What’s in a name?

Did you know that the Library is running a competition to name our Institutional Data Repository?

Figshare is the digital data management repository for institutions where users can make their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. The platform helps academic researchers to store, share and discover research and manage all their research data outputs.

The CPUT library wants to rename our local version and needs your help to come up with something relevant.

The competition is open until May 3 and more details can be found on the Library Homepage and Facebook account.

Written by Theresa Smith

African libraries that adapt can take the continent’s knowledge to the world

South African librarians were shocked in 2013 when one of the top researchers at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology claimed that he no longer needed the library to do his research.

Professor Johannes Cronje’s paper echoed an increasingly common way of thinking. Why, after all, do we need libraries when the Internet does such a good job of providing us with information?

But libraries are not just collection points for information. The best ones also help create it – and those which embrace this role will flourish in a completely changed world. This is particularly true for African libraries: there is more of an opportunity than ever before to bring the continent’s knowledge to the world.

A dual role

Libraries collect information and make it available to a particular community or communities. Some, like church libraries, specialise in collecting certain kinds of information.

The Internet can do exactly the same thing. Anyone can create a collection of information online and make it available to users. And who needs librarians when search engines like Google are on hand to help track down information?

Such technological advances mean that the traditional library is losing customers who just want to find information.

Libraries fulfil another crucial role, though. They help to create information. Modern libraries offer many services that help their users to put information online. Most academic libraries, for instance, have repository services that collate a university’s research output and make it publicly available.

They are extending this service to research data, which will save future researchers from collecting the same data and taxpayers from paying for it again.

These services are becoming common in public libraries as well, through an innovation called makerspaces. Here, users can make items of information. They can create music, produce items using 3D printers or engineer complex designs.

In makerspaces, librarians aren’t helping users to find information from the world. They are helping users to find information in themselves. Libraries should continue to develop services that help people create information.

Eli Neiburger from the Ann Arbor District Library talks about what libraries can do to survive.

In a way, these “new” developments really aren’t that different from what libraries have always done. Libraries curate and disseminate information. In the past, librarians curated information from foreign creators and disseminated it to a local community. Modern librarians curate local information and disseminate it to a foreign community. The flow of information has flipped.

Opportunities for African libraries

African libraries have been slow to embrace this evolution. There are twice as many repositories in Asia as there are in Africa, and ten times as many in Europe. But the continent is slowly gaining ground.

The University of Cape Town is the first in Africa to offer a Masters of Philosophy in Digital Curation. Early in 2015, the University of Pretoria opened up a makerspace, the first educational one on the continent.

The altered role of libraries is a great opportunity to showcase African knowledge. Getting information into the world is easier and cheaper than ever. African libraries need to take up the responsibility of being partners in information creation.

This means that policies must be altered – and, of course, that budgets must be increased. University leaders, decision makers, governments and library users need to understand and support the changes that are reshaping libraries.

Librarians, too, must embrace these changes. They will require new skills to support the creation of information. Many library schools are already responding to these new needs by offering advanced degrees in digital curation.

It will be also be important to reconsider the very physical space of a library. Paper-and-glue book collections are shrinking and, in some libraries, disappearing. These collections have long been the symbol of quiet thinking. Will libraries still be silent spaces of learning without them? How will libraries retain their users’ trust if they are turned into cool cybercafés?

These are some of the tough questions that librarians must answer if they expect their funding to continue and to rise – and if they want to remain relevant well into the future.

By Lara Skelly,  Librarian at the CPUT Libraries

First published in The Conversation at http://theconversation.com/african-libraries-that-adapt-can-take-the-continents-knowledge-to-the-world-46044

Accessibility first

Thanks to an innovative lift solution, students and staff members living with disabilities will have improved access to the Bellville Campus library.

Earlier this month, the Library launched its new lift, which was installed over the winter break.

Library Branch Manager, Regina Sikhosana, says previously students and staff shared the goods lift used by library staff members.

“Now they will have access to a dedicated lift,” says Sikhosana, who along with her colleagues, Dr Mike Moll and Elvira Lottering drove the project, with the assistance of the Disability Unit.

Installed by the company Jessen, the lift is an innovative solution to addressing accessibility.

Unlike traditional lifts that come with a high price tag, the lift is cost-effective and easy to install. It features its own lift shaft, thus there is no need for major excavation work and the construction of a costly concrete lift shaft.

