3 June 2014

Discussion about IFLA Trends

By Buhle Mbambo

Dear Colleagues,

As I promised last week, the IFLA Regional Office for Africa will lead discussion on the IFLA Trend report on this list serv.  We have copied this email to a number of you as invitation to join africa-l@iflalists.org.  Please join the list – serve so that we can together, as Africa, discuss the Trend Report and how it relates to our business. If you are already on the list serve, we request you  to invite others onto the list.

The outcomes of these discussion will be discussed at SCECSAL in July 2014, as part of a panel discussion on the IFLA Trend report session.

Thank you for your anticipated participation.

This week we start the discussion of the IFLA Trend Report with Trend 1.  Please see the discussion points that follow Trend 1 below.



An ever-expanding digital universe will bring a higher value to information literacy skills such as basic reading and competence with digital tools. People who lack these skills will face barriers to inclusion in a growing range of areas. The nature of new online business models will heavily influence who can successfully own, profit from, share or access information in the future.

Likely Developments

The on-going explosion of choice of digital content and information increases the importance of information literacy skills  as essential tools for distinguishing authoritative information from content that is influenced by various social,  political, commercial and sometimes extremist  agendas.

Tension continues to increase over ownership of intellectual property and technological innovations. Adaptations are  needed to reflect new  patterns of information use and to support  creativity and economic sustainability.

In a hyper-connected world, access to information becomes the gateway for health, education  and employment resources – as well as social, political and economic freedoms.  A billion new Internet users in developing countries change the landscape  of the online world. However, deficiencies in reading and digital literacy skills remain barriers to accessing online resources, possibly leading to a widening digital divide and global inequalities.

Mobile access to digital content and products  from a broader  range of devices weakens the traditional concept of ownership  based on static rights to content in one location.

The operation of the Internet as an open and internationally accessible source of information is threatened by governments seeking to extend control over their own information environments. This type of control  leads to a patchwork of national Internets.

Questions of ownership of information and content become more complicated  as boundaries between producers  and consumers of information are increasingly blurred. A rise in the amount  of content created by automated machine processes further complicates such situations.

The existing business models of many online  service providers designed to make money from submitted personal data and user-generated content are challenged. The debate around future  business models focuses on  whether these profits should be shared between content creators, intermediaries and the original owners of personal data.

The use of technical measures to prevent access to copyrighted content becomes outdated,  as new business models that harness public enthusiasm for consuming, sharing, creating and modifying offer  a broad range of content across different platforms and devices.”

Discussion points

  1. In your part of the continent how does this trend impact on your work and environment?
  2. In what way has your organization or country  explored  the possible the  impact of this trend?
  3. In your view how  should libraries respond to this trend as regard Information and digital literacy, IP, copyright and data management
  4. Are there practical ways in which your library community has responded to this trend?

We look forward to your active engagement

Warm Regards,

Buhle and Lindy

Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata
Executive Director
UNISA Library Services
P.O. Box 392
Pretoria 0003
South Africa


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