University of Limpopo Information Science students UN excursion visit

3rd Year Information Science students from the University of Limpopo during a presentation on the UN and SDGs at the UNIC Pretoria library.

UNIC Pretoria: Final year Information Science students from the University of Limpopo paid a visit to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Library in Pretoria on 10 April as part of their excursion visit.

This was part of a three-day tour of libraries in Gauteng Province with the UNIC Library being the first on the list. The main purpose of the visit was to gain better understanding of the role of UN agencies in general and to find out more about the functions of UN libraries.

After a warm welcome of the team leader and the students, the programme commenced with an informative video on the structures and organization of the UN.

The video focused on the overall structure of the UN, its headquarters in New York, its main bodies, UN specialized programmes, Member States, its activities and mandate. This was followed by a screening of another video on Sustainable Development Goals  highlighting 17 set goals to be achieved by 2030.

The video screenings evoked critical questions from students such as:

  • “What strategies has the UN put in place to measure progress on the implementations of SDGs from all Member States?”
  • “How does the UN monitor progress in making sure that the SDGs are implemented accordingly?”
  • “What qualifies a country to be a member of the UN?’
  • “How are the five permanent members of the Security Council chosen?”
  • “Do all member states provide funding to the operation of all UN libraries?”

Students were informed that in recent years the library had gradually been converted into a digital platform, a process that is still being implemented. Thus, library users may access UN information material online from different databases such as the Official Document system (ODS), UN Bibliographic Information System (UNBISnet), UN Info Quest (UN-I-QUE), UN Multilingual Terminology (UNTERM), Research Guides: Document symbols as well as e-subscriptions for UN electronic documents that can be received either by email or RSS feeds. UNIC Library staff also briefed on the availability of UN journals and documents from the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, the Economic and Social Council and specialized UN agencies.

Furthermore, students were made to understand that UNIC libraries were typically reference libraries specializing in offering up-to-date digital UN information resources. They also provided limited hard copies of UN publications.

Information packs prepared by the UNIC team were then distributed among students who expressed a great deal of appreciation for the information received, lessons learned and expressed interest to work for the UN or join the internship programmes.