Archive for: May, 2012

Job Posting: Science Librarian, York University Libraries

May 30 2012 Published by under job

Come work instead of me!

Below is a posting for a 3-year contractually limited appointment in my unit. I'm chair of the search committee, so feel free to ask away with any questions about the position. I'll answer them to the best of my ability given the limitations of being on the committee.

As it happens, I'll no longer be the department head of Steacie Science & Engineering Library during the three year period of the appointment. For the first year, the successful candidate will be replacing me while I do a one-year acting Associate University Librarian appointment. The second year, I'll be back at Steacie but no longer as department head (my term is up) and the position will be replacing one of my colleagues while he is on sabbatical. The third year will be replacing me during my sabbatical.

This is a reposting:

Position Rank: Contractually Limited Appointment
Discipline/Field: Science Librarian
Home Faculty: Libraries
Home Department/Area/Division: Steacie Science and Engineering Library
Affiliation/Union: YUFA
Position Start Date: August 1, 2012
Position End Date: July 31, 2015

Science Librarian - Contractually Limited Appointment

York University Libraries seek a self-directed and public service-oriented Science Librarian based in the Steacie Science & Engineering Library.

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto - Canada's most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 62,000 students, faculty and staff, as well as 240,000 alumni worldwide. York's 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries.

The Science Librarian will be responsible for faculty liaison, collection development and the delivery of information literacy programs for assigned disciplines and will participate in research consultations and outreach activities to departments and research centres. Responsibilities include selection of information resources, collection management and evaluation in such fields as engineering, computer science, mathematics, kinesiology and science and technology studies. He/she will work individually and as part of a team to develop and provide reference services and information literacy programs to York's community of users taking full advantage of the online learning and web environments. She/he will also participate in project and committee work for York University Libraries and the University. Some evening and weekend work is required.

Steacie Science and Engineering Library is one of four libraries within York University Libraries. The Steacie Science and Engineering Library attracts a half million visitors a year and provides specialized resources, and reference and information literacy sessions to the science, engineering, and health programs of York University. The Library takes pride in its extensive information literacy program and online learning support initiatives. Four full-time librarians and seven full-time support staff are currently based in the Steacie Science & Engineering Library.

Qualifications:

  • An ALA-accredited MLS or equivalent.
  • Educational background in or library experience relevant to science or engineering.
  • Knowledge of science and technology literature and reference resources, and awareness of emerging trends in scholarly communication.
  • Understanding of concepts, goals, and methods of information literacy instruction.
  • A potential for excellence in teaching and an ability to teach in a variety of settings and formats.
  • Demonstrated expertise with online content management platforms such as WordPress or LibGuides.
  • Strong client-centred service philosophy and evidence of professional initiative and leadership.
  • Ability to handle multiple responsibilities and projects concurrently.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work effectively and collegially with a diversity of colleagues and clients.
  • Interest in research and professional development

This is a 3-year, contractually-limited appointment with the designation of Adjunct Librarian and is appropriate for a librarian with up to five years of post-MLS experience. Librarians and archivists at York University have academic status and are members of the York University Faculty Association bargaining unit (http://www.yufa.org/). Salary is commensurate with qualifications. The position is available from August 1, 2012. All York University positions are subject to budgetary approval.

York University is an Affirmative Action Employer. The Affirmative Action Program can be found on York's website at www.yorku.ca/acadjobs or a copy can be obtained by calling the affirmative action office at 416-736-5713. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority. Temporary entry for citizens of the U.S.A. and Mexico may apply per the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

York University's resources include centres relating to gender equity, race and ethnic relations, sexual harassment, human rights, and wellness. York University encourages attitudes of respect and non-discrimination toward persons of all ethnic and religious groups, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Deadline for the submission of applications is June 18, 2012. Applications should include a covering letter that relates qualifications to the requirements of the position, a current curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of three referees. Applications should be sent to:

Chair, Steacie Librarian Appointment Committee
York University Libraries
310 Scott Library
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Fax: 416-736-5451
Email: yulapps@yorku.ca

Applications should be sent by mail, or by email or fax with a hardcopy following.

Posting End Date: June 18, 2012

2 responses so far

Friday Fun: Celebrate Christopher Lee's 90th birthday!

May 25 2012 Published by under friday fun

Christopher Lee -- long one of my absolute favourite actors -- is celebrating his 90th birthday on Sunday May 27.

I have fond memories of Lee as Dracula in the Hammer films of the 1950s and 1960s which I watched on TV as a very terrified little tyke. In fact, I can't imagine that today's parents would indulge their kids as much as mine did when it comes to watching extreme horror on tv. I mean, I was probably 7 or 8 when I started watching those old Hammer and other horror films.

Anyways, I seem no worse for wear.

And of course more recently I've really enjoyed his roles in the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings films. He'll be in The Hobbit too, as Saruman again, but apparently something's been worked out so he won't have to travel to New Zealand.

