Thursday, February 18, 2016

ZimLA Golden Jubilee Conference announcement

The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) has announced the Call for Papers for the 50th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in Masvingo on dates to be announced in due course. The conference marks the associations Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The conference is expected to be held in June 2016 under the theme Transforming information into Knowledge tools: ZimLA@50. Several sub-themes have been given that seek to assess the information and knowledge landscape in Zimbabwe. 

According to ZimLA, “The Golden Jubilee commemorations are an opportunity to evaluate the past and devise a model that can be used keep us abreast of the fast changing information and knowledge field.” ZimLA expect the event to be an opportunity for stakeholders, practitioners and leaders from all spheres of information work including training institutions to highlight their achievements, best practices, innovations and policy issues that has catapulted development of the library and information profession in Zimbabwe.

The call for papers is extended to all interested stakeholders and practitioners in the library and information profession to submit proposals. ZimLA however indicated that presenters are responsible for their own expenses to attend the Conference. Besides papers, ZimLA has also plans to host a one day Library fair an event which seek to showcase the various innovations and best practices in library and information institutions in Zimbabwe.

In addition to the conference, the AGM is to include elections for the National Executive Council, a body that runs the affairs of ZimLA which comprise; the President, Vice President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Advocacy Officer and National Editor. The current constitution of ZimLA provide for 2 year-long office terms. The constitution further indicates that only registered members have the obligation to nominate and vote for officers and those nominees should have been paid up members for successive years.

Follow this link to view the complete call for papers for the 50th ZimLA Conference and AGM.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Zim gvt introduces import duty on books - Actions against Unesco Florence Agreement

You may be probably new to this topic, but a number of Zimbabwean Librarians got the information this September that the Zimbabwean government through Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is charging import duty on books effective September 1, 2015.

Recently, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Prof Jonathan Moyo wrote to his counterpart Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa urging him to reverse the introduction of duty on books.  According to The Herald of 28 September 2015, Prof Moyo said the new import duty [on books] breached the provisions of the Unesco [Florence Agreement] Treaty of 1950 Article 1(a) and (b). By now a strong discussion in going on on Twitter under the harsh tag #importdutyonbooks .

From this statement, it appear as if the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is not aware of such an agreement which Zimbabwe signed in 1998. Under the Unesco Florence Agreement, signatory nations agree not to impose customs duties on certain educational, scientific, and cultural materials that are imported. The protocol is also known as the Nairobi Protocol. According to the protocol, “The major purpose of the Agreement and the Protocol, as their titles indicate, is to make it easier to import educational, scientific and cultural materials. They reduce tariff, tax, currency and trade obstacles to the international circulation of these materials, permitting organizations and individuals to obtain them from abroad with less difficulty and at less cost.”

From the various articles published covering the introduction of import duty on books, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, according to Stanely Mushava perceive the increase of tariffs on books would incentives the revival of the local book sector. The Minister further understands that the measure shall avail the local industry with an opportunity to invest into the requisite machinery, thereby reducing dependence on imports.” The Minister views are contrary to the interpretations of the Florence Agreement which advocates for free flow books, and cultural expressions which will promote ‘the free flow of ideas’.

The introduction of duty on books is an unfortunate event which has negative impact of libraries, schools, literacy initiatives, book donations, and book club. The libraries are heavily affected, especially University libraries, public libraries who depend on books published outside Zimbabwe which are course related and recommended course material for study. Already the library collection development activities are heavily affected by budget cuts. School libraries on the other hand, relying on donations would have to help import the books they receive from well-wishers. In the past school libraries received books donations to help build the library collections to improve reading and writing habits of students. Future donations are likely to face challenges to reach the intended beneficiaries and well-wishers are likely to pull out thereby escalating the book shortage.

Additional content to be added

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ZimLA Newsletter now available

Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) started publishing the ZimLA News this year after it had stopped for a while. The new issue is available as an online edition.

The newsletter is available from the association website at The first issue is also available on this blog here ZimLA News Issue 1, Jan - March 2015.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

RDA, 2015 priority

Compliments of the New Year followers of this blog. I hope you enjoyed every moment of the long break, meeting old friends, relatives and spending some time with family.

I hope 2015 is going to bring in new exciting moments for your careers and professions. I am certain that it’s going to be a better year for the library profession as last year the release of Resource Description and Access (RDA) meant a lot of changes to many libraries, museums and archives in material description.

So, I stumbled into this exciting offer from Cataloging & Classification Quarterly of free access to ten articles covering the topics of RDA and ISBD. Do not miss this window of opportunity, if you are keen on implementing RDA. 

Last year, I was privileged to attend a presentation on RDA presented for Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) Bibliographic members. I found the articles from the journal very insightful and providing valuable experience other institutions are going through in implementing RDA. 

Check out this link from the Cataloguing & Classification Quarterly if you need to read the 10 articles on RDA and ISBD until April 2015.

I wish you a happy migration to RDA in 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ZimLA Announces 49th Conference Call for Papers

The Zimbabwe Library Association (ZimLA) last week announced the Call for Papers for the 49th ZimLA Conference and Annual General Meeting slatted for Kariba from 23 – 25 June 2015. The theme of the conference is Libraries driving the economy: a 21st century trajectory.

According to ZimLA, “National development can be achieved through the provision of information through which libraries play an important part.” It is against this background that the sub-themes of the 49th conference set address the position of libraries in economic growth. Several sub-themes for the conference include; Innovative marketing strategies for library and information products and services, Information Literacy and National Development, Role of libraries in socio-economic transformation and Intellectual property rights and national development among others.

