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Submitted by: Victor Gitau Kamau on 12 May 2016 at 00:11

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Local Content Management in Kenya Methodist University (KeMU)

By: Victor Kamau, Prof. Joseph Kiplangat and Prof. Cephas Odini

Victor Kamau; Knowledge Management Officer; Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI); or

Prof. Joseph Kiplang’at; Deputy Vice Chancellor - Administration, Planning and Infrastructure; Technical University of Kenya;

Prof. Cephas Odini; Kenya Methodist University;


Local content is the expression of locally-owned and adapted knowledge of a community. Local content management is important in increasing access to institutions’ research output; promotion of creativity and innovativeness of the members; and improvement of an institution’s online visibility. This study aimed at investigating local content management and developing an effective and efficient local content management framework for Kenya Methodist University (KeMU). The study’s objectives were: to establish the types of local content at KeMU; find out how it is captured, processed, and disseminated; investigate how library patrons access, retrieve and use local content; establish the challenges; and develop a framework for management of local content at KeMU. Two models informed the study: Local Content vs. Global Content Expression and Application Grid and Content Landscape Model. The sample was drawn from deans/heads of programmes, librarians, students and lecturers. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Academic Affairs, the University Librarian and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Director were included as key informants. The study showed that there existed several types of local content but there were no agreed procedures for its collection, processing and dissemination. The study recommends a local content policy to be developed and presents a framework for local content management at KeMU.

Keywords: Local content, Institutional Repositories, University Library


According to Atnafu (2005), local content is “content that reflects the language, the culture, and the real life of a locality or a country”. He contests that any information that can be localized (made linguistically and culturally appropriate to a target locale) qualifies to be local content. Bruegge, C. et al (2011) in giving recognition to local content notes;

“The content that is most important to people is typically in their own language and is relevant to the communities in which they live and work. These communities may be defined by their location, culture, language, religion, ethnicity or area of interest and individuals may belong to many communities at the same time. Further, communities evolve so what is relevant will change over time. This relevant content is often referred to as “local content”. The term community is used in a broad way to include not only local professional communities (public and private), but also non-professional content creators and users” (p. 4).

Most academic institutions do not have specific repositories for locally-produced content rather they consider all content that is academic, that is, theses and dissertations, research papers, technical papers and electronic books that the university has rights or have been donated as content for institutional repository. The idea that a university repository should contain content for the local community rather than from the local community is emphasized by the Digital Content Landscape Model that presents both locally-produced and globally-sourced content as digital assets of a university (Conway, 2008).

Tjiek (2005) notes that local e-content management provides an opportunity for documentation of locally-produced content and gives the digital library system (DesaInformasi) developed for Petra Christian University as an example that has been very beneficial to various academic departments and non-academic units which had struggled to find some kind of documentation systems for their locally-produced works or resources.

Taking a Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) as a community, this paper considers local content in a university setting to be the expression of any knowledge owned and adapted by the KeMU community members; lecturers, non-teaching staff, researchers, administrators, students and various groups, societies, associations and clubs of members of the university community..

KeMU is a private university sponsored by the Methodist Church in Kenya. It has campuses in Nairobi, Nakuru, Nyeri and Mombasa. It offers certificates, diploma, bachelor, masters and PhD in several courses availed through School of Business and Economics, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Science and Technology and School of Education and Social Sciences. It has a population of over 12,000 students. Its library is automated and uses Koha integrated library management system. The digital library services include e-journals, information literacy, e-books and website creation, updating and maintenance. The objectives of this paper are: to establish the types of local content at KeMU; to find out how it is captured, processed, and disseminated; to investigate how library patrons access, retrieve and use local content; to establish the challenges; and to develop a framework for management of local content at KeMU.


KeMU, like other universities in Kenya, is equally affected by the inadequate experience and expertise needed in management of local content. ICTs are yet to be fully utilized. Instead of assisting in promoting the expression of locally-adapted knowledge, ICTs have been used to push foreign content towards the locals and in effect diminishing visibility and accessibility of local content.

Although there is availability of local content, its identification, capturing, processing and dissemination is below par compared with foreign content. Information materials that were externally sourced were easily identifiable, processed and disseminated while most of local content types were not available for access, retrieval and use in the library.

The inapplicability of research findings to local problems is as a result of information sources, theories and concepts that inform the studies which are derived from foreign content that is easy to access and use via electronic media.

KeMU library had a website where researchers and students could access online journals. Most of the journals were managed by publishers in the developed countries whereas there were no links to locally-published journals. However, no study had been conducted to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of locally-owned and adapted knowledge.

