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Webinar@ASIRA: New Roles for Changing Times UNAM Subject Librarians in Context


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By Chenjerai Mabhiza, Head of User Services at the University of Namibia
17 February 2017- 15:00 CET

--The webinar was held as part of ASIRA (Access to Scientific Information Resources in Agriculture) Online Course for Low-Income Countries--

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Webinar@ASIRA: New Roles for Changing Times UNAM Subject Librarians in Context

  1. 1. Webinar 2: How libraries have changed their role in the last decades Presenter: Chenjerai Mabhiza, University of Namibia Title: New Roles for Changing Times: UNAM Subject and Campus Librarians in Context
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  3. 3. New Roles for Changing Times: UNAM Subject Librarians in Context • About the Webinar: This Webinar contextualises the changing roles of Subject and Campus Librarians at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in view of new research support, scholarly communications, information literacy, bibliometrics and data management support services. • “One must never lose time in vainly regretting the past nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, for change is the very essence of life”.
  4. 4. New Roles for Changing Times • For a number of years Subject/Faculty librarians at UNAM performed traditional roles synonymous with African university libraries, with regard to supporting the curriculum and scholarship of the university, in relation to teaching and learning. • Traditional roles of librarians focused on collection development, cataloguing, classification & indexing, and discovery of information (user education). • The changing publishing trends, the open access movement, and textbook and journal supplier models, among others, have resulted in a new information ecosystem that has impacted on the information managers and knowledge officers globally, including subject librarians at UNAM.
  5. 5. New Roles for Changing Times • In a bid to align our services with the needs of today`s students, researchers and members of faculty, we have added new functions to the roles of subject librarians. • A summary of selected new roles are presented below:
  6. 6. Scholarly Communications • We advise research students and members of faculties on current trends, best practices and available options in research publication and dissemination methods and models nationally and internationally, including scholarly communications and open access publishing. • We advocate for suitable models of scholarly communications and also promote preservation of faculty research outputs in the UNAM Institutional Repository administered by the Library.
  7. 7. Research Support Services to Faculty • As subject librarians we provide active support that helps to increase the productivity of lecturers` research, departmental and faculty scholarship. • We profile the current and changing faculty research interests first. • Understanding of a typical researcher`s experience, including their workflow, and how researchers access and use information within a discipline/ subject and at different stages of the researcher`s career is important in this type of service.
  8. 8. Research Support Services • Providing informal alert services • Co-researching about scholarship of teaching • Co-researching about scholarly publishing in specific area of knowledge • Research consultations by postgraduate students and lecturers • Answering in-depth reference questions • Research profiles of academic staff and helping students to create literature maps • Following the systematic reviews workshop held in 2016 - Co-researching about systematic reviews – collaboration between librarians and lecturers or identified University of Cardiff librarians
  9. 9. Teaching Support • Subject Librarians facilitate selection and acquisition of resources to be used by departments and faculties to support instruction. • Subject Librarians need deep knowledge of their disciplines (which resources support which levels of students?). • Knowledge of E-Book Supplier Models and the open access movement is required • Excellent knowledge of available content of their disciplines is required. • Challenging to Subject librarians whose faculties have many academic departments and courses taught under the same faculty
  10. 10. Expanding Roles in Support of Teaching and Learning • UNAM Library – Piloting embedded Information Literacy (IL) programme under the module: English for Academic Purposes offered by the Language Centre • Research Seminars – MED, PGSC, TLIU - Literature Review and Literature Search • Teaching students how to design studies, draft Research Proposals • Course Lecturer for Research Methodology Modules for postgraduate students – PGD SSS and MASSS, Department of Safety and Strategic Studies, Military School, etc.
  11. 11. Literature Search Support to Faculty and Researchers • Providing literature support to academic staff based in different faculties, postgraduate students, and independent researchers has become one of our key services as Subject librarians • Availability of too much literature to review or evaluate can lead to information overload, and subsequently anxiety among students, academic staff and researchers • The increase in our subscription based e-journals and databases (Science Direct, Emerald University Press, Hein Online, Taylor & Francis, Sage, and SA E-Publications, etc.);
  12. 12. Literature Search Support • Research4Life e-journal databases (AGORA, HINARI, OARE & ARDI); • INASP e-journal databases (University of Chicago, JSTOR, Societal Journals, etc.); • Open Access Movement (BioMed Central, Google Scholar, Directory of Open Access Journals, Directory of Open Access Books, Institutional Repositories (universities), and Organisational websites (FAO, WHO, OIE, GRN departments, etc.) since 2008/2010
  13. 13. Collaborative Relationships • Collaboration and partnerships at various university committee levels, such as, Senate, are critical to the development of new library services and liaison roles • Many complex initiatives require collaboration between the library, schools & faculties, and Centres: Various assignments emanating from the establishment of the School of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering & IT
