Moving UCU into digital age
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/03/moving-ucu-into-digital-age/
By Patty Huston-Holm
In the midst of building a library from scratch, Victoria Kalungi, medical and health sciences librarian at the new Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Medicine (Mengo), saw an opportunity to grow both paper and electronic resources not just for the students she serves but the whole university.
Aligned with her passion to help others acquire knowledge and her graduate level work at the South African University of Pretoria, she launched into a study about the challenges and opportunities for increasing UCUresearch access on line. Additionally, her study includes some strategies for getting more UCU student dissertations and theses into electronic form.
Such was the focus of the discussion by two dozen UCU faculty members who convened at the Mukono campus on the last Friday in February. To these colleagues, Kalungi asserted that e-resources “embrace the changing reading culture and information-seeking behavior of library users.”
Pluses with e-resources are: printing cost savings, student access without coming to campus, wider visibility for UCU as research is being used elsewhere and elimination of issues with dust, termites and rats that damage paper-bound copies.
Challenges with e-resources are: widening the knowledge gap between the “haves” with access to the Internet and the “have nots” who can’t afford I-phones and connections; easier theft of author content; and getting traditional faculty and student thinkers to change and be trained to use a new format.
In late February 2019, UCU had more than 600 e-items in its library repository. In addition to theses and dissertations, these include journal articles, public lectures, speeches, books and book chapters and conference articles and proceedings.
Conversation surrounding both printed and electronic versions of research centered around a concern with plagiarism, author- vs. university-owned research, authors guarding their knowledge and the importance of holistic strategies that engage expertise in curriculum, library science and information technology when making change.
“How does Uganda become authenticated in this digital age?” asked Peter Ubomba-Jaswa of the School of Research and Post-Graduate Studies (SRPGS). He added that UCU should do its part in nurturing “fresh thinkers, innocent thinkers” to generate new ideas.
SRPGS Dean Kukunda Elizabeth Bacwayo concluded the session with appreciation to the presenter for “seeking us out for this discussion.”
David Bukenya, UCU’s Deputy Chief University Librarian, was not at the presentation, but he has long been a proponent of digital libraries and open access for improving UCU’s intellectual output, enhancing the institution visibility, attracting funders and preserving information.
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