The library is working hard to ensure that most of the library’s resources are available and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The library is working hard to ensure that most of the library’s resources are available and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Most library sites are now available and can be accessed without incurring data costs through https://connect.up.ac.za.
As one of the top university libraries in Africa, with the biggest collection of e-journals and an e-book collection that’s increasingly growing, thanks to the financial support from University Management, we are confident that we will be able to support our community’s information needs during the pandemic and beyond. The library is satisfied that students and staff have been increasingly downloading and accessing online e-books and e-journals.
The library will prioritise the digital curation of most of our university’s research outputs, such as retrospective theses and dissertations. In the meantime, a task team is currently scanning selected book chapters from the Study Collection and other items only available in hard copy format. The on-demand service items will now appear via the popular clickUp app to enable wide access by students. The request for this service has suddenly increased since lockdown. This process of making reading and study material available to students will unlock access to most reserved materials in the library in accordance with the provisions of DALRO and Copyright Act of South Africa, 1978.
Our library commercial partners, booksellers, vendors and publishers have responded positively by providing some items in open access mode in conjunction with HEIs to assist students and researchers worldwide. The South African Licence Consortium (SANLiC) is leading the university libraries to navigate and discuss deals and agreements on e-journal resources. We foresee financial turbulences for the libraries globally, as we adapt and adopt more and more online resources and services. The library may need to seek financial support for more e-resources should the pandemic cause further challenges in regard to the re-opening of the physical spaces.
Meanwhile our goal is to create virtual spaces to replace the learning and research commons in the interim, so that hands-on skills for searching and using tools, often provided by the library, do not disappear owing to obstacles caused by the coronavirus. We have designed flexible digital workshops in this regard. Some of our library users have started using our virtual platforms effectively since we closed the library to cater for level 5 lockdown. We can now attend to all inquiries and individual reference support is available remotely. The information specialists introduced Libguides a while ago, as part of our instructional information resources, and they have refined them to enable users to find many ways of contacting us, such as via Ask a Librarian, Chat to a Librarian, or chatting to the robot librarian, Libby. Since the University launched the first robot librarian in Africa, the library has strategically set up Libby to interact with users, by directing and prompting them to choose simple self-service options that the library has made available to students and staff.
Library Services and Operations
The Department of Library Service’s primary concern is to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. It will maintain close contact with the University’s COVID-19 response team, and adjust its operations as and when needed.
The library’s information specialist will be available remotely to assist faculty staff members to reserve course reading material or to find alternative course content, including openly licensed teaching materials such as Open Educational Resources (OERs).
As the coronavirus continues to rage, the library wishes to draw everyone’s attention to the UP open science agenda. This is supported by our institutional policies such as our Research Data Management policy, open access and the archiving of ETDs and published journal articles in the repository, UPSpace. Our open access policies and the ORCID strategy, which promote researcher and institutional internet visibility as well as research impact should, going forward, be viewed as enablers of open education and research in the digital era. All our academics and researchers should really consider supporting open access and the use of OERs, which have suddenly become vital sources of supplementary academic resources, as they are freely available on the internet, as good educational material. Please find a few examples that DLS has placed on the open resources list: openbooks, Open Textbook library, OER Commons, HathiTrust, and other collections at other various universities and research institutions.
Students and staff who need assistance, here are our contact details:
WhatsApp: +27 66 509 1285
Undergraduate support: [email protected]
Postgraduate support: [email protected]
Open Scholarship Services: [email protected]
Research Data Management: RDM
Also, check out our most FAQ (frequently asked questions) or submit your own question.
We are here for you!
Enquiries can be directed to Elsabé Olivier (email: [email protected]).