Walter Sisulu University Nelson Mandela Drive site campus: a case study. Mr Sidima Mnengi

3. Virtual reference services in academic libraries: Friend or Foe? Mr Ras Yusuf


Abel Thulare's findings on sessions attended and the way forward in comparison to the SABC Information Library:

African countries are not using or gathering digital resources compared to the developed world. Scientists in Africa do not submit their research to repositories which is a setback towards building digital resources. This is caused mainly by the lack of technological resources.

The problem of the use of electronic resources at universities, i.e. Walter Sisulu University, arose from the lack of exposure to technology. More especially in the rural universities where students had no access to technology or lacked knowledge thereof.
Universities had to come up with a strategy of orientation of the new students in order to make them aware of which technology was available for them, i.e. internet/WiFi. A study was conducted by the Stellenbosch University whereby usage of the virtual reference services was evaluated. From both Walter Sisulu University and Stellenbosch University it was stated that they experienced a lack of interest mostly from first year students.

Marketing of databases was done towards the first year students using methods like notice boards and pamphlets. In order for them to see whether their marketing was effective, they conducted bibliometrics for their databases. Bibliometrics is the statistical analysis of articles, books and other publications. With this method the libraries could monitor how often publications are used by analysing their databases and using the results to see what was used more.  It gives an indication
of where the focus on marketing should be.


The SABC Information Library should try by all means to market their resources. Steering training sessions should be done via the training and development department to maximise the usage of the services by staff members. In order to analyse whether the approach is effective, a bibliometrics survey could be conducted through the BIT Department to check how many people access the databases on the intranet and how often. Bibliometrics could also be conducted by the SABC Information Library by checking the individual monthly statistics and keeping record of how often the services are utilised.

As librarians together we can make it through appropriate marketing of our services!

Exhibitors at LIASA 2014 Conference:

3M, Academic Bookshop, Best Books, Booktalk, CIBLIS, CSX, KZN Department Arts & Culture, Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sport & Recreation, Doculam, Free State Department Sports, Arts, Culture & Recreation, Gauteng Department Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation, EBSCO, City of Ekurhuleni, National Library of South Africa, Firstcoast, ProQuest, Lectio Publishers, Innovative Interfaces, Tag Tron Solutions, Red Pepper Books, Sabinet, Sanlic, TripleSLtech, UKS & WWIS.

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