Library lands Carnegie deal

07 August 2006

Dr Colin Darch, senior information specialist, Libraries; Geoff Hoy, Deputy Director and ICT manager, Library; and Joan Rapp, Executive Director: Libraries, in the UCT Knowledge Commons.

Earlier this year, the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded UCT, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Witwatersrand a total of US$2.5 million towards projects that would help support the universities' ability to attract, train, retain and promote a new generation of South African researchers.

With support from Dr Geoffry Marks of UCT's Department of Development & Alumni Affairs, the library team fleshed out a joint proposal that was presented to Carnegie in January. Their plan calls for creating a research portal with seamless searching across multiple databases and campuses, access to additional databases, establishing at each institution a "Research Commons" modelled on UCT Libraries' undergraduate Knowledge Commons, and developing a cadre of librarians that will lend specialised research support to postgraduates and young researchers.

"The focus of the proposal is on increasing and enriching library support for researchers in a high-technology environment," said Joan Rapp, Executive Director of UCT Libraries.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has approved the proposal submitted by the UCT, UKZN and Wits for A New Model of Research Support: Integrating Skills, Scholarship and Technology in a South African Library Consortium.

It will take approximately eight months to set up the new portal.

The new Research Commons will be ready at UCT in about 12-15 months.

"As many of the great teachers and scholars at these three universities face retirement, programmes at each university will seek to fill their ranks with young black and female scholars who will be nurtured, mentored and offered incentives to build careers at their home universities," said Dr Narciso Matos, chair of Carnegie Corporation's International Development Programme.

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