Archive for October, 2010

In support of Open Access Week the Library and Information Service at Stellenbosch University (SU) hosted a virtual seminar on Open Access to Information on the 20th October 2010. Various aspects of open access were discussed including publishing in an open access journal, the use of open access software, and open access from a researcher’s perspective. To demonstrate its commitment to sharing knowledge and research with the world, Stellenbosch University became the first African University to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in Sciences and Humanities. The signing took place during the event.

The presentations are available online from the Stellenbosch institutional research repository, SUNScholar:

Related blog: Experts give open access the green light

 Photo By goXunuReviews/Courtesy Flickr

Photo By goXunuReviews/Courtesy Flickr

One of my favourite pastimes is trawling the bookshops to see what’s new and interesting on the shelves. Of course I eventually succumb and end up purchasing more to add to the growing pile on my night stand. I can be labelled a bibliophile - there’s nothing more satisfying than relaxing on a rainy afternoon with a novel. But with our hectic lifestyles there’s something to be said about the convenience of an e-reader and having access to a whole library of digital books that can be read anywhere and at any time (on a plane, in the bath!). It seems that the burgeoning digital book market is giving traditional book sellers a run for their money. According to a recent article by Victor Keegan in the Mail & Guardian online, Amazon’s Kindle e-reader holds the biggest share when it comes to the percentage of digital books sold. The Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are worthy competitors. The article states that Amazon has also ventured into making audio and video books available. Apparently there are others who are keen to be part of the race and have developed some interesting alternatives in making books accessible in digital form. Keegan reassures us that “…the product itself - the book - is not threatened, only the way it it is read”. There’s a book revolution out there and it’s up to us as readers to decide what the future may hold.

Reference: Keegan, V. (October 26, 2010). Who will control the future of books. Mail and Guardian online.

Read the full article at:

Frank Talk was the pseudonym used by Steve Biko to write articles, many of which were later published in a periodical called Frank Talk. This was first published in 1984 and was committed to a theoretical vision of a Black Consciusness ideology. All issues are available online from the DISA website here. Several issues were banned for distribution, at the time, in terms of government legislation but were later unbanned.

The Steve Biko Foundation is commemorating the banning of several Black Consciousness Organisations which took place 33 years ago. They are hosting an event to facilitate dialogue about the roles, rights and responsibilities of the media. The invitation to attend is below. More information is available from



DISA recently hosted another intern - this time from the African Union (AU) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Stephen Mayega is a cataloguer in the AU Archives and the purpose of his internship was to better understand the digital cycle of creating, managing and preserving digital data. The African Union has a large collection of AU reports going back to the 1960’s and their aim is to digitise and make these available to all their members through their website.


Stephen Mayega

All AU reports are published in 4 languages, English, Portugese, French and Arabic. This provides challenges for content management and creation of metadata. The ability to create metadata once, in English, with translation into the other languages would be a huge time saver. Drupal, with its powerful taxonomy module, was demonstrated to Stephen, as an extensible and scaleable content management system. In addition Drupal is able to operate in mutiple languages simultaneously - a really important consideration for a multi-language collection.  The entire process of digitisation, including hardware and software requirements, were covered in a week of intensive theory and practical exercises.

Stephen’s internship was sponsored by the American Embassy Mission to the African Union Commission.