Every time, when users (who are mostly students) are doing their research at the library and cannot find what they are looking for, I tell them to bring their research papers to the library when they are done writing. Surprisingly, they tell me: “No way! I suffered enough for this paper”. What they do not realise is that they are allowing the cycle of ‘information or knowledge drought’ to continue.
I just wonder why it is so hard to understand the knowledge life cycle! This usual involves: creating, storing, finding, acquiring, using, and learning. It is like the water cycle. If there is no rain, the valleys and marshlands dry up. In the like manner, when there is no new research created and brought to a library, there won’t be any information or knowledge reserves to support learning and research. But is it not a wonderful feeling when people use you knowledge and expertise, appreciate all the hard work you put into the paper, and say, “yes, this is credible”!
When we think so narrowly to an extent of not giving others the opportunity we did not have (to get the right information sources), we are simply limiting our creativity, our abilities, talents, and know-how in our respective fields. Supposedly, the message we send is: “I do not trust in what I have written. I am afraid to be criticised. I don’t care about others and my children.” The later is very important. When we write, we write for our children and others to know our ideas and somehow access our knowledge.
Sadly enough, many people have chosen to take the wrong road. The road of hoarding their knowledge – making it inaccessible to others. This is a selfish mission. When shall we hear of someone in Namibia echo the same sentiments that the poet Robert Frost talks about in The Road Not Taken when he writes:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
For those who do not know, Legal Deposit is a legal requirement that a person or organization submit copies of their publications to a library (usually a National Library). Here in Namibia, this is enacted by the Namibia Library and Information Service Act, 2000 (Act 4 of 2000).