Literature Review

Yu (2005) and Warren (2001) consider Content Management (CM) as a process of collecting, organizing, categorizing and structuring informational resources of any type and format so that they can be saved, retrieved, published, updated and re-purposed or reused in any way desirable. These CM processes as presented by Yu requires a content management system that has all the features to meet these processes. Effective content management should include consistent and reliable methods to identify requirements, manage authoritative sources of information, and assemble content on-demand to meet customer needs. Content management can also help content authors and site managers to organize, control, and direct information. (

The idea that a university repository should contain content for the local community other than from the local community is emphasized by the digital content landscape model that presents both locally-produced and globally-sourced content as digital assets of a university (Conway, 2007).

Regardless of the contents of an institutional repository, Yearwood-Jackman (2009) gives the following as the management activities involved:

  • Developing an Institutional Repository (IR) from scratch
  • Embedding an IR in the research management processes
  • Managing content after it has been deposited in the IR
  • Integrating an IR into the research management systems and business processes of an institution
Cohen & Schmidle (2007) give three priorities considered in identifying content at the Catherwood Library. These priorities are: firstly, any material (scholarly articles, congressional testimony, etc.) emanating from the university (resident and extension); secondly, scholarly material published or produced by the university; and lastly non-university-produced documents.

Related to last priority is a Digital Repository Submission Agreement that offers non-locally produced content a place in the repository as long as the contributors agree with the submission agreement (Cohen & Schmidle, 2007). For this to work, the policy should be clear on the definition of local content and what needs to be done to consider content submitted by non-members of the university community as local content. Genoni (2004) in considering the motivation for institutional repositories states that “faculties consider institutional repositories to be particularly well-suited for various types of gray literature and other fugitive and unpublished material”. This material include: Preprints; Working papers; Theses and dissertations; Research and technical reports; Conference proceedings; newsletters and bulletins; grant applications; Status reports; Committee reports and memoranda; Statistical reports; Technical documentation; and Surveys.


Source: Ballantyne (2002)

IICD and Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology project came up with a simple grid comprising two axes to distinguish between the expression and application of content. Each has a global and local end.

Universities are affected by the northeast quadrant by way of availability of open access journals on the Internet, international search engines such as Google and Yahoo! The fact that the content within these sources is meant for global users and international application, reveals the role of the library in enhancing the use of global content through provision of Internet services and encouraging use of international websites, open source content and search engines.

KeMU subscribes to the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI), an initiative of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). This programme enables Kenyan institutions of higher learning and research to have access to thousands of scientific journals through the Kenya Libraries and Information Services Consortium (KLISC). KeMU therefore encouraged and played a major role in pushing the global content to the local university community.

The locally-owned content should be created, preserved/processed, and disseminated (UNESCO, 2011) in a manner that the the university community can use. The university’s role is to produce and disseminate knowledge (Badat, 2009) in the society and being so it produces a lot of content both electronically and manually. The knowledge produced falls in the southwest quadrant and can be referred to as local content as it is the expression of the locally owned knowledge. This knowledge can, however, be disseminated within the local community context and the global context thus it can also fall in the southeast quadrant. These two quadrants reveal that local content is not only content for the local community but also content from the local community. KeMU generates knowledge in both electronic and non-electronic formats but how it is processed and disseminated determines its application.

This model reveals that local content creation (collecting, linking and capturing) is dependent on how well both local and global content is applied to produce/create it. The preservation/processing (collating, recording and organizing) and dissemination (packaging, repackaging, marketing and distribution) also determine the application of local content – whether it will be applied/utilized locally or globally. Bruegge et al. (2011) concur with this revelation by outlining the steps of local content development as creation, preservation, dissemination and utilization.

Extended Conway Content Landscape Model


Source: Conway (2007).

The Extended Conway Content Landscape Model (ECLM) is a multi-dimensional framework that addresses three outstanding issues with digital asset management in universities. First, the model acknowledges the broader academic mission within which digital content is created, acquired (bought and licensed), managed and preserved, and distributed and used. Second, the model provides for selection processes and priority setting exercises based on the dual perspectives of content creator/stakeholders and content user/stakeholders. Third, the model identifies four digital content property scales that provide an analytical foundation for assigning management priorities to particular classes of digital content (Conway, 2008).

This model is a static representation of content of institutional repositories in universities and captures the management activities that are carried out on digital content in universities such as creation, identification, acquisition, preservation and dissemination. This model looks at how e-teaching, e-research, e-records and e-publishing relate with the variables that describe the core digital content management challenges that universities face: property rights, structure, source and possession.

