Staffing News

New appointments

The Library and information Service welcomes three new members of staff.

Mr Siviwe Bangani was appointed as Director: Research Services in the Library and Information Service, SU, from 1 April 2020. Siviwe previously worked at the North-West University Library and Information Service as a Manager: Information Services (Mafikeng Campus). Siviwe was the 2018 LIASA Librarian of the Year. At the time of joining SU, he was the chair-elect of the LIASA North-West Branch.


Mr Norman Hebler was appointed as Junior Librarian: Information Literacy and Learning Commons with effect from 1 December 2019. Norman is originally from Limpopo and studied at the University of Pretoria for his BA. After working in the UK, he came to Cape Town where he worked in the private sector. Thereafter, he joined Library IT at UCT Libraries where he worked for 10 years before joining SU.

Mr Sarfaraz Mohamed was appointed as Linux Systems Administrator with effect from 1 July 2020. Sarfaraz previously worked in the ICT Division at SU in the Linux Team. He has worked on various projects from SUNLearn to security and vulnerability patching. His role is to manage the Linux infrastructure at the Library and to maintain and improve the overall Linux systems.


We wish Siviwe, Norman, and Sarfaraz well in their roles at the Library.

Elsevier Science Literacy webinar

On Thursday 21 May, Elizabeth Moll-Willard (Faculty Librarian: AgriSciences) presented part of a webinar titled “Setting students up for success with science literacy”. Elizabeth spoke about creating a self-directed course for postgraduate students to equip themselves with essential research and information literacy skills. The course was created with Kathryn Wirth’s input (the Blended Learning Co-ordinator for the AgriSciences faculty) and placed on the SUNLearn postgraduate module. The point of need, standalone course covers the following areas:

  1. Finding information, which covers how to put together search strategies, the different types of databases, and recommending which ones are best to use for quality, peer-reviewed information.
  2. Surviving information overload, which focuses on how to analyse and read articles – using tools such as the basic CRAAP (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose) test as well as an in-depth explanation of how to test for bad science, and then knowing when the point of saturation of knowledge is reached.
  3. Following academic breadcrumbs, which includes searching using citations and reference lists.
  4. Breaking through the reading barrier – which shifts to working with the information, breaking it down into how to skim read, how to map articles by theme or by method, and then reminding students of the importance of doing the test of “does this fit into my research hypothesis”.
  5. Principles of writing – which cover basic technical issues such as what kind of language should be used for writing, all the way to the technical structure of a paragraph (topic sentence, etc.), to an outline of a literature review and what is expected in the different sections. It also covers writing a scientific article, and how that differs from a thesis.

The role of the library in relation to Science Literacy, and specifically the creation of such a course was the main aspect that was discussed in Elizabeth’s presentation. The webinar was well attended, with 457 participants, and the rating received from most participants was 5 stars. The presentation also resulted in a Library Connect blog article which can be viewed here.

The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here.

Elizabeth Moll-Willard

UN Panellist fights Misinformation

“Fake news will remain with us” – this is the view of Ms Ellen Tise, Senior Director of the Library and Information Service of Stellenbosch University (SU), who was sharing her perspective on the role of libraries in the fight against misinformation as part of a UN Library international panel.

In her remarks, Ms Tise stated that fake news seems to flourish when there is a crisis and uncertainty, as with COVID-19. She linked that to other crises that have bred fake news in South Africa, such as HIV/AIDS and xenophobic attacks. She pointed out that during the COVID-19 pandemic, fake news has centred on five areas, namely the origin of the virus, the existence of the virus, why the virus exists, infection rates and who can be infected and miracle “cures”. Ms Tise pointed out that although libraries (or anybody for that matter) cannot eliminate fake news, they can play a role in neutralising its worst effects. The role of libraries in the fight against fake news has been mainly around creating awareness, providing credible information resources, sensitising library clients to the harmful effects of fake news and empowering people to differentiate fact from fiction. Ms Tise was in the company of three other esteemed panelists from other countries.

According to Mr Thanos Giannakopoulos, Chief Librarian of the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, the webinar was well received with more than 90 attendees from all over the world.

Library Research Week 2020

The annual Research Week of the Library and Information Service of Stellenbosch University (SU) kicked off later than usual this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The original date of 27–31 July coinciding with the 2020 Olympic Games. But with Covid-19 everything changed, and we had to move Research Week to the new date of 24–28 August. Since plenty of time had been spent on planning and preparation, we decided to stick with the original theme of “Going for research gold in 2020”, even though the Olympics had been postponed.

This year’s Research Week was presented in an online format for the first time and we were excited to see what the reception of this format would be. We reached a wider audience, including participants from Medicine and Health Sciences, the USB and postgraduate students from all over the country. Registrations and participation far exceeded our expectations.

Research Week was launched on Monday 24 August, where Ms Ellen Tise welcomed everybody, with a special welcome to Professor Cloete and guest speaker Dr Balindiwe Sishi. Ms Tise reminded all that the aim of a research week is to inspire and equip Masters, PhD and emerging researchers  with practical knowledge of research essentials. Professor Cloete commended the library for still managing to hold the event online. He pointed out that this is a reflection of a “world class library and information service with world class facilities for researchers”.

Dr Sishi’s presentation, titled The journey through my eyes, started off by reminding all that Research Week falls within Women’s month. She then relayed her journey towards attaining a PhD, which included the challenges of finishing her first degree on time, death of close family members, struggling to fund her postgraduate studies and numerous rejections to study for her favourite area, medicine. Dr Sishi stated that her struggles taught her the importance of having a plan B in life. It is always important to “do the best you can with what you have. Do not focus on the door that is closed but the one that is open”, she stated. Later, as a promising emerging researcher, Dr Sishi told of how she was honoured to be selected for a conference attended by a number of Nobel Laureates. Among her take home messages was that emerging researchers should always find themselves good mentors, collaborate, choose important and fascinating topics, and focus on achieving their goals. True to her promise, Dr Sishi offered some pointers to a “recipe for a Nobel Prize”. The recipe included the importance of collaboration, publishing, and producing many PhD’s as some of the ingredients for attaining a potential Nobel Prize.

Presentations during the rest of Research Week skilled participants in conducting efficient literature and systematic reviews, and in making optimal use of some of our subscription databases. Practical sessions included how to use Mendeley, gaining and keeping momentum in academic writing, the use of Turnitin and SUNScholarData, as well as how to manage stress and time during the postgraduate journey.

Presenters from the library, as well as other SU support divisions had the opportunity to showcase the support services on offer and provided useful guidance to the participants.

Kirchner van Deventer and Siviwe Bangani