Denise Nicholson

Denise Nicholson's picture
Denise Rosemary Nicholson - BA HDip Libr (UNISA); LLM (WITS) - Was Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (1 November 1996 to 31 December 2020) (retired from Wits, but now consulting)

Denise Rosemary Nicholson - BA HDip Libr (UNISA); LLM (WITS)

Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa from 1 November 1996 to 31 December 2020 (retired from Wits, but now consulting) 

Since 2002, Denise has served a number of terms on the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions (IFLA)’s Advisory Committee for Copyright and Other Legal Matters, and is currently an Expert Advisor to this Committee.  She was a member of its Workgroup on a Treaty for Libraries and Archives (2007-2015). She is also on IFLA’s e-Lending Workgroup, and is a resource person for the Access to Information Network – Africa (ATINA).  In 2006, she was the first librarian from a developing country to attend a WIPO General Assembly and gave a presentation on ‘Libraries and the Development Agenda’. She was the SA representative on the Electronic Information for Libraries Network (EIFL) (2005-2010), and contributed to the EIFL Model Copyright Law.

She is a member of and the copyright resource person for the Library and Information Association of SA, the Ministry of Arts and Culture’s Legal Deposit Committee, and the National Council for Libraries and Information Services. She was also a member of the SA National Council for the Blind’s Copyright Alliance (2009-2014), and lobbied strongly for a Treaty for the visually impaired, as well as appropriate exceptions in our copyright law.

She is well-recognised locally and abroad for the positive role she has played in promoting access to knowledge, open access and copyright awareness.  In 1998 and 2000, she led two copyright task teams under the auspices of the SA Vice-Chancellors’ Association of SA and Committee of Technikons, which successfully challenged more restrictive proposals to amend the Copyright law. They were subsequently withdrawn by the DTI. She co-established the African Access to Knowledge Alliance in 2004, which was involved in 3 key copyright projects in Africa (2004-2010), including the 8-country African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project.  She has been very active in lobbying the Government to amend the copyright law since 1998.  She has won a number of prestigious library awards as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Citizenship Award of 2015 for her contribution to the library profession and copyright issues locally and abroad. She has many publications, and has presented at many conferences and seminars around the world.  She has also made contributions to many international position papers, documents, policies and reviews for IFLA, eIFL, UK Govt., Commonwealth of Learning, WIPO Research Studies on Limitations & Exceptions, CopySouth Project, etc.  She compiled 20 Libguides on various topics, including copyright, whilst at Wits.  She retired from Wits University in December 2020.  To contact Denise in the future, please email