ECLM presents the challenges that are faced by universities in management of digital content (local and global) as an asset. These challenges are: property rights to the digital content for preservation and access; Structure of the content that can be tight or loose; source of content can be either locally or globally; and procession or ownership of content that can be university owned or have licensed access.

Comprising the content is: digitized content that was not born digital it is loose in structure and internally sourced; Managed content that is within University’s information systems and has property rights and is tightly structured; Licensed content that university has no property rights and has no ownership; and acquired content that the university owns and sourced externally.

A closer look at ECLM reveals the presentation of local content and the major challenges universities face. It can be deduced, from the definition of local content that the half on the left of Extended Conaway Content Landscape represents the local content and the one on the right represents the global content. The left represents content that the university is very likely to have property rights and it is locally sourced. The structure differs as it can be tight/highly structured like the campus publications, faculty publications and university journals and could be loosely structured like lecture notes or individual digital images. Possession is not a challenge when looking at the local content but property rights, source, and structure remain.



In-depth interviews were used to collect data from sampled lecturers, librarians, head of programmes and informants while print questionnaires were issued to sampled students at all KeMU campuses. From a study population of 12,789, a sample of 442 was achieved made up of 373 students, 10 librarians, 49 lecturers and 10 heads of programmes. The study also depended on the head ICT, DVC AA and University Librarian as informants.

79% of the questionnaires were filled and 53% of lecturers were interviewed. All sampled librarians, heads of programmes and the three informants were interviewed.


Types of Local Content at KeMU

The study has established the following as the types of local content at the university.

  1. Lecture notes: materials that lecturers develop to assist them in teaching. They are made available orally, on white board, issued out as handouts, or disseminated via class group emails or to individual student emails. Some lecture notes are also availed to students through the e-learning system.
  2. Journals published by KeMU: “International Journal of Professional Practice” (IJPP) accepts papers from within and without KeMU.
  3. Research papers: mostly published by other journals apart from the IJPP.
  4. Theses and practicum reports: at master’s degree level, project reports at bachelor’s level and practicum reports for industrial attachment.
  5. Magazines published by KeMU: “Bits and Bytes” magazine used to published but at the time of study it was not being published.
  6. KeMU websites: KeMU main and library website. The main website presents information on the University in general and has links to other sub-sites such as e-learning, students’ management system and the library website. Library website has information about the library and links to online information resources such as e-books, and e-journals. News, pictures and announcements are also made on the website.
  7. Official publications by KeMU: brochures, news releases, adverts, calendars and timetables..
  8. ODLM manuals: These are information materials written to assist the students in distance learning mode.
  9. KeMUSO Publication: Through various clubs, the student organization had created a lot of content in form of posters, announcements, notices, pictures and webpages. These, too, comprised local content.
  10. Past examination papers: managed by the wiki-based past papers management system. They are availed for use via the library website.
The above types of local content fit the definition given by Crow (2002) “scholarly produced, submitted or sponsored by an institutions’ faculty (and optionally students) or other agents, non-ephemeral, and licensable in perpetuity.”

Local Content management

Past examination papers and thesis and dissertations were actively collected by the library and were managed as follows:

  • Past papers were uploaded to the past papers management system with the name as course code of the unit followed by its title, the semester and the year the paper was done. Users could view and download past papers as soon as they were uploaded.
  • Theses and dissertations were deposited by the originating teaching departments and were classified by an in-house classification scheme that gave a call number showing the department and subject, entered into the Library system and shelved for access.
The use of local content was minimal as compared to that of foreign content. Students mostly used past papers (88%), lecture notes (52%), and KeMU Publications (43%). Local content use took a smaller share of 36% compared with external content (64%). The Internet was the most used source of information and was the reason for more access to foreign content.

The access, retrieval and use of local content depended on awareness of its existence. Very few students were aware of the available local content. Lecturers had authored books and articles that were published but only a few learners (12%) were conversant with their existence.

Retrieval of local content was dependent on whether the material sought is found. The library was depended upon for books (60%), magazines (20%), and theses and research reports (92%) while past papers (90%) and KeMU Official publication (91%) were sourced from the library website. Lecturers were depended upon for lecture notes (100%).

Local Content Management Challenges

The challenges faced by LCM can be grouped into: Policy, Technical and Social related

Policy Related Challenges

These included lack of incentive to KeMU community members to encourage them to publish, Inadequate funding for research, priority was given to global content during acquisition of library collection, research and extension department/directorate was less than a year old since it was set up and had not yet developed policies, only one local general Journal (IJPP) that did not attract researchers who would rather publish their work in a specialized journal, lack of coordination between departments leading to conflicting roles management of local content, Copyright issues that affected the local published works.

