Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service - News from research support services

Month: November 2022

Summary of Open Access Week 2022

Stellenbosch University Library celebrated this year’s International Open Access Week 2022 by presenting a three-day programme that took place from 26-28 October. The celebrated theme “Open for Climate Justice” showcased a number of SU speakers who addressed the sub-themes of Climate Diversity, Climate Studies & Global Leadership and Climate Sustainability & Open Access at Stellenbosch University.

26 October – Climate Diversity

Prof Ruppel from the department of Mercantile Law, addressed the issues of climate justice versus climate responsibility, a South-North perspective.  He noted that the more affluent countries, such as those in the Global North, are responsible for around half of all the greenhouse gas emissions.  Whereas the Global South with the least greenhouse gas emissions, are the ones who are suffering as a result.  Yet the accountability of these adverse effects of climate change, hence climate justice, is complex and shrouded in legal, political, economic and philosophical issues.  He believes the North-South inequality can bridge the gap by recognising and acknowledging each others’ different realities and thereby objectively tackle global climate change.

Dr Okoliko from the School of Public Leadership, talked about a social media research study of public views on the COP26 coal phase-out deal for South Africa.  Their analysis showed Facebook to be the primary source of news and the ‘go to’ platform for several South African news media.  By analysing the comments and views of the people, they discovered an overwhelmingly negative sentiment towards the deal.  However, the negativity is based on legitimate issues, such as the proper allocation of funding, the pros and cons of this deal for South Africa, the environmental impact and potential job losses within the industry.

Prof Helen de Klerk and Mr Bailey from the department of Geography & Environmental Studies presented a dual paper.  They looked at various open access resources that provided geospatial data in geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) data.  These data repositories can be used for creating climate forecasting, climate change modules and climate simulations.  They also discussed the basic and advanced uses of these open data resources.

Recording: Open Access Week 2022 Climate Diversity 26 October 2022

27 October –  Climate Studies & Global Leadership

Prof Guy Midgley from the department of Botany & Zoology and School for Climate Studies gave a brief overview of climate inequality in so far that less than 3% of the world’s investment into climate science is allocated to the whole of the African content.  He also discussed regional solutions, for example the green hydrogen deal will work for Namibia, but it cannot work for South Africa.  By way of demonstration, he used a MIT database, En-Roads, demonstrating the various vectors that are involved in decision-making when it comes to finding solutions to climate challenge.

Miss Mbuyisa and Miss Murray from the department of Botany & Zoology, represented the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) Youth Ambassadors for 2022.  They not only represented Stellenbosch University but were also the only representatives from an African University.  They, along with several other SU students, were the African voices for a global youth programme that involved discussions around climate change.  They gained insight from multiple disciplines and learned about West-centric ideas verses Africanacity. Having gained considerable knowledge and experience, they were able to host the African Regional Forum at the School for Climate Studies.

Recording: Open Access Week 2022 Climate Studies & Global Leadership 27 October 2022 

28 October – Climate Sustainability & Open Access at SU

Prof Chris Reddy from Curriculum Studies, started off by explaining the natural ecological structure of cycles and the human or man-made environmental structure.  Although humankind is part of the natural cycle, we are not within the ecological cycle and our actions and interventions are causing disruptions in the ecological cycle.  For this, environmental education is an essential dimension, since in it lies the sphere of a relationship with our environment.  This sphere allows for critical thinking based on local and community-driven issues.  It advocates for localised change, developing emancipatory life practices, and a place for sustainable living practices.

Prof Booysen from the department of Electrical & Electronics Engineering discussed the use and consumption of water, energy, and electricity.  The department developed three devices, namely What’on, Geasy and count Dropula.  These devices collected data from geysers in various households, various schools and from the driving patterns of minibus taxis.  The collected data is openly accessible and countries such as Switzerland, France, the United States, Oxford and even Eskom, are now using the data to run simulation models.  Next on the agenda for the department is water quality meters, smart green tunnels and air quality sensors.

