The main activities of this year’s Open Access Week included exhibition of Open Access promotional material as well as Open Source Software which is being used by NUST Library, Information Literacy Skills sessions focusing on Open Access resources, competitions, a Public Lecture on Open Access, Launching of the University Institutional Repository, and the signing of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities by the Vice Chancellor.
Assistant Librarians took turns in conducting Information Literacy Skills training focusing on Open Access resources throughout the week. The training sessions were conducted in the Library’s e-Resources centre and were attended by over 200 students. Students were made aware of the training sessions through the Library’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/NUST-Library-Zimbabwe/125582017525621), flyers, and posters. Details about the Open Access week event were also posted on the Library website (http://library.nust.ac.zw).
The training sessions were conducted twice each day in order to accommodate as many students as possible. Students were introduced to the concept of Open Access and its benefits to them in particular. Efforts were made to highlight and demonstrate practically the Open Access resources which the students would be able to utilise in their academic studies. Students were also taught on the use of electronic search tools and techniques such as Boolean operators, phrase searching, truncation, stop words, advance search and relevance sorting in refining and improving search results.
Open Access Week competitions, that were conducted after each training session provided some of the fun-filled moments for students. Students were mainly asked about what they had learned about Open Access during the sessions with reference to particular topics covered. Winners got away with scientific calculators, stationery hampers and cups bearing the Open Access logo. Competitions were also held at the exhibitions stand at the main campus.
Assistant Librarians in their t-shirts bearing the Open Access Logo took turns to man the exhibition stand throughout the week. The stand was rotated to all the Faculties and strategically placed where there was huge student and academic staff traffic. It was also set at the Administration block where it attracted the attention of the Minister of Education, Sport, and Culture, Honorable David Coltart who had come to NUST on some other business. Brochures highlighting Open Access resources tailor made for all the Faculties at NUST were on display. DVDs stuffed with miscellaneous resources including videos which explained the concept of Open Access as well as Open Source Software were also on display and were distributed to both students and academic staff.
Students’ turnout was overwhelming at the Open Access Week exhibition stand. Members of the Open Access team made an effort to explain to each or group of students visiting the stand on the Open Access concept and its benefits. Each student who visited the stand was given a brochure highlighting some of the Open Access resources available for his or her Faculty.
Laptops connected to the internet were also available at the Open Access Week stand and these were used to demonstrate the various Open Access resources available for the students.
The Institutional Repository was successfully Launched by the Vice Chancellor on the 5th of November 2012. A Public Lecture on Open Access was delivered by the Dr.Lawton Hikwa, the Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Science. The Director of Research and Innovation, Professor Yogi Naik also presented on the pros and cons of publishing in Open Access Journals. Furthermore, upon the Vice Chancellor’s invitation Professor Arnold Bray Mashingaidze of the Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology presented a paper on Open Access Publishing for Disseminating Research and Development in Agriculture. A milestone achievement was the signing of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities by the Vice Chancellor Professor L.R. Ndlovu.