Technical Related Challenges

Inadequate application of ICTs in the management of local content, apart from the main website and the library website, other departments did not have online presence for their content, only past papers were electronically managed, Information/data security was a serious challenge as lecturers, librarians and students perceived ICTs as insecure.

Social Related Challenges

There existed a negative attitude to local content, owners/creators of local content held it close to their hearts and did not want to lose ownership of their work.


While KeMU has local content it needs to develop a local content policy that will guide its management thus bringing to a halt duplication and conflict of roles, neglected types of local content, inaccessible, unaccounted for and unused but important local content. While the library has adequate and well managed collection, it is more of global than local content and needs to put more emphasis on collecting local content. KeMU community should be made more aware of existing local content as this will increase its popularity and use.


Local content Policy

The authors recommend a local content policy be developed given that there were undocumented procedures, adhoc collection methods and uncoordinated management of various types of local content at KeMU.

The local content policy should be developed by a Local Content Policy Committee chaired by the librarian and drawing members from all the teaching, administration and students’ departments. This initiative would see all stakeholders’ opinions, needs, requirements and even grievances accommodated during policy formulation thereby increasing its acceptability and applicability. The policy should give guidance in details on the following issues: Definition of Local content, Procedures, Incentives for creators, Responsibilities of Departments, Funding and Staffing for the local content management, Training of users, Awareness Creation.

Proposed Model

The proposed framework presents local content management as three-part process: Creation/collection through; Management (collation, collection, processing and dissemination); and Use/access of local content.


The framework recognizes key players, the activities for each part and presents local content management as a spiral continuum that grows in creation/collection, management and access/use. The continuum starts with creation/collection of local content that is then collected, collated and organized into repository/storage and finally availed for access and use. The framework foresees that with accessibility and use of local content, more content is created/collected leading to the management of increased volume of local content thus the outward expansion of the spiral.


Local content such as research reports, books published by KeMU, magazines, journals, yearbooks, project and practicum reports, theses and dissertations, lecture notes, past papers, presentations, meetings, websites, blogs, poems, pictures videos etc. can be created/submitted by KeMU community. Other content can be adopted such as links within blogs, references in research papers and supporting documents for project or practicum reports. Local content can be created or collected in print or digital formats.

Activities in this part include: publishing, updating blogs, websites updates, uploading pictures and videos to Local content repository, submitting research, project or practicum reports to departments, preparation of lecture notes, setting examination papers and so on.

The major player in this part is the creator/submitter. This could be individuals, departments, collaboration or group of persons or special offices. The work presented need not belong to the submitter but must be created/collected or adapted by a member of the KeMU community.


Management part presents the collection of the local content, collation, organizing and dissemination for the purposes of efficient and effective search and retrieval.

The major players in this part are the librarians. They can collect both digital and print local content. This can be made possible by local content management system where they request creators/submitters to physically deliver, email or direct them to local content site via online links. For print content, librarians can encourage tendering of materials in the library or visit creating departments to collect local content. Organizing and collation can be done by applying cataloguing, indexing and classification rules just like they do with any other information materials like books.


Users are the major players in this part; in KeMU, users comprise students and the university employees. Digital local content can be accessed via local content management system or through the OPAC or library website. Depending on features of the local content management systems, users are able to download, link, read online, copy, print, share, tag, comment or recommend local content to other users. For print materials of local content, users will be required to physically search the OPAC and locate the materials from the shelves. Depending on library rules, they may be allowed to borrow or make copies of the information materials.

The Environment:

The model brings out three major issues in the environment for local content management. These are: Technological such as software, hardware, Internet and computer access, technological knowhow, support for users and administrators, compatibility issues, accessibility, security, user rights and platform versions; Social such as user privacy, beliefs, benefits, individual vs. community ownership, equity in participation, training among similar others; and Policy issues such as funding, staffing, responsibilities of participants and players, content type, procedures,


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Topic attachments
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PNGpng casestudy.png r1 manage 96.8 K 01 Dec 2015 - 09:10 VictorKamau CaseStudyImage
PNGpng conaway.png r1 manage 152.5 K 29 Jun 2016 - 11:05 VictorKamau  
PNGpng extended.png r1 manage 156.1 K 29 Jun 2016 - 11:13 VictorKamau  
PNGpng kemu_model.png r1 manage 89.1 K 29 Jun 2016 - 14:00 VictorKamau  
PNGpng kemu_model_1.png r1 manage 89.1 K 29 Jun 2016 - 14:01 VictorKamau  
Topic revision: r9 - 13 Jul 2016 - VictorKamau
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