Research day 2019 at Mafikeng


On the 26th of April 2019, the library was part of Research Day, an event organised by NWU, held at the Mmabatho Convention Centre (MCC). The theme of the day was: Benefiting society through knowledge: research for socio-economic advancement. The library was invited as a research partner to showcase the innovative ways in which it supports research. There were several stalls at the MCC from various departments and entities of the university that showcase ways in which they support research. The library stall was furnished with posters on EndNote, ORCID, as well as an array of leading research books that are available in the library. On the day, the librarians also assisted researchers with creating and checking their ORCID status. The LIS Postgraduate Support brochure was distributed, together with other promotional materials. This was also an opportunity to promote an author workshop to be presented by Emerald and WWIS on the 3rd of May 2019.


Many researchers were not aware of the LIS services and research resources.  The response of researchers and the university community was positive and this was indeed another good example of how the library is a collaborator in the research community.

Boitumelo Masilo (Faculty Librarian: Humanities & Theology, Mafikeng)


Opening of the Mafikeng Library Research Commons.

The Research Commons at the Mafikeng library was officially opened on 7 December 2017.

The unveiling of the plaque by Dr Mathew Moyo and Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa (on behalf of Prof Dan Kgwadi)

In his speech, the LIS Chief Director, Dr Mathew Moyo described the research commons as a dedicated scholarly place for use by students at postgraduate level and researches. He stated that the first research commons was established in the early 90’s in America.  South Africa followed in 2008 at UCT, Wits and UKZN, followed by UP, Rhodes and Stellenbosch in 2010.  NWU opened its first research commons in 2014 at the Potchefstroom library, followed shortly by the Vaal library.

Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, DVC of Mafikeng Campus saluted the NWU LIS team for this milestone.  She welcomed this space as researchers need a secluded area for research.  This commons will add to the quality of research.  She challenged the LIS staff to see this as an opportunity to proceed with postgraduate studies.

LIS staff members attending the opening of the Research Commons

The deputy chairperson of the SSC gave a motivating and compelling speech in which he highlighted the transformational direction that the library is taking. He stated that he believed the number of researchers in the institutions will increase and through its output, new frontiers will be reached.

The research commons comprises of a senior and junior commons. The senior commons gives access to masters and doctoral students, as well as researchers; whilst the junior commons caters for the honours students.

The senior research commons has 64 workstations, a kitchenette, as well as two discussion rooms.  The junior research section has 34 workstations as well as a discussion room.

The facility also has a boardroom which may be booked subject to availability.

All the workstations are wheelchair accessible.

A postgraduate student at work in the Research Commons

The changing role of Libraries

On 14 June 2017 Ms Zine Sapula and Mr Louw Venter attended a UniVen eScience benchmarking visit to speak about the role that NWU libraries are playing to support and enable research in eScience enabled institution. Ms Sapula gave a presentation which touched on the trends in the library environment, current practices at the NWU libraries, reskilling of librarians and the library as research enabler and partner in eScience.


The format of the event was a round table discussion with attendees asking questions during the presentation. Questions of interest were:

  • Where are the overlaps between the Library and the Research Office?
  • What is the work-flow for getting items (ETDs) to the Library (for repository)?
  • How does NWU library support Postgraduate students?
  • How many computers does the library have for Postgraduate students?
  • How does the library provide access to e-resources to off-campus students? Are there any passwords?

Topics which arose from the conversation was:

  • Funders requirements / Open access policies
  • ORCiD

Article written by: Zine Sapula & Louw Venter

Milestone @ NWU!

We are proud to announce that Boloka (the Open Access Institutional Repository of the NWU) is growing rapidly and this month we have reached a milestone with more than 20 000 items indexed. Thank you to everyone who contributed to Boloka’s success over the years and for making NWU scholarly output visible and searchable to the whole wide world through Open Access.


During the January 2017 “Ranking Web of Repositories”, Boloka was ranked 7th in Africa and 364th in the world.

Maximum exposure increases the impact and enhances the discovery of your research

  • Create an ORCiD, distinguish yourself and your work (NRF prescription)
  • Consider publishing in accredited journals  (Start here)
  • Publish your final accepted version as early as possible – post print (i.e. final draft post refereeing) Send these versions to your Faculty Librarians to be included in Boloka
    (NRF prescription)
  • Retain your self-archiving rights or
  • Check publishers’ policies on copyright and self-archiving
  • Share: Inform colleagues and engage in social networking communities
  • Create an online profile (Google Scholar Citations)  (see: NWU on GSC)
  • Remember to keep your datasets or post to platforms for storage

…early deposits of full text on Boloka enhance early discovery through Google…  


Communities in (Boloka) NWU-IR
Africana Collection [350]
Conference Papers [345]
Theses and Dissertations [8580]
Inaugural Lectures [292]
Research Output [7546]

Research Directors Forum

Library support throughout the Research Cycle

The Library Services (Potch Campus) took part in the Research Directors Forum held on 22 September at the Sports Village. Louise Vos, Manager: Marketing, Liaison and Quality gave a presentation on Library support throughout the Research Cycle.