Managing Director of Jessen, Martin Jessen, says conventional lifts take up to two months to install, whereas fitment for these types of lifts are completed within two weeks.

The lift is also easy on the eye, featuring glass and steel panels. It is also easy to use, providing users with access to a range of automated features.

Director of CPUT Libraries, Dr Elisha Chiware, says accessibility is important at CPUT and that they are pleased that the Library is now accessible to all students as well as staff.

Chiware also thanked the university’s Executive Management for supporting this project.

A similar lift will be installed later this year at the Granger Bay Campus.


Read your favourite publication online

CPUT staff and students now have online access to 5 500 local and international newspapers and magazines.

Earlier this month, the CPUT libraries added PressReader to their online database of service providers.

PressReader is the world’s largest database of online newspapers and magazines and currently there are over 8 400 PressReader hotspots where access is sponsored by businesses, libraries, airlines, cruise liners and hotels.

Marketing Librarian Hillary Hartle says PressReader is a popular digital database that is currently being used by a number of higher education institutions.

Currently PressReader provides access to 157 of South Africa’s most popular newspapers and magazines.

Hartle says the website is easy to navigate and can be customized by users choosing sections of their favourite publications or following others.

The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store or the PressReader website.CPUT staff and students can access PressReader via the CPUT website using their CPUT log on details. Once logged in, users have various options, from accessing their favourite local newspapers to international magazines.


To access PressReader see:


To access a quick guide on how to make use of PressReader see:








Library website redesign pays off

Technology can help us keep things simple, and in the case of the CPUT Libraries website, simple has proven better.

An increase in the use of e-books coupled with results of a student survey indicating a move towards online interaction with the library sparked the redesign of the official library website, which has proved a huge success.

Annually the old site received up to 450 000 hits, but over a period of just three months the new libraries website has already received a total of 170 000 hits.

“Websites must be simple and easy to access and navigate,” says Lovemore Nalube, head of the ICT Innovation and Development Unit, who worked alongside Marketing Librarian, Hillary Hartle, to ensure a more user friendly site.

As part of the redesign, Nalube says they grouped information together according to users needs, simplified search capabilities, introduced concise navigation and improved on the entire look and feel of the website.

They also streamlined users interaction with the website, ensuring that users follow the same procedure to access information, whether at campus or from home.

Hartle says the revamped site addresses their user’s needs, which was highlighted in the student survey conducted in 2015.

In the survey students were asked what library services they would like to access via mobile devices.

Hartle says 70% indicated that they would like online access to library guides and academic papers, 79% wanted to renew books online, while 78% indicated they would prefer an online request system for a library item.  Results also showed that 65% wanted to have access to online notes and 63% indicated a need to access online training sessions or podcast.

Hartle says the current number of hits far indicate a huge step in the right direction and like all websites, it will continue to grow and improve with emphasis on user needs.

To access the new CPUT Libraries website, go to: www.cput.ac.za/lib

To share your view of the new website, go to: http://www.cput.ac.za/lib/about/improve










Library Makeover

CPUT is on track with its plans to deliver a state-of-the-art library facility at the Wellington Campus.

Construction work on the outdated library building commenced last year and over the past months it has morphed into an impressive two-storey modern structure, which is set to become the hub of the Wellington Campus.

The construction work entailed the removal of the roof of the old library building as well as a rear extension, which is connected via a walkway to the new student centre and the rest of the campus.

Library Manager of the Faculty of Education, Petro Coreejes-Brink says on completion, the multi-million rand facility will feature study pods, a media production office that will provide students with access to technology, as well as a new home for the Disability Unit.

One of the main features of the new library will be a model school library, which will be used for training purposes by the Faculty of Education, which houses the largest number of students on the campus.

“The students will be able to bring learners to the library and do practice teaching at campus,” says Coreejes-Brink.

Coreejes-Brink says the library has been designed to be much more user friendly than the former space, with a focus on more workspace for students and group work areas, as well as a lift and walkways to ensure easy access to the facility.

The library will open its doors at the start of the second term in July.


*Other major projects are the construction of a multi-million rand Agriculture centre, which includes the restoration of a heritage building at the campus, as well as the construction of a new home for the Chemical Engineering Department on the Bellville Campus



Promoting information literacy

Second-year Marketing students are doing their bit to promote the CPUT Libraries’ Information Literacy programme.