Dr Tshuma from the department of Agronomy discussed how agricultural activities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, following a 10-year trial study involving eight countries. Their analysis showed that using nitrogen or synthetic fertiliser increases crop production. Their study also showed that synthetic fertilisers can be replaced by using more natural techniques to produce the same yield.  These techniques include animal manure, legumes, crop rotation and tillage methods, to name but a few.

Prof Esler from the department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology discussed her personal experiences about her connectedness and reciprocity with nature.  Experiencing home invasion, grief and stress she discovered the synergy and beauty of growing your own vegetable garden.  This timeless activity re-connected her with nature.  From her own garden, she started a hobby and created mandalas, which became her meditation tool.  Nature nurtures, and for her, nature is not just about a physical connection or producing food, but also a mental and spiritual connection that can heal both body and mind, and by healing the planet you heal yourself.  She also believes urban gardening can go a long way in combating climate change.

Mrs Seyffert-Wirth from Stellenbosch University Library gave an overview of why we are celebrating open access, and the benefits of providing free and unhindered access to research output.  She discussed the various open access initiatives that have been initiated, hosted and maintained by the Library & Information Service for the past 14 years.  This includes SUNScholar an institutional repository; an Open Access Publishing fund, now halted; 20 active journals; and a digital heritage repository.  She introduced the Library’s plans for the future, which include transitioning digital repositories to connect with the semantic web; finding a connection between different library collections using various data science techniques and flagship projects to host Digital Humanities connections in collaboration with some of the SU departments.

Recording: Open Access Week 2022 Climate Sustainability & Open Access at SU 28 October 2022  

Author: Paulette Talliard

The digital heritage repository: SUNDigital Collections

In almost ten years of existence, SUNDigital Collections, a digital heritage repository of the Library and Information Service, has showcased special collections and unique items from the Library to the public. It offers a single connection point to various collections of primary resources as well as digital research output. In support of digital scholarship, sharing our valuable resources and promoting intellectual collaboration the Library and Information Service offers free online access to these digital collections. The repository currently contains almost 16 000 items in 43 collections.

In recent years, Digital Humanities (DH), an area of scholarly activity at the intersection of computing or digital technologies and the disciplines of the Humanities has become a recognized discipline. In exploring how the Library can support Digital Humanities, it was found that SUNDigital Collections is an ideal home for DH projects.

One of the flagship projects is the hosting of the “Hardekraaltjie” collection in collaboration with the SU Transformation office’s Visual Redress project. Stellenbosch University engaged with members of the Tiervlei community and other stakeholders to initiate a “deep human-centered community participation process” to commemorate members of this community that were laid to rest at the site previously known as Hardekraaltjie cemetery. This cemetery is located on the grounds of the university’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Science. The University is committed to, in consultation with other members of the affected communities, to erect a memorial installation at the site of the cemetery to remind us of a past when the dignity of the people in this area was tragically violated. The cemetery was in use from 1909 to 1946 and had a central place in the then Tiervlei community, which was subjected to forced removals under the Group Areas Act of the apartheid regime.

SUNDigital Collections now gives a voice to the displaced by hosting inter alia recordings of interviews with members of the Hardekraaltjie community. The project is still in its infancy but will showcase deeds, images, maps, articles, poems and other material related to Hardekraaltjie once completed.

Please visit the repository for a peek into our digital heritage.

Author: Mimi Seyffert-Wirth

The special collections of DOMUS

The Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) is the special collections section of the Music Library. The aim of DOMUS is to collect, preserve and make available, rare materials of musicologists, musicians, music institutions and music societies. Representing mostly South African demography, our collection development focuses on South African and African content. Document types include paper documents (for example, correspondence, photographs, notes, and music manuscripts) and audio-visual materials (for example, CDs, DVDs, reel tapes and videos). Items added to DOMUS are either as direct donations or through collaboration with staff from the Africa Open Institute (AOI) and the Music Department.

Initial collections included Africana sheet music, rare books, collections of former Konservatorium staff members (e.g., Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch and Hans Endler) of composers (e.g., Albert Coates and Rosa Nepgen), bibliophile Michael Scott, physical chemist Frits Stegmann, and newspaper critic Charles Weich. From 2005, the music special collections became known as DOMUS, based on a project that Prof Stephanus Muller proposed to the SU Library and Information Service and the Music Department.

