By Jillian Viljoen
The Oxford English Dictionary defines archaeology as the “study of ancient cultures, esp. By the excavation and analysis of physical remains.” This concept can be metaphorically applied to your academic life. I bet you’re wondering if I misunderstood the definition as we do not fall into the category of ancient cultures which are usually extinct.
Here’s the correlation. When you travel your academic journey, you leave footprints which can be discovered by anyone who endeavours to investigate your academic life, long after you have exited the institution. These footprints can be discovered through the library resources. The library is an invaluable resource for searching for information from undergraduate to postgraduate level.
When you register at the institution, you get a student number and that student number is your username. When you login via the off-campus access, your student number is recognised and you are granted access to the library resources. When you request a book via My Library Account, your student number grants you access. The library books that you borrow are issued on your student card, attaching the record of those books to your student number. When you return books at the library, you receive a confirmation email to your student email account. Every time you enter and exit the library, you tap your student card at the turnstile and you are granted access.
At postgraduate level, when you submit your completed thesis or dissertation, that document is submitted on ResearchSpace where it is accessible worldwide. When you publish articles in journals, those articles are accessible via the databases which the library subscribes to.
Every step that you make academically can be traced via the library resources long after you have left, either by your student number or your name. When your academic journey has run its course, what will be discovered about you? What will the excavation uncover? A student who regularly used the library resources? A Masters and PhD thesis or dissertation on interesting research topics? Or perhaps a well published researcher with a high h-index?
When your academic journey is over, you may be gone but not forgotten. Your academic footprints will remain and will be discovered by future generations of aspiring researchers. You could be an inspiration to students and researchers locally and internationally without being aware of the impact you have made.
Did you know that library resources could be so interesting? Go ahead and try to discover the academic footprints of your lecturer or supervisor. You might be surprised by what you find.