Information Specialist (Fixed Term Contract – Maternity Leave Cover)

KwaZulu-Natal, Full Time Deadline: Not specified

Job Purpose:
To provide comprehensive information service on a complex and advanced level, developing information centres’ collections to meet the needs of the staff and students, both on and off campus of individual faculties, and the development and delivery of research workshops, and a range of literacy programs.
In line with Vega School academic strategy, the successful incumbent will be responsible for designing, planning, organising and managing of all information and research support services to cater for the needs of the academic teams, researchers, and students according to the research strategies and policies.

Honours degree in Library Science. Master’s degree in library ’ Information Science will be an added advantage. An English major will be an advantage.

Functional Competencies:

Excellent communication skills and presentation skills particularly in English, both verbal and written, including the ability to communicate to a range of audiences clearly, concise, specific, and accurate and accessible to the target audience
Excellent academic writing skills
Excellent interpersonal skills characterised by tact and diplomacy and an ongoing ability to participate effectively in a team that is spread across the country.
High delivery ability demonstrated capacity to organise own work and work against tight deadlines
Accuracy and attention to detail
Understanding of research process
Excellent general knowledge, knowledge of online database usage (e.g Library Management System, preferably Sirsi Dynix Symphony, Ebscohost, Emerald, Sabinet, OERs etc.) and academic writing.
Knowledge and experience in reference management and software programmes
Working knowledge of web and citation metrics
Working knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc
Innovative and energetic
Coaching and mentoring skills
Information and digital skills including multiliteracy skills
Commitment to excellent customer service
Willingness to produce own research

Work Experience:

Minimum 3 years’ experience in managing an academic library, academic compliance and functions/ activities within a higher education environment
Demonstrated capacity to manage services preferably in an academic library
Experience in assisting students in academic writing skills
Must be a LIASA member

Key Performance Areas:
Planning, Administrating and Organising Operations of the information centre’s services and supporting delivery

Create a space conducive to learning in the information centre and monitor student conduct while in the information centre
Create good working relationships with campus management, colleagues and students, as well as external stakeholders such as suppliers
Active and meaningful participation in meetings and webinars
Ensure and monitor that the campus information centre services are equitable and comparable to all other brand campuses
Problem solve and feedback promptly until the issue has been resolved
Action directives received from the Information Centres’ Manager and Vice Principal Academic promptly within the set deadlines.
Assist with managing all auxiliary services such as copying, reproduction and digitisation
Recruit and train student assistants
Supervise assistant staff and student assistants
Maintain an effective record keeping for payment of invoices

Postgraduate research support and services:

Plan, design and facilitate research capacity workshops and programmes including but not limited to research literacy, academic literacy, and meta-literacies in general
Collaborate with the National Research Manager to plan, design and facilitate relevant research capacity building workshops and programmes
In collaboration with the National Research Manager and Information Centres Manager, plan and facilitate annual research capacity building workshops on a postgraduate level (at an appropriate level for Honours, Masters and Doctoral students, their supervisors and researchers.
Assist students and researchers in the use of plagiarism prevention and research and reference tools such as Safe Assign, Mendeley and Zotero
Create researcher profiles and conduct selective dissemination of information (SDIs)
Process interlibrary loans for information requests that are not accessible inhouse, using the OCLC interlibrary loans management system, on behalf of students and researchers
Must have academic writing acumen

Research Capacity Building Support

Be familiar with the approved research capacity building planning
Be an academic partner in actioning research capacity building plans’ goals, in collaboration with the National Research Manager and Information Centres’ Manager
Attend relevant research meetings
Must have experience in doing research
Be familiar with basic social science research methods and methodologies

Marketing, Awareness and Dissemination of Information Services Communication

Promote and implement campus information centre marketing plans e.g design posters to market the information centre and its resources; collaborate with the wellness department to arrange monthly displays according to set themes
Create research profiles for researchers and lecturers and disseminate information accordingly
Actively take part in academic forums to create awareness of the value chain of information centre’s services within teaching and learning.
Plan and design guidelines, notices and create an awareness of postgraduate research and information services
Actively participate in research and postgraduate activities e.g. research conferences, postgraduate open days etc.
Actively search and communicate (upcoming external research conferences/call for papers for conferences and journals in the areas of Management/Business Management/ Strategy/Branding/Marketing and Communication/ Humanities/Social Sciences/Arts/ Technology/Knowledge management/ Ethics/ etc.

Teaching and Learning Support, Information and all Academic Literacies

Plan and monitor rollout of higher-level information and research support, including academic writing skills to students and staff e.g plan and deliver interactive sessions on writing skills, databases usage, referencing, plagiarism avoidance, SafeAssign etc.
Undertake effective reference interview to better understand users’ needs for accurate information support
Plan, design and present advanced research and information workshops to postgraduate students, and researchers in collaboration with academic departments and staff
Provide advice and training on information management, including advice on searching citations, bibliographic management software and referencing techniques
Display an excellent level of digital literacies and eResources knowledge e.g. EBSCOhost and other sources functionality, and transfer these skills to students and researchers
Present workshops on academic writing, academic integrity, plagiarism prevention and referencing techniques
Deliver embedded library services on the Blackboard Learning Management System.

Policy and Standards Compliance

Monitor adherence to all the information centre-related policies and report progress or anomalies to the campus Vice Principal Academic and Information Centres’ Manager
Ensure copyright and trademarks compliance
Promote academic ethics and intellectual integrity according to the IIE policies.
Provide feedback to the Information Centres’ Manager and campus Vice Principal Academic on all information centre-related issues

Collection Maintenance, Management and Development

Carry out stocktaking and report back to campus Vice Principal Academic and the Information Centres’ Manager
Ensure that information centres’ collections have up-to-date resources, including business and social research methods and methodology
Identify electronic resources to be recommended for purchase, in line with students and academic user needs
Ensure that there is access to seminal works (giving preference to having electronic editions rather than print where possible).
Augment available collections with interlibrary loans as and when needed
Introduce postgraduate students to peer reviewed publications.
Work in collaboration with the Information Centres Manager to ensure that collections and subscriptions answer to the students and researchers’ needs
Edit, classify, index information sources and distribute new material list for cataloguing to the Information Centres’ Manager
Update new materials on the Library Management System (Sirsi Dynix) to enable circulation

Networking, Communication and Reporting

Compile and distribute accurate reports including monthly statistical reports, with analyses and comments on trends and present as required
Stay abreast of industry developments and participate in all internal and external forums
Build and foster relationships with the brand National Research Manager, postgraduate academic team and supervisors
Build and foster relationships with other external stakeholders such as other brands’ research managers
Keep upbreast with research trends/focus areas conducted by the Human Science Research Council and NRF
Identify opportunities for research/open research databases and secondary data access that can be utilised for research production.


Library management system preferably Sirsi Dynix Symphony, library databases such as Ebscohost, Emerald, Sabinet, OERs etc.
Good knowledge of library issues, best practices in user education/Information Literacy programmes and technology developments
Good knowledge of new and emerging trends in Library and Information Science, especially Open Access (OA), Digital Scholarship etc.
Knowledge and experience in reference management and software programmes e.g Mendeley, Zotero etc.
Working knowledge of web and citation metrics
Knowledge of research identification and tracking tools
Understanding of research process
Good knowledge and understanding of research ethics especially within social science and business research methodology and design
Good knowledge of commemorative days related to research
Must be knowledgeable around DHET and research reports