The first call for papers is out and abstract submission deadline is February 28, 2015. ZimLA expect to notify acceptance of abstracts by March 15, 2015. ZimLA announced that prospective speakers will meet their own cost for the conference.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Resource Description and Access for ZULC members

I had an opportunity to attend a presentation on Resource Description and Access (RDA) organized by the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) recently. The presenters; Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni, were from Universal knowledge Software (UKS) an innovative company providing sophisticated library and archival products. At this presentation I got an opportunity to meet Charlie, whom I had met at the 48th ZimLA Conference in Victoria Falls were he presented on the various libraries and archival software and training services they offer. Besides, he had an exquisite exhibition and distributed very attractive mugs. (I will always remember him for these ones.)

Anyway, RDA according to the Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA was developed to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Edition Revised, which were first published in 1978. The OCLC website reported that The Library of Congress announced full implementation of RDA in March 31, 2013. Initially, RDA was envisioned as a third edition of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, and was accordingly called AACR3, but in an effort to emphasize the break from the past it was renamed to RDA, according to Coyle and Hillmann (2007). Miksa (2009) maintains that “The principal goal of the new rules is to facilitate resource discovery through library catalogs in a more consistent and powerful way than is currently possible with AACR2.” According to Coyle and Hillmann (2007), RDA is being presented by the JSC as a change in practice that will position libraries for the electronic age.

Oliver (2007) cited in Miksa (2009) points out that “RDA is a content standard, not a display standard and not a metadata schema. RDA is a set of guidelines that indicates how to describe a resource, focusing on the pieces of information (or attributes) that a user is most likely to need to know. It also encourages the description of relationships between related resources and between resources and persons or bodies that contributed to creation of that resource.” An important component of RDA discussed as the conceptual model is FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data). To get a good understanding of FRBR and FRAD reading an article by Mark K. Ehlert titled RDA: Building Blocks would help.

The presentation by Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni was insightful in that it discussed the reasons to replace AACR2 which I found convincing. Among the reasons given by Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni are that the internet caused an exponential growth in resource format, we are no longer using card catalogues, we have more information carriers than before, technology is growing every day and the biggest of all, AACR2 was developed in the era of the card catalogue. In this regard, Coyle and Hillmann (2007) stated that “The early cataloging rules, dating back to the catalog of the British Museum in 1841, evolved primarily to handle textual, published resources.” It therefore means that as information sources change formats mainly caused by the digital environment and the internet.

Charlie Molepo and Mandisa Lakheni further discussed how RDA works in a real setting. They mentioned that RDA simplifies the process of transcription by taking what you see on the resource, and eliminating many of the AACR2 rules that instruct cataloguers to alter the data that they are transcribing to abbreviations. Basically, UKS presenters observed that the new elements being added to RDA solve problems with demonstrated in AACR2. Whilst explaining the simplicity of RDA over AACR2 Mandisa highlighted that cataloguers are expected to write every detail in full, in contrast to the use of abbreviations in AACR2; for instance Second edition and not 2nd ed.. The basic rule, as I understood it in RDA is writing everything in full. On the other hand the main difference I noticed is that RDA is designed for the web environment whilst AACR2 does not match the web environment.

A few disadvantages of RDA were highlighted by Mandisa which included the initial implementation is costly due to subscription and training; the RDA toolkit needs to be made available on all computers and all cataloguing records need to be converted from AACR2 to RDA, however this is not mandatory; library staff require training to acquire skills on how to use RDA and institutions must pay a subscription rate to use the RDA Toolkit online. There is a contention that RDA may also inherit short falls of AACR2 were it has its roots. Coyle and Hillmann (2007) stated that , “The challenges of this rapidly changing environment may be more than the developers of RDA can accommodate, given the firmness of their ties to AACR.”

Basically this is it. I could have gone on and on writing about RDA stuff I learnt but you can find out more on the Internet. A simple Google search for ‘Resource Description and Access’ can yield good hits which are all good reads. And visit the OCLC web site for training materials.


Coyle, K., and Hillmann, D. (2007). Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century. D-Lib Magazine, 13(1/2). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from

Miksa, S. D. (2009). Resource Description and Access (RDA) and New Research Potentials. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 35(5). Retrieved December 10, 2014, from

Molepo, C., and Lakheni, M. (2014). RDA Information Session held in Harare. Harare, Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IFLA officially Launched the Lyon Declaration in Lyon, France

The 80th IFLA World Library and Information Congress going on in Lyon, France is the biggest library event which brings more than 4,000 participants is running under the theme 'Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge'. The congress shall end on August 22.

Yesterday, IFLA officially launched the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development that outlines the need for access to information to be recognised in the United Nations post-2015 development framework. The Lyon Declaration will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is expected to set the agenda for development for the next decade. According to the IFLA media release the framework which has been signed by more than 125 institutions and associations from within and beyond the library sector, including development agencies, media organisations, gender, ICT and education campaigners have signed pre-launch, already making the Lyon Declaration the most successful campaign of its type that IFLA has ever undertaken.

IFLA further noted that the framework will give IFLA members and libraries the tools to advocate for the inclusion of access to information in the final goals, and to be ready to support national governments in implementation of the framework. IFLA therefore encourage librarians to meet with Member State representatives to promote the Lyon Declaration and highlight the role that specific library services, such as government information, literacy, children's services and ICT can play in supporting development. For the coming ear IFLA shall continue to seek signatories to the Declaration and will continue to create more awareness of the framework to governments through UN.

The Lyon Declaration is the new development agenda that UN is discussing to succeed the MDGs that is expected to guide all countries on approaches to improving people’s lives, and outline a new set of goals to be reached during the period 2016-2030. Through the framework, sustainable development is to be achieved through a sound library system that ensure everyone has access to, and is able to understand, use and share the information to promote democratic societies.

The Lyon Declaration is available at