She explained how the Library Services support the research process with relevant services, information resources, research tools and facilities.

Research Cycle


With reference to this design, she showed that tradionally the Library played a major role in the pre-publication phase, especially during the Gathering Phase. The library now also plays a very prominent role in the post-publication phase, especially regarding the preservation, measurement and enhancement of visibility and impact.

Regarding the Preservation Phase, the Library is responsible for Boloka, the Institutional Repository where NWU research output is centrally preserved, indexed and made visible. As the Institutional Repository is visible within Google and GoogleScholar, it contributes directly to a higher webometrics ranking for NWU, currently ranked 7th amongst Institutions in Africa. The role of the Library in Research Data Management was explained. Together with eResearch and IT Services, the Libraries of the NWU are currently involved in Research Data Management. This initiative requires collaboration and a task team was formed over all 3 campuses.

She mentioned that all three campus libraries are involved in arrangements for Open Access Week during 24 – 28 October. Postgraduates and researchers can look forward to sessions about Boloka, PER Open Access Law Journal, ORCID. Representatives from the NRF and ASSAf will also do presentations. All sessions will be shared among the three campuses via Adobe Connect web conferencing software.

Feedback was given on the Research Commons, as this space was discussed at an earlier Research Directors Forum in 2013 when the space was still in development. The directors then gave their input and recommendations regarding facilities and necessary software.
It was reported that this is a prime space and very popular amongst postgraduates, researchers and also visiting academic staff. The number of visits for this year is 27027, with 1038 unique entries.

Article written by Louise Vos

What Social Media can do for researchers?

By Zine Sapula

social-media[Picture source:]


We cannot ignore the impact of social media in the research process. It has become a place where current topics are being shared and debated. An individual connects to twitter, Facebook or any LinkedIn etc. to keep up to date with things that are happening around the world and field of interest. Information available on these platforms help a researcher to get ideas of the new research project or it shapes how one thinks of a certain topic. It is evident that social media is here to transform how we seek and retrieve information. Typical example, most times print news are old news, by the time printed media reaches stores people are already informed via social media and other online platforms.


Social media can be used to increase researcher’s scholarly activity online. Research landscape is evolving, therefore researchers must get on the bandwagon and be where knowledge seekers are. Social media buzz provides researchers with an opportunity to expand ways of distributing research output. They must use social media as a complementary channel to traditional ones to disseminate and reach out to the wider audience. Although social media has its own disadvantages but researchers should start thinking about the benefits of using these tools to promote their publications and increase their online visibility.


Knowledge economy promotes and encourages research collaboration, knowledge transfer and sharing of ideas amongst researchers at home institutions, nationally and internationally. In this case, social media are used to connect and to find collaborators globally at the comfort of the researcher’s space. Also, it facilitates collaboration and communication processes between spatially separated groups and nations (Bastalich 2010)


Some researchers already have social media such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, google plus, LinkedIn, Academic edu, research gate or any other social media but they do not use these accounts for scholarly communication. Lack of time should not be an excuse for not promoting research work on these platforms. Time can be made, if a researcher uses Facebook or twitter or WhatsApp for his personal communication then there’s enough time to use social media for scholarly communication, and to connect and network with experts within the research field. So much has been written on how to and why you have to use social media for research purposes. Professor Waldo Krugell (2013a) of NWU School of Economics gives a very interesting overview of how social media can benefit your research.


Blogging allows a researcher to post topics of his research interests, conference experiences and it gives followers an advantage to respond or debate issues. It may be subject specific or generic about things that interest the researcher. Actually, I find blogging as another way of transferring tacit knowledge to the next person as it allows your follows to and fro conversation. Some people find it time consuming as it requires one to keep on communicating with the followers. This insight is very helpful to start going with blogging (Dunleavy, 2016) how you can use time to write a blogpost from journal article .

Alternative social media can be used such as Twitter which has 140 characters and it’s not necessary to use all characters but a link to the publication is sufficient. Twitter allows one to add links to resources, publications, news, audio visual etc. So much can be done to twitter to bring the followers up-to-date. A researcher can #hashtag the conference proceedings and link his conference paper with a #hashtag so it can be easily retrieved. If updating all the social media accounts is a nuisance you may decide to update one account and link all accounts to one or share your post from one account to other accounts. Example, if you have a blog, any published post on the blog can be shared with all other accounts.

A conference paper uploaded on slide share, research gate, LinkedIn etc. a researcher gains metrics for the likes and shares, downloads etc. The competition is very high in research, it’s either you publish or perish, nonetheless (Krugell, 2013b) in his paper “Publish or Perish – can social media save your life?” provides why researcher’s should consider using social media in their life time.

Traditional ways of publishing are no longer the only way to gain impact, social media provides alternative metrics (Almetrics) which measure the mentions on mass media, shares, clicks views, saves, and downloads etc. on social media which increases the impact. Researcher can use Impactstory to track where the researcher has been cited or mentioned, saved, downloads viewed, etc.


