Information Science personnel presents at LIASA 2022 conference

Posted on October 18, 2022

This year the Library Association of South Africa (LIASA) hosted the Standing Conference of Eastern Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL) Conference. This conference was also an opportunity to celebrate LIASA’s 25 years of existence.

Several Information Science personnel presented at the conference. Please read their respective abstracts below:

Beyond Scholarly Communications: The Role of Open Access in Facilitating Digital Preservation by Paul Laughton and Daniel Alemneh

Ensuring long-term access to digital information resources is one of the key challenges facing cultural heritage intuitions today. According to the UNESCO’s Charter for the Preservation of Digital Heritage, resources of human knowledge or expression, whether cultural, educational, scientific and administrative, or embracing technical, legal, medical and other kinds of information, are increasingly created digitally, or converted into digital form from existing analogue resources (UNESCO, 2021). This need for sustainable digital preservation has driven much development and research. The open access movement has seen much progress in the last two decades and is considered to be a global trend that is gaining momentum (Zhang, Wei, Huang & Sivertsen, 2022). The shift in the way citizens access information through the increasing volume of open access content comes with the need for changes in the way publishers distribute, collate, fund and preserve these publications. This presentation seeks to identify the impact that open access has had on digital preservation. While the benefit of open access in facilitating scholarly communications have been well researched, its role in facilitating digital preservation activities have not been adequately examined. This presentation discusses the multi-faceted issues related to digital preservation and the efforts being made to ensure the long-term access and preservation of various digital information resources in general. In particular, it demonstrates the potential role of open access in facilitating the preservation activities in the context of cultural heritage institutions.

Addressing hearing impaired marginalization: opportunities for libraries from an information behaviour and information ethics perspective by Naailah Parbhoo-Ebrahim, Ina Fourie and Marlene Holmner

Equity, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility (EDIA) require that marginalised groups are not excluded from opportunities to access, interact with, use and share information. People with hearing, speech and visual impairment(s) are a core concern for EDIA. Although efforts by libraries to address disability marginalisation have been reported, deeper understanding is required. Serving the needs of people with hearing and speech impairment in particular are under studied (Getts & Stewart 2018; Jeal, Roper & Ansell 1996). Information Ethics and Information Behaviour can reveal opportunities for libraries to contribute e.g. through theories such as information poverty, small worlds, and information horizons (Haider & Bawden 2007; Sonnenwald, Wildemuth & Harmon 2001).

Information Ethics has philosophical roots related to classical ethics and environments that Floridi (1991:1) labels as “infosphere[s]” and to applied ethics concerned with information communication technology (ICT) and connectedness to information worlds and information systems (Burgess & Knox 2019:4). A core component is equal access to information and information sharing (i.e., giving and receiving information; participating in information interactions) (Hansen, Fourie & Meyer 2021). Information Behaviour is the comprehensive term for information-related activities and encounters, including information seeking, searching, browsing, recognising and expressing information needs, information encountering, avoidance and use (Fourie & Julien, 2014). Information Behaviour research informs information provision and services; Information Ethics guides fairness, equality and equity.

The intention of the viewpoint is to open discussion on roles that libraries can take to address challenges experienced by people with hearing impairment. The presentation will briefly sketch the lack of research on hearing impairment from a library perspective and the value that information ethics and information behaviour can offer as frameworks for further discussion and initiatives e.g. from theoretical perspectives, participatory design, collaborative discussion spaces and action research.


How can interdisciplinary research on informal transportation information needs and behaviour enable libraries to Relief commuter hardships? By Ina Fourie, Christo Venter, Paul Mukwaya, Chantal Lailvaux, Louise Ribet, Genevivie Ankunda, Lesedi Mokoma and Savannah Harvett


Libraries deeply commit to serving local communities and society at large and to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA). COVID-19 heightened the plight to address everyday life information needs and seeking (ELIS) envisioned by Savolainen (1995) as way and mastery of life ‒ often associate with daily hardships. Millions of people in poorer socio-economic countries in Latin-America, Asia, Oceania and Africa depend on public and mostly informal transportation e.g. minibus-taxis (South Africa) and Boda-Boda motorcycle Uber services (Uganda). Insights from an interdisciplinary (Information Science, Civil Transport, Geography/Geo-Informatics and transport industry) mixed-method study can inspire library involvement aligning with commitments to ReImagine and RePurpose libraries and ReDiscovering opportunities extending libraries’ reach and partnerships to ReLief daily hardships.


The study inspiring this viewpoint proposal stems from a South African/ Uganda project exploring contextualised, lived experiences, information needs and information behaviour of commuters of informal transportation e.g. minibus-taxis. The project includes a scoping literature review (Howe 2021; Vilakazi & Govender 2014); prior transport research experience by the team; digital diaries on transport mobility behaviour; photovoice methodology collecting photos and voice messages on journey experiences; information horizon interviews collection verbal and visual information on information needs; typical information sources and barriers to information. The methodology and findings are not covered; the focus is on opportunities for library involvement in initiatives for informal transportation information provision and efforts to address the digital divide, digital training involving communities and awareness of information poverty, small worlds and information grounds that are prominent in the lives of citizens from poorer communities (Chatman 1987; Detlor, Julien, La Rose & Serenko 2022; Haider & Bawden, 2007; Sonnenwald, Wildemuth & Harmon 2001).

- Author Anneke Nel

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2023. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal

To contact the University during the COVID-19 lockdown, please send an email to [email protected]

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences