Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

Strategies and Infrastructure for e-ways and e-words in Gauteng Libraries: Reflecting on Problems and Possibilities in a Developing Country

Dr Karen De Wet.

A lot of claims is made about the advantages of using e-books and other digital content, especially in developing environments. Despite being a developing country, South-Africa is progressively advancing a technologically inclined approach – e.g. on governmental level as well as in its universities. The Gauteng province is seen as being the most technologically advanced in the country, has the best infrastructure and is formally rolling out plans like Blue IQ.

Against this background, this study reports on research conducted to establish how well these initiatives are reflected in approaches to e-ways and e-words in libraries – both public and academic. While the five universities that offer tertiary education in Gauteng all use well developed distance learning facilities, and while industry mainly relies on portals and other web-enabled technologies, little evidence exist that serious attention is being paid to how to deliver e-words (e.g. via e-books or Print-On-Demand text, and using/supplying appropriate reading technology) to users.

Questionnaires were used to assess the current situation and data were analysed in order to be able to point out problems and suggest recommendations.


Dr Karen De Wet  (South Africa)
Senior Lecturer, Information Science
Department of Information Science School of Information Technology
University of Pretoria

Karen de Wet holds a doctorate in literary studies and joined the University of Pretoria’s Department of Information Science in October 1998 when a project on how multimedia, metadata, and digital libraries could be linked to a systheme theoretic approach to literature, directed her research in that way. Since then she has been teaching in information science focusing on information in the digital environment -
with special emphasis on the nature of e-publications as well as multimedia theory, digital libraries and portals. She has also presented short courses in Knowledge Management.

  • e-books
  • e-reading technology
  • e-strategies
  • developing countries

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)