Information Services

We empower our clients to gather reliable, accurate and relevant information, data and facts:

  • We support literature and information retrieval.
  • We train staff to use the wide range of information resources available.
  • We source specific documents as and when needed.
  • We source information resources through Interlibrary Loans, from other libraries nationally and internationally.
  • We keep researchers abreast of developments in their research areas.
  • We update our collection of resources to represent the various research focus areas of the HSRC.
  • We support responsible authorship through similarity scanning services.

Clients contact us when they

  • need assistance sourcing literature or information,
  • need training on the use of information resources,
  • need a similarity report, and
  • need assistance with persistent digital identification.


Information resources / Library collection
The eRKC facilitates sustainable electronic access to the HSRC library collection in print and electronic format, the HSRC Research- and Data output collections and a comprehensive collection of subscribed and Open Access eResources.  In an era of easy access to potentially fake information, the unit supports research and study endeavours of HSRC staff through literature research support as well as retrieval- and supply of relevant, trusted information resources.

The Library of the HSRC hosts a collection of resources both in print, and in electronic format.  The current collection of resources comprises the following:

•    107,623 books of which 2,847 are electronic books.
•    We avail access to a further 27,006 electronic books via annual subscriptions.
•    Resources extends to 105 electronic databases.
•    The unit thus facilitates access to 75,802 electronic journals.
•    The collection of 104 000 print-books, and 100 000 print journals are housed in a space, spanning an estimated 982 m².

Usage of all electronic resources is monitored, and reported on a quarterly and annual basis.

Details of the content of the collection, including eBooks can be retrieved via the “Library Access”-link on the HSRC Intranet page. This portal is an online “one-stop-shop”, providing access to all electronic resources, the catalogue, subject-specific portals, bibliographic management tools, guides to journal accreditation, and much more. 

Special and rare book collection
The HSRC Library has been collecting specialised resources in the Social Sciences and Humanities since its inception in 1969. As the organisation stemmed from the then National Bureau of Education and Social Research, and the National Council of Social Research, the collection was based on a special collection of education sources. The collection was nurtured and developed over years, culminating after more than 4 decades in a special collection in the Social Sciences and the Humanities.  In 2014 the library of the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), was incorporated into the HSRC Library and Information Services and brought with it many rare and valuable resources, especially on Africa.
This collection holds books of a special and / or rare nature and is therefore not available for loan.

Journal collection
The Journal collection is entirely electronic, allowing full access to about 75,802 accredited titles, through various publisher- and aggregated databases. The resources available are availed to the patrons of the HSRC through the “Library Access”-link on the HSRC Intranet. This portal is an online “one-stop-shop”, providing access to all electronic resources, the catalogue, subject-specific portals, bibliographic management tools, guides to journal accreditation, and much more.

HSRC Archive collection
This collection contains information of a historical nature of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and its predecessor-organisations, the National Bureau for Educational and Social Research - NBESR (1934-1939) and the National Council for Social Research - NCSR (1946-1967). The Archive contains amongst others, minutes of meetings, policy documents, photos, research outputs, reports, etc., published by and about the NBESR, the NCSR and the HSRC between 1929-2000. The material is available in the HSRC Research Repository. Registration is required to access the archive. Access can be requested.


HSRC Archive project
The 50/90-year commemoration project of the HSRC investigates the heritage of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and its predecessor, the National Bureau for Educational and Social Research (NBESR). The Council has initiated a series of activities and processes to commemorate this occasion. One of the key focus areas of this project is an archival investigation of material, be it visual, in print, audio multi-media or electronic resources, published by and about the HSRC and its predecessor organisations, the NBESR and the NCSR. The resources are digitised, described and made available for use through the HSRC Research Repository. The HSRC Archive project is managed by Ms Laetitia Louw, with the assistance of Ms Salamina Molamu, Dr Astrid Schwenke, Ms Martie Boesenberg and Ms Marie Wentzel.

Integration of library collections project
During the process of the HSRC-AISA incorporation in 2014, it was not feasible to integrate the collections of the two libraries immediately at that point. This was due to the fact that the two collections were managed on two separate Library Management Systems (catalogues), which used two completely different operating systems. At that time it was therefore, only possible to create space for the AISA collection resulting in two separate collections with different modalities.

During 2015 / 2016, the catalogues for the two collections were merged and integrated on the Millennium Library Management System. It is also very important to fully integrate the two collections physically to ensure uniformity. This will culminate into an accurate library catalogue that will be aligned with the physical presentation of one collection available in the library.

The incorporation process requires that all 35 000 AISA books be physically moved from one section in the Library, and be interfiled with the HSRC collection. Space had to be created on the shelves of the HSRC collection, to enable interfiling of the AISA books. The incorporation process further entails the adjustment of each catalogue record of each book, as well as the addition of security strips (tattle tapes) and call numbers to each individual book, for security purposes. Interfiling can only happen there-after.

Research impact assessment
By carrying out citation analysis through credible databases, it is possible to determine the citation count in respect of all published journal articles authored by HSRC staff. The process entails the identification of all accredited journal articles produced by HSRC that had a citation count of 10 or more in the 5 years prior to the current financial year-end. The IS Unit used the abstract and citation analysis tool Scopus, to track citations between publications for the number of accredited journal articles retrieved from the Research Management System (RMS).

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