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SN 2 EP 7: A Visionary’s View: Professor Gatiti on Librarianship’s Evolution

Join Professor Peter Gatiti on a captivating journey through the world of librarianship.

Published onApr 24, 2024
SN 2 EP 7: A Visionary’s View: Professor Gatiti on Librarianship’s Evolution
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Mazungumzo- African Scholarly Conversations SN 2 EP 7 | Spotify, Afripods, Apple Podcasts

"It's a tremendously exciting and promising time to be a librarian. Honestly, I can't think of a better era for this profession than today."

The role of librarians has undergone a remarkable evolution in the era of data science and digital information systems. Traditionally perceived as guardians of physical book collections, librarians today find themselves at the forefront of managing and curating vast repositories of digital resources like e-journals, e-databases, and e-books. As Professor Peter Gatiti, the current chairperson of the Kenya Library Association, points out, the global trend now heavily favors electronic resources over printed materials at a ratio of around 80:20.

This shift has necessitated librarians to significantly expand their skill sets beyond just indexing and organizing books. Their inherent training in metadata organization and information management makes them adept at handling the complexities of data. Librarians play a crucial role in areas like bibliometrics, analyzing publication usage patterns - a field pioneered by the librarian Eugene Garfield who developed the renowned creator of the Science Citation Index and founder of the Institute for Scientific Information. Their work is increasingly integrating with research directorates, providing vital bibliometric insights to monitor university performance, competitiveness, collaborations and funding opportunities.

He argues that as new technologies like generative AI continue to evolve, librarians must adapt to uphold academic integrity while embracing innovation. Ethical considerations around AI outputs used for assessments spark discussions on evolving evaluation methods. As Professor Gatiti aptly states, "It's now very interesting than before...I cannot think of any other better time than today" - highlighting the exciting and indispensable role librarians play in the digital knowledge landscape.

Access this episode’s transcript here

Guest Profile

Professor Peter Gatiti

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1786-3577

Professor Gatiti is the current chairperson of the Kenya Library Association (KLA), a position he’s held since 2022. He is also the Associate Vice Provost and University Librarian at the Aga Khan University (AKU). He oversees Agha Khan University’s global network of 12 libraries dispersed in 6 countries on 3 continents, situated on their diverse campuses in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the UK. His research interests focus on library and​​​ information science, systematic reviews, evidence-based practice, bibliometric analysis, and knowledge management.

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