The everyday life information behaviour of visually impaired students at Stellenbosch University
The purpose of the study was to investigate the everyday life information seeking behaviour of visually impaired students at Stellenbosch University. The study framed by the Every Day Life information behaviour model of Pamela McKenzie focused on the information behaviour of visually impaired students, how the visually impaired students obtain their information and the role of the Stellenbosch University library. The study was motivated by the vital need to seek out, listen to and act upon the voices of students with disabilities in an attempt to make higher education more inclusive to students with some form of disability or challenge. Twenty-one visually impaired students from various faculties of Stellenbosch University completed a questionnaire consisting of 23 questions administered by Stellenbosch University’s Braille Office. Students with visual impairments at Stellenbosch University will consult friends, family members and lecturers for information. They needed both personal and academic information. Students found it both easy and difficult to obtain needed academic information. The Internet was the major information resource used by all students. Students relied mainly on online full text journal articles and e-books obtained via the Internet, SU Library’s databases, SunScholar and e-journals for academic information. The main reasons for not using the SU library can be attributed to the inability to use printed resources, lack of facilities for visually impaired students, difficulty in navigating the physical library and lack of training in exploiting the library and its services. All students with visual impairment made use of assistive technology and relied heavily on the support and services of the Braille Office for additional academic information. The everyday behaviour of students with visual impairments at Stellenbosch University conform to McKenzie’s Everyday Life Information Behaviour model as these students sought actively to make contact with sources, identified likely sources, made use of serendipitous encounters, were were identified as information seekers and made use of people as gatekeepers to be referred to a source.