The Marketing Department recently teamed up with CPUT Libraries and together rolled out a poster marketing campaign, which tasked students to design and produce posters that will create awareness and promote the Information Literacy programme.

The students created first class posters, which were displayed in the Cape Town Campus Library over a period of one month.

Library patrons were then tasked to vote for their favourite poster. The posters were assessed for visual appeal, originality and their Information Literacy message.

Laeticia Hendjepizo (poster title “Mr Bean”) was announced as the overall winner, Saskia Schuldig (“Empty Book”) was second, and Vanessa Pretorius (“Burger”) took third place.

Speaking at a prize giving ceremony, Director of CPUT Libraries, Dr Elisha Chiware commended the students for articulately expressing the content of their posters and added that their work contributes to CPUT’s good standing in information literacy at an international level.

He says such creative ways of promoting information literacy ensure that the library is taken into the student space.

The winning posters can be viewed at the CPUT Library on the Cape Town Campus.

Navigating the library made easy

Navigating through the CPUT Libraries’ 22 919 e-books, 43 Elsevier e-text books as well as 100 databases will no longer be a daunting task for students.

Recently, the CPUT Libraries hosted a two-day Electronic Resources Fair which aimed at showing students just how easy it is to access the university’s vast digital resources.

Second-year Industrial Engineering student, Sikho Mfazwe, attended the event along with several of his classmates, and says he is now better equipped to find information for class projects.

“I learnt how to do searches for books and I know what a catalogue is,” says Sikho.

“I never made much use of the library last year, but this year I will need to use the library much more.”

Third-year Mathematical Technology student, Phiko Jwacu attended the Bellville leg of the fair and says it is a good initiative to show students how to make use of the libraries’ resources.

“I found the programmes very useful and can see that I will be able to access a lot of reliable information,” says Phiko.


Senior Librarian at the Cape Town Campus, Sulaiman Majal, says staff members were very excited about the project and the opportunity to show students the resources that are available 24/7.

Majal says such interventions will go a long way towards improving students’ work by providing them with the tools to access information they need for assignments and research.

Majal says all the faculties were represented at the fair, which took place on the Cape Town and Bellville Campuses, where students were able to interact with their faculty librarians.

Vendors Cambridge University Press, SABINET and Books 24/7 also showcased their offerings at the event.

*A special thanks to the CPUT Advancement Office, Red Pepper Books Company and Emerald, for donating prizes for both staff and students.


Electronics Resources Fair

To showcase the comprehensive electronic resources available to students and staff members, CPUT Libraries will host the Electronics Resources Fair in May.

The event is aimed at ensuring students and staff members make use of the university’s vast digital resources, which includes 22 919 e-books, 43 Elsevier e-text books as well as 31 platforms which provide access to a total of 100 databases that includes numerous e-journals.

Marketing Officer for CPUT Libraries, Hillary Hartle says librarians will demonstrate how to access and navigate the various electronic resources.

Several vendors will also showcase their electronic resources.

Hartle says they want to increase the usage and awareness of the electronic resources because of the benefits it holds for students and staff members.

Electronic resources are available 24/7, can be accessed from any location where  staff and students have access to the internet and provides access to information needed for  research papers, course work and enjoyment .

The Electronics Resources Fair will take place from 9am – 3pm on the following dates:

  • 5 May: Cape Town Campus, Administration Building, second floor
  • 6 May: Bellville Campus, Library, atrium

Wellington library makeover

The Wellington Campus library remodel is officially underway.

At the start of February contractors began the massive task of removing the library’s roof and demolishing part of the outdated building.

The new library, which will be built on the existing site, will be a state-of-the-art modern structure featuring a walkway that that will connect it to the adjacent buildings and a brand new student centre.

Education is the flagship programme offered at the campus and the library has been customized to facilitate the faculty’s learning and teaching programme.

IMPRESSIVE: Architectural drawings of the new library

IMPRESSIVE: Architectural drawings of the new library

On completion, the library will feature a model school library as well as interactive teaching spaces that will allow teaching practice to take place at the campus.

The new facilitaty will also be user friendly, with student pods situated throughout and shelves placed at strategic points to absorb noise.

A permanent home for the Disability Unit has been incorporated in the design as well as a lift and ramps to cater for students living with disabilities.

The new library is earmarked to open at the start of the 2016 academic year.