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Digital Knowledge website to bring international exposure to CPUT academics

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A new website, launched by CPUT Libraries will help the institution’s staff and students find an international audience for their research papers, presentations and theses.

The site, known as Digital Knowledge, was launched on 22 September 2009. It includes facilities that allow any staff member or student to upload items to an online library of academic work. The site is searchable via Google and Google Scholar, enabling academics from Universities around the world to access CPUT research output.

Welcoming guests to the Digital Knowledge launch event, CPUT Libraries Director Dr Elisha Chiware described the historical role of libraries as a centre for storing and organising works and looked at the various methods libraries have used over the centuries to accomplish this purpose –from indexes to abstracts to today’s online search engines.

He drew attention to modern society’s demand for immediate access to information and stated that web presence is becoming a key factor in rating academic institutions.

“Through the Digital Knowledge platform, CPUT will not only increase its web presence but will also attract top academic staff,” he said.

CPUT Vice Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, also addressing the audience at the event, took the opportunity to formally welcome Dr Chiware, who joined CPUT as Library Director earlier this year.

She said she was elated with the development of the new site and thanked senior library staff for their hard work in bring the project to fruition.

The Digital Knowledge site is hosted by USA-based online publisher Berkely Electronic Press and uses the organisation’s Digital Commons platform. Other institutions with research repositories based on Digital Commons include Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon Universities in the USA, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, and Bond University, Australia.

CPUT Libraries signed a three-year hosting contract with Berkely Electronic Press in January 2009 and worked in conjunction with the company to develop the repository according to CPUT’s needs.

Library staff member Deborah Becker served as Project Co-ordinator with Imraan Baderoen assisting with information uploads.

Several staff members and students have already uploaded their work to Digital Knowledge and have witnessed a rapid turnaround in international interest. A thesis on Managing Absenteeism written by Library Staff member Janine Lockhart was recently uploaded to the site and was downloaded 53 times within a two-and-a-half week period.

Staff, students and other users can access and contribute to the Digital Knowledge site by clicking the Digital Knowledge button on the CPUT Libraries web page, or by visiting http://dk.cput.ac.za

By Ilana Abratt

Photograph: (top) Attending the launch of Digital Knowledge were CPUT Libraries staff member Michael Smith, Libraries Director Dr Elisha Chiware, Digital Knowledge Co-ordinator Deborah Becker, CPUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships Dr Chris Nhlapo and CPUT Libraries staff members Michiel Moll and Janine Lockhart. (lower left) Part of a screen shot from Digital Knowledge (lower right) The CPUT Libraries home page