Collaboration on LibGuides in public universities in South Africa
This paper uses co-ownership as a proxy for determining the extent of collaboration on LibGuides in public universities in South Africa.
This is a quantitative study that uses webometrics techniques to establish collaboration on LibGuides among librarians in public universities in South Africa. The LibGuide pages of all public universities in the country are visited. Co-ownership of those LibGuides is established by going through the list of co-owners usually situated on the right-hand side menu bar. The data are divided into 16 Excel spreadsheets, each representing a South African public university with LibGuides.
The results show that only 8.1 per cent or 95 of 1,166 LibGuides are co-owned, whereas in 9.4 per cent (109 of 1,166) of LibGuides, the ownership reverts to the host library, as there are no authors indicated. Only 34 of 95 or 35.8 per cent of co-owned LibGuides are cross-campus or inter-campus collaborations suggesting that there is very little cross-pollination of ideas between different campuses of the same universities in South Africa.
This study will lead to a better understanding of the extent of collaboration between librarians in Africa, generally, but specifically in South Africa. In addition, it poses a challenge to library managers to develop strategies that promote and nurture a culture of collaboration between and among librarians to avoid unnecessary duplication. The recommendations of this study can be used to improve collaboration between and among librarians. The biggest limitation of this study is that it did not look into the attitudes, constraints and impediments of collaboration between and among librarians. This area, however, is recommended for further research.
The implication of these results is that there is a duplication of LibGuides, effort and time across different campuses of the same universities, as some universities have a number of LibGuides on the same subject areas across the institutions. There is very little cross-pollination of ideas between various universities as reflected by a lack of inter-university LibGuides in the country.
Duplication of LibGuides does not assist the users as it only adds to the information overload rather than assisting them by streamlining the information.
This study may well be the first study of its nature in the world. It is the view of the authors that this study will not only close the gap in the literature on LibGuides but also explain the use of Web 2.0 tools in libraries in developing countries as collaboration tools. It will add another perspective to the discourse about the collaboration in library and information science generally. This paper may lead to further research on the collaboration efforts of practising librarians.