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Digital domain is e-environmentally friendly

Academic staff across WSU have been implored by the Library and Information Services (LIS) unit to start using the institution’s e-resources more efficiently and effectively.

This was a plea made during on the first day of a week-long road show organised by the LIS unit themed “Transforming academic libraries to e-environment” which kicked off on 26 August, sheduled to run until 2 September.

Buffalo City Campus libraries acting manager Nontembiso Ntsika said the LIS unit had been on a strategic journey to digitise their operations for a number of years following the prerequisites of the contemporary workplace, libraries included, for more proficient and modern systems to be employed in carrying out core business.

“There has been an undeniable ascendency in academics, staff and students using technology more to help them perform better in their research, jobs and studies. It was only natural for us to ensure we cater for this new need. We’re working tirelessly to ensure we provide this platform through our online library system,” said Ntsika.

Users of the system can expect to gain quick and easy access to e-resources at the click of a button- on and off campus.

Through the online library catalogue, users can gain access to a number of e-resources which include borrowing books from other universities (if WSU doesn’t have access to these), source books that are available, re-new book loans online.

Vast improvements are also being made to the catalogue, with the unit looking at digitising thesis and dissertations, as well as digitising past exam papers for students to source with much more immediacy and ease.

Ntsika was at pains to conscientise the University of a programme she said would revolutionise the way researchers conduct their research.

“We have a reference management system called EndNote for creating databases by creating your own library to store information through citing and compiling of a bibliography,” said Ntsika.

Fashion department lecturer Sipho Mbatha heaped praise upon the EndNote programme, saying it would help him immensely in his research in pursuit of his PhD.

He also expressed concerned however at the limited scope of books the library has access to when it comes to certain areas of study.

“The University must not only enrich the scope of certain areas like engineering and medicine, but must also look at stocking resources in areas such as fashion for instance,” said Mbatha.

He said the University’s equipment and infrastructure must also go hand-in-hand with the digital route the institution is pursuing.

“It’s pointless providing such services for our students and staff if our means to gaining access to these services are lagging behind. Our Wi-Fi hotspots must be sufficient and our PCs hi-tech enough to ensure maximum optimisation of this e-source,” said Mbatha.

Ntsika said the University would carry on conducting the road shows to train and conscientise staff of the move to the digital age – all for the benefit of the University.


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