Friday, February 26, 2010
ACU Digital Libraries Study for Arcadia Availability of, access to and use of academic resources by researchers in Eastern and Southern Africa
Association of Commonwealth Universities, in collaboration with Arcadia conducted a study to establish usage of e-journals at Chancellor College, University of Malawi.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the use of electronic resources in research and study at University of Malawi, Chancellor College, looking particularly at e-journals, but also at library services more generally. A particular objective was to explore the level and type of research activity at Chancellor College, and the challenges and constraints to this, in order to contextualise e-journal and library use more fully. The case study draws on the comments and experiences of around 53 postgraduates and academics. An initial survey achieved 47 responses, and enabled eight researchers to be identified willing to take part in more in depth observation exercises and group discussions.
A further six interviews were held with senior academics, and additional meetings with library and ICT staff, including the University Librarian and College Principal. A case study visit was undertaken in the week of 25 to 29 August, to work with librarians, meet academic staff and students, and explore facilities first hand.
Similar case studies were conducted in Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.
Librarians from these countries, and top offiecrs from ACU (The Association of Commonwealth Universities Dr John Kirkland, Deputy Secretary-General Mr Jonathan Harle, Programme Officer), NASP Ms Sara Gwynn, Director of Programmes Institute of Development Studies, UK Ms Julie Brittain, Head of British Library of Development Studies The Open University, UK Ms Josephine Burt, Library Business Development Manager.
A personal highlight of the meeting is the revelation from ISI data that instant access to full-text of top 20 journals in the African Universities that participated in the study is comparable to that at University of Bristol and Lund University. Noting from the data, the major problem for African Universities (especially those participating in the INASP/PERii project)is not availability of e-journals. The problems these universities need to address are awareness and infrastructure.