Bastalich, W.  2010.  Knowledge economy and research innovation.  Studies in higher education, 35(7):845-857.

Dunleavy, P.  2016.  How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps.  Date of access: 07 Sept 2016.

Krugell, W.F.  2013a.  Chalk dust to star dust – How social media can benefit your research.  Date of access: 07 Sept. 2016.

Krugell, W.F.  2013b.  Publish or Perish – can social media save your life. Date of access: 07 Sept. 2016.

NWU Libraries research week

NWU libraries (Potch campus) held a research week on 15-19 August 2016.  The aim of the research week was to develop the capabilities of researchers and postgraduate students in their research journey and to promote the research support services available within the University.

Facilitators from the writing lab, copyright office, e-research, and library conducted hands-on workshops and information sharing sessions. Experienced researchers shared their topics of interest to build capacity of the 21st century researcher. Researchers and postgraduate students got an opportunity to debate research issues on the topics presented. The attendees proposed that similar sessions and workshops should be presented throughout the year. However, we have sessions such as EndNote, citing and referencing, MS Word Postgraduate templates which are conducted every month.  Our aim is to support researchers whenever there’s a need, therefore the proposed matter will be taken into consideration.



Research week highlights:

  • Use of social media in research
  • Creating alerts in your field of interest (RSS feeds, email, etc.) from journals, etc.
  • EndNote
  • MS Word Postgraduate Template
  • Research infrastructure
  • Negotiating intellectual identity: What every masters & honours student should know.

Training opportunities can be accessed: Postgraduate Library Training @ Potchefstroom Campus

Article written by: Zine Sapula

Research Data Management: A Collaborative Drive at NWU

On 23 and 24 June 2016 colleagues from the NWU attended a Research Data Management (RDM) workshop held at the Potchefstroom Campus. The 35 participants hailed from Information Technology, the NWU Libraries, the Research Support Office, and from a variety of research areas. All three campuses were well-represented.

This event was the first official institutional RDM workshop at the NWU and forms part of the larger NWU RDM initiative as announced by Prof Frik van Niekerk, DVC for Research, Innovation, and Technology in May 2016.

Martie van Deventer and Lucia Lotter from the Network for Data and Information Curation Communities (NeDICC) were the facilitators and focussed on the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of RDM. The event was characterised by lively discussions between the various entities represented.  Throughout the two days participants had the opportunity to work through several exercises and tools; some developed by Digital Curation Centre (DCC). These exercises allowed the benchmarking of current policies, practices and infrastructure supporting RDM at NWU.

RDM_ A_Collaborative_Drive_at_NWU2

A conclusion which everyone came to at the end of the workshop, was that RDM will require significant collaboration between IT, Libraries, and the Research Support Office, as well as the researchers who will need to manage their data.

One of the recommendations from the workshop was that a small RDM task team should be established to connect with various research environments to gather more information about their requirements, challenges, existing skills, and workflows. A task team consisting of Zine Sapula (Potchefstroom Libraries), Ishe Muzvondiwa (Vaal Triangle Libraries), Sabelo Chizwina (Mafikeng Libraries), Martin Dreyer (Information Technology), and Anelda van der Walt (eResearch) has now been established.

Over the next four months the RDM Task Team will be meeting with researchers from various research entities. Throughout the process feedback will be provided to all stakeholders in terms of progress and findings.

For suggestions or questions, please contact


Original article published on the NWU website at:

Library Research Week 15-19 August 2016


The Library Services (Potch Campus) will host a Library Research Week from 15 – 19 August 2016.

The program includes, training opportunities and research workshops. These sessions are aimed at building researcher’s capacity throughout his research.

Venue: Ferdinand Postma Library, Research Commons: Conference room

Please view SCHEDULE and REGISTER to attend:

ORCID Workshop in Pretoria – 19 July 2016

Convened by NRF in partnership with NEDICC and ORCID, the aim of the workshop was to show how ORCID has/can be integrated into the Research Lifecycle. There were many presenters in this workshop but what stood out for us was the presentation by Ms Marie Roux from Stellenbosch University (SU). Her presentation was about how a library has assistance in the integration of ORCID into the University research lifecycle. Marie advises that any university that is thinking of  integrating ORCID into the research lifecycle should involve their IT department from the very beginning for better technical assistance. At SU, assistance with ORCID is seen as a library function and therefore ownership rests with the library.

In terms of promotion of ORCID, SU are using the following methods:

·        ORCID LibGuide.

·        ORCID Workshops – 4 times a year

·        ORCID Information sheet developed

·        ORCID Brochure developed

·        Marketing and promotion of ORCID in the division for research development newsletter – to all researchers on Campus.

Since our University already has a subscription to ORCID it will prudent upon us to adopt some of the strategies to promote ORCID on our respective Campuses. We have an ally in Ms Roux who has offered to share notes with any other university in South Africa that seeks to integrate ORCID into the research lifecycle. The uptake for ORCID at SU has been rather impressive with  at least 24% of academic staff having created profiles so far.


Article written by Siviwe Bangani and Vuyo Ngayeka (seen in photo above).