Dear HELIG Colleagues
Student unrests, the Internet, Open Access and Open Science
During the past weeks we’ve seen so many student unrests, and the end not in sight, it seems. Our country desperately needs educated, qualified people, who can become entrepreneurs and create new jobs. On the other hand – vandalizing buildings and traumatizing other individuals are definitely not the solution. During this time I could not help to think of the role of online or e-learning, and opportunities within the library environment. Also in terms of assisting others to become entrepreneurs and developing entrepreneurial skills. Open Access week is coming up, and hopefully all libraries across sub-systems (sectors) will continue to create an awareness with regards to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other lifelong self-training/learning opportunities available via the World Wide Web. The world we live in today is different from the world some of us grew up in, where going to university was seen as the ultimate option. On the other hand – opportunities are vast, if we want to work hard and learn.
The support for Open Access in our country and on the African continent is growing, and something to look forward to is the upcoming Annual LIASA Conference, UCT Open Access Symposium 2016, International Open Access Week, and the African Open Science Platform Project. Everybody needs access to quality information to continue to make a contribution to a better world. On a flight to Cape Town the other day, I was astounded to learn from a General Practitioner sitting next to me, that their main way of staying up to date with new developments is through sales representatives from pharmaceutical companies, introducing new products to them. This certainly not applies to all health practitioners, but it would help if they were made more aware of quality research material available through quality open access resources. An exciting challenge for librarians to take on!
During the many Open Science events (SciDataCon2016, International Data Week, Research Data Alliance meeting, ICRI, and more) during the past couple of weeks, the important roles librarians can play were highlighted many times. One of the biggest challenges of data-intensive science is to facilitate knowledge discovery by assisting humans and machines in their discovery of, access to, integration and analysis of, task-appropriate scientific data and their associated algorithms and workflows. The FAIR principles try to set guidelines to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable. Open Access, Open Science, research data management planning, data analysis, data preservation and more should be addressed as part of Information Literacy training and also library school training – librarians need to be skilled in order to better support users. Librarians need to become comfortable working with data. A doctor from Doctors without Borders mentioned during the SciDataCon 2016 that it is a challenge for doctors to capture very crucial data. An idea that came to mind: why not Librarians without Borders, accompanying these doctors and assisting with data capturing & management?
Database of SA scholarly journal publications
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has contributed information to CREST (Stellenbosch University), to build a database of SA journal titles and their statuses. Through this list, accurate and detailed information will be communicated, based on the titles approved for accreditation by the DHET on an annual basis. The database is currently restricted, but you can get a feel for what to expect by visiting http://crest2.sun.ac.za/journals_database/default/index. More information to follow – hopefully by February 2017.
Research Data Alliance in Africa
“Building social and technical bridges to facilitate data sharing and re-use.” In a nutshell that is the mission of the Research Data Alliance, an international organisation that now counts more than 4 300 members worldwide from over 110 countries. On Sunday 2 October 2016, during the pre-ICRI meeting in Cape Town, the RDA announced funding by the SA Dept. of Science and Technology, buying in and supporting what the RDA stands for. Up to date, Africa was mainly represented by Kay Raseroka (Botswana), well known in the library community. We are looking forward to more involvement from Africa in future!
Useful links for librarians:
- ANDS 23 Research Data Things – learn about data
- Dataverse – a database for data storage
- Datacite – assign DOIs to data sets
Information Literacy Gauteng North Branch Initiative
It was exciting to participate in the well organised Gauteng North Branch HELIG workshop on information literacy. This event successfully combined traditional face-to-face presentations with virtual presentations, using state-of-the-art virtual technology. Thank you to our colleagues from Gauteng North for a most engaging event, of which you are most welcome to access the presentations:
Information literacy in an online world: A digital approach to address the needs of digital natives/Ina Smith
Investigating the use of mobile information literacy training over traditional methods of training/Kabelo Nzima
The information literacy journey of TUT/Nelis Botha
Advancing learning and transforming scholarship in higher education/Shirlene Neerputh
Information literacy in higher education/Ingrid Thomson
Information Literacy @ CPUT/Janine Lockhart
Please visit HELIG on SlideShare for a collection of slides presented on behalf of LIASA HELIG.
Also refer to the HELIG webinar on Information Literacy, presented by Janine Lockhart.
LIASA Web Page
With the term for the current LIASA Exco coming to an end, it also brings an end to the portfolio for Exco ICT Development Convener, responsible for maintaining the web and online tools. There will be a hand-over following conference. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for any questions regarding the LIASA web.
We are looking forward seeing all at the HELIG AGM on 12 October! Remember to submit a proxy form if you cannot attend in person, and want to qualify for the lucky draw for one of two individual LIASA memberships for 2017. The agenda and accompanying documentation have been shared, but you are most welcome to download it from the HELIG News Blog if you have missed the communication.
Just a few days and the current HELIG Committee will be handing over to the newly elected committee for 2016-2018. From my side – a very special and sincere thank you for working with us during the past two years, for actively participating, and for allowing us to learn – for your patience, and for allowing us to grow while we learn. And please become/remain lifelong, self-learning, hardworking individuals. LIASA and LIASA HELIG were very exciting journeys for me personally, and I can only encourage you to work together for the Interest Group to always remain relevant. All the best to Ingrid Thomson and her new committee, and I can just say that you will be in very good hands!
This newsletter the last for this term (which mostly happened on airports in between flights or in bed very late in the evenings when the rest of the world was already asleep). But it was crucial to remain in touch and to keep you in the loop, although we would have loved to hear more from you. It can only become better in future. Take care colleagues!
LIASA Exco Convener ICT Development (2014-2016)
LIASA HELIG Chair (2014-2016)