In due course, more South African music collections were added to the existing DOMUS collections.  These collections represent different South African styles, languages and cultures and include artists such as Basil Coetzee, David Kramer, Jonathan Butler, Coenie de Villiers, Dizu Plaatjies, and Zayn Adams from the collection of producer Patrick Lee Lee-Thorp, Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg, Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mandoza, Prophets of da City, Rebecca Malope and the Soweto String Quartet from the collection of producer Pam Devereux-Harris, and Jeremy Taylor, Roger Lucey,  Kippie Moeketsi and Hugh Masekela from the Hidden Years Music Archive Project (HYMAP).

DOMUS also holds the collections of Afrikaans rock musician Anton Goosen, Taliep Petersen (musician and director of musicals) and composer and accordionist Nico Carstens. Anton Goosen, or ‘Liedjieboer’ (it is loosely translated as a person farming with songs). His song, ‘Blommetjie-gedenk-aan-my’, is regarded as the first rock song in Afrikaans, and this song earned Goosen the title of ‘Father of Afrikaans rock’. Recently, the book, ‘Mr Entertainment: The story of Taliep Petersen, by Paula Fourie was published.

Nico Carstens LP’s in foyer of Music Library

Jewish music is also represented through the collection of Fay Singer, who established the South African Jewish Music Centre (SAJMC) in 1992 to preserve Jewish music within a South African context by means of performances, presentations and lectures.

The Eoan Group collection documents the activities of the group, founded in District Six by Helen Southern-Holt in 1933. The Group operated under difficult circumstances under apartheid. From 1966, for example, they could perform in the City Hall before mixed audiences through permit applications.

Collections of South African art music composers include Graham Newcater, Stefans Grové, Michael Blake, Hubert du Plessis, Christopher James and John Simon. The collections of filmmaker Aryan Kaganof and musicologist Christine Lucia, as well as collections of music societies such as the Southern African Church and Concert Organists Society (SACOS) and Obelisk Music are also included.

It is clear from these examples that DOMUS collects diverse collections that link in with Stellenbosch University’s mandate of inclusivity, transformation and redress as set out in the Transformation and Redress Policy.

More information on DOMUS and its collections can be found in the DOMUS Library guide. The article, ‘Armed with a light bulb at the end of a cord’ provides a detailed history of DOMUS for the period 2005 to 2015.

Authors: Santie de Jongh and Beulah Gericke-Geldenhuys

Know more about the research process

Our handy Research Process Library Guide is a great resource for beginner researchers and even advanced researchers to navigate the various stages of the research life cycle.


Visual display of the research life cycle: Plan and design; Collect and capture; Analyse, collaborate and create; Manage, store and preservce; Share and publish; Monitor and evaluate

The Research Life Cycle

The guide is structured according to each stage in the research life cycle and under each of stages, you will find several useful resources and tips related to that topic. For example, under the Plan & Design tab, you will find information on choosing the right topic, or narrowing down your existing topic. It also includes information about research design, research methods, the literature review, systematic reviews and also on writing a research proposal.

5 Principles of writing a research proposal: Aim for crystal clarity, plan before you write, be persuasive, be practical, make broader links.

5 Principles of writing a research proposal

The other stages provide further additional tips and guidelines on what is expected during the various stages of the research process, such as data collection, management and storage under Collect & Capture; Data analysis and visualisation under Analyse, collaborate and create; instructions on how to submit your thesis under Manage, store and preserve; guidelines on where to publish your research and increase its visibility under Share and publish; and, lastly, how to measure your research impact under Monitor and evaluate.

Apart from useful resources such as this library guide, you also have your Faculty Librarian to count on and also the staff at the Carnegie Research Commons. If you are uncertain about who your Faculty Librarian is, you can find out by looking up your subject here. You can also contact the following staff members to assist with certain aspects of the research process:

Open Access and SUNScholar (Institutional repository): Paulette Talliard

Research Data Management and SUNScholarData (Institutional research data repository): Samuel Simango

Research Impact and Data Visualisation: Marié Roux