  14. 14. Collaborative Relationships • School of Public Health, School of Veterinary Science, and Southern Campus, etc. • Integration of former Colleges of Education libraries into the UNAM Library system - study • Open access initiatives: co-hosting the FODUSA and AGORA workshop • Namibia Digital Library project - UNAM Library responsible for its establishment
  15. 15. Collaborative Relationships • We sometimes use hybrid models or team approach in executing some of the projects/ tasks - Librarians serve on various UNAM Committees/ Task Forces • establishment of CEQUAM, followed by CEQUAM and NCHE led Institutional and Faculty Audits; PGSC assignments; drafting of UNAM policies - Plagiarism, Copyright, Intellectual Property, etc. • Subject/ Faculty Librarians are library liaisons with academic departments and faculty
  16. 16. Collaborative Relationships • Faculty of Humanities (FHSS) and Library Collaboration on the SCAP Project – gave birth to the UNAM IR; Scholarly Communications Policy; and Library mandate of administering the IR. • The University of Cape Town (UCT) was an active collaborating partner and advisor on the above project • We are now collaborating with the International University of Management (IUM) on setting up the IUM IR
  17. 17. Gateways to Information and Knowledge • In a number of cases, we serve as “gateways” for locating information for faculty and independent researchers – some of our lecturers do not have sufficient searching skills, while others have hectic teaching and research loads (“they often call me a life saver”). • We need outstanding skills in information discovery and literature searches to succeed.
  18. 18. Gateways to Information • Management of bibliographic records – there are many requests from lecturers for training on how to use Mendeley, Zotero, and End Note, etc. • Knowledge on citation and referencing is critical
  19. 19. Open Access • Scholarly Communications Policy - the Library has the mandate to administer the Institutional Repository (IR) on behalf the University. • Subject Librarians are mandated to advise academicians, researchers affiliated to UNAM and postgraduate students to deposit or make their peer reviewed scholarly outputs accessible through the IR
  20. 20. Open Access • Electronic copies of all examined theses and dissertations submitted by Postgraduate Research Students and approved by the Postgraduate Studies Committee (PGSC) and cleared by the Centre for Postgraduate Studies as fulfilling the requirements for a Master degree or Doctoral degree (PhD/ Doctor of Philosophy). • Advise students, lecturers and researchers on how to publish through other open access platforms, such as DOAJ and BioMed Central
  21. 21. Undergraduate Students Support • We mentor undergraduates to develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills. • Through Information literacy (IL) instruction, we train undergraduate students to demonstrate knowledge and application of skills in two areas, namely: • (a) Information seeking, which concerns searching for and identifying relevant and up-to- date sources which are applicable in one`s research area; and • (b) literature search and research strategies.
  22. 22. Example of Librarian`s Role in Students` Research • We help students during the research process to: • Read intelligently and get ideas readily; and to Create Structured Search Queries. Some considerations: • The type of population students are studying • Environment, Situation or Context they are working in • How many years do they want to go back for literature searches? • Language(s) Preferred & Geographical specificity • Research and or Review publications • Legal Instruments (Acts, Policies & Regulations, White papers, etc.) • Commentaries; Conference Proceedings Reports • Case studies
  23. 23. Postgraduate Students Support • In one of my roles as Postgraduate students and Research Librarian, I have introduced a new service - postgraduate students` research consultations. • In these sessions, I engage postgraduate students and doctoral candidates (2-3 hours) with a view to enable them to acquire critical assessment skills, which involve scanning, analysing, summarizing and integrating sources so as to identify reliable, valid and credible material;
  24. 24. Postgraduate Students… • Formulating focused research topics, problem statements and research questions; carrying out in-depth literature reviews; and • Helping define each student`s research area using a checklist of 10 questions. • A research strategy helps students to succeed with their literature searches: • 1. Students need to make decisions with regard to appropriate sources for their topics:
  25. 25. Postgraduate Students… –primary documents, such as, journal articles, government information, statistics, and interviews/oral histories; research reports, theses, and –Secondary sources, such as books, and authentic/ approved internet sites. • 2. Tertiary Sources, such as Subject Encyclopaedias can be very good sources of theory, especially in Linguistics. • 3. Determine appropriate databases to search for journal articles.
  26. 26. Postgraduate Students… • If using mainly full-text databases, they should also use discipline-oriented databases, such as, PubMed, HINARI (Medicine), AGORA (Agriculture), OARE (Environmental Sciences), SA E-Publications (Bus Management, Labour Relations, Law, etc.), SAFLI (Law), Nursing Academic (Nursing Science), Emerald (Accounting, Business Management, Economics, etc.), ERIC (Education), IEEE (Engineering), Science Direct (Natural Sciences, Psychology, etc.), among others.
  27. 27. Concluding Remarks • Information professionals globally are facing challenging and at the same time exciting times. • Our work environment is becoming more complex, there are constant changes in the organizational, technological and information environment. • We have to keep up with new technologies and systems, new forms of information and its sources, as well as new tasks and roles.
  28. 28. • Thank you for listening to me • It`s now my turn to listen to you and to take a few questions, if any.