Access to open educational resources, including access to open textbooks, is critical to supporting students and lecturers during remote online learning. A comprehensive list of over 80 million open resources has been compiled, consisting of subjects across the different disciplines. These free scholarly resources can be read whilst online or downloaded to view offline (with no internet), on different kind of devices, including a mobile phone.
Despite Wikipedia being the “largest and most popular general reference work” on the internet and “the fifth most popular site in overall global web traffic”, the focus in academia is often only on the cons of using the online resource. But UCT Libraries made a case for why Wikipedia should be incorporated into teaching and learning, during the University of Cape Town’s first virtual Teaching and Learning Conference 2020 from 18 to 23 September.
Ex Libris Press Release: Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is pleased to announce that the University of Cape Town (UCT) Libraries in South Africa have selected the Ex Libris Leganto® course reading list solution and have begun the rollout of Leganto to academic staff. Leganto is integrated with the Ex Libris Alma® library services platform and Ex Libris Primo® discovery and delivery tool.
In celebration of the National Book Week which coincides with the International Literacy Day, Rare Books Librarian in Special Collections, Thundeza Mafungwa, highlights the importance of literacy for children in every language, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which “created a disruption in literacy and learning throughout the world as schools and libraries had to be closed for a length of time. Literacy gaps that existed prior to the pandemic were exacerbated.”
UCT Libraries pays tribute to Achmat Dangor, a South African author and political activist. His most notable works were the novels Kafka's Curse and Bitter Fruit and also authored two collections of poetry, a novella and a short story collection.
I started out loving lockdown. Early morning meetings in bed when it's the middle of winter and pouring with rain? Wonderful. No constant interruptions from users? Fantastic! Constant interruptions from three cats and the elderly neighbour? Less than ideal. At least user requests are interesting.
Dealing with reference inquiries regarding archival material remained a significant part of my Special Collections work. While lack of access to physical sources poses difficulties for both staff and users, I have found it motivating in the changed circumstances of lockdown to maintain a professional standard in providing prompt responses, information and guidance, and seeking alternative sources from our own digital holdings and elsewhere.
In an age of fake news and solipsistic world views, it is this legacy of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and his commitment to truth as an unfettered doctrine for democracy that we choose to honour on Mandela Day in 2020.
In response to the disruption caused by COVID-19, many publishers have given us temporary access to their resources. Links to these resources are active in Primo, and/or accessible on the Databases A-Z list on the website.
As a result of the global outbreak of COVID-19, many are struggling to adjust to what will be our “new normal” for the foreseeable future: social distancing (or social solidarity), self-isolation, quarantine and, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent address, a 21-day nationwide lockdown.
An updated edition of the Guide to the Manuscripts in the UCT Libraries has been published and is accessible on the Special Collections website. The Guide provides a synoptic collection-level overview of the manuscript and archival holdings of UCT Libraries’ Special Collections.