Lee has a volume of memoirs that's well worth checking out: Lord of Misrule: The Autobiography of Christopher Lee. His website is also very fun. If you're interested in exploring more, there's also tons of links to his films on Amazon.. And a classical heavy metal CD, Charlemagne: By the Sword & The Cross, which I have but which isn't probably for most people. Don't say I didn't warn you about that one.

And all this got triggered in my brain because I saw a post on blastr inviting us all to Celebrate Christopher Lee's 90th with 15 awesome sci-fi moments. Check 'em out, they're wonderful! And discover some films you've never heard of and will definitely want to watch.

No responses yet

An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada

I've been posting quite a bit recently on the disastrous record of the current Conservative government here in Canada, especially in regards to how they treat information, science and the environment. Sadly, I have way too many posts in the works along these lines.

The other day a post I saw on the Deciphering Science blog that really blew me away. It perfectly captures every important detail about the Harper government and their total contempt for science and disregard for the environment.

And with the author's kind permission I'm reposting it here, from May 18, 2012: An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada

Dear Everyone,

My name is Naomi. I am Canadian. I worked for Environment Canada, our federal environmental department, for several years before our current Conservative leadership (under Stephen Harper) began decimating environmentalism in Canada. I, along with thousands and thousands of federal science employees lost any hope of future work. Their attitude towards the environment is ‘screw research that contradicts the economic growth, particularly of the oil sands’. They have openly and officially denigrated anyone that supports the environment and opposes big-money oil profit as ‘radicals’ (http://tinyurl.com/7wwf8dp).

Every day in Canada, new information about their vendetta on science and the environment becomes quietly public and keeps piling up. I have been privy to much first-hand information still because I retain friendships with my ex-colleagues (though my blood pressure hates me for it).

While I was working there, scientists were effectively muzzled from speaking to the media without prior confirmation with Harper’s media team (http://tinyurl.com/7bnsqp4) – usually denied, and when allowed, totally controlled. Scientists were threatened with job loss if they said anything in an interview that was not exactly what the media team had told them to say. This happened in 2008. The public didn’t find out for years.

During one of my contracts, I was manager of a large, public database set. Contact information for all database managers was available for anyone. I knew what was going on with the information and could answer questions immediately and personally. During this time, I noticed that the media team started asking me “What would I say” to certain questions. I answered unwittingly. After a certain period of time, I noticed that all contact information had been removed from the internet –eliminating the opportunity for a citizen to inquire directly about these public data sets without contacting the media team. The Conservatives effectively removed another board from the bridge between science and the public, and I had inadvertently helped.

Since then, the Conservative government has been laying off thousands and thousands of full-fledged scientific employees that have been performing research for decades at Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Parks Canada (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/8xtkaro , http://tinyurl.com/7gvzc7r, http://tinyurl.com/clgn97u ), shutting down entire divisions and radically decimating environmental protection and stewardship in a matter of a couple years.

I am afraid for my country. Canada is the second largest land mass in the world – though our population is small, you can be sure that when a country that encompasses 7% of the world’s land mass, and has the largest coastline in the world says “screw it” to environmental protection, there will be massive global repercussions.

The Conservative leadership have admitted to shutting down environmental research groups on climate change because “they didn’t like the results” (http://tinyurl.com/7kpqk7d), are decimating the Species at Risk Act (our national equivalent of the IUCN Red list), are decimating habitat protection for fisheries, are getting rid of one of the most important water research facilities in the world (Experimental Lakes Area – has been operational since 1968, and allows for long-term ecosystem studies [http://tinyurl.com/cdygbdk] ), are getting rid of almost all scientists that study contaminants in the environment, have backed out of the Kyoto protocol – and the list goes on and on and on.

Entire divisions of scientific research are being eliminated. Our land, our animals, our plants, our environment are losing all the protection that has been building for decades – a contradictory stance to the rest of the world. (Please see their proposed omni-bill that basically tells the environment to go screw itself, while also being presented in an undemocratic fashion that limits debate on any of the 70+ changes [http://tinyurl.com/89ys2nf]).

David Schindler, a professor from the University of Alberta (and founder of ELA) quoted. “I think we have a government that considers science an inconvenience.”

I am writing this to implore every single person to please – look into this subject, and help us, help ourselves. Contact your MP, the Fisheries minister, Stephen Harper, anyone, everyone. I can’t sit by and just post rants on my Facebook page anymore. Share this letter, discuss, anything. Canada is an important nation environmentally, and our leadership doesn’t give a fig for science or the environment. But we do. This Conservative minority leadership was voted in on a thin string in the lowest voter election turnout in recent history, but thanks to our ridiculous voting laws, have 100% full power to do whatever they want. And in the name of short-term monetary oil profit, they have realized that progressive science and the environment are threats (obstacles) to their goals, and are doing so many things to eliminate both.

We are depressed, and frustrated, and mad, and need all the help we can get to protect the value of science and our environment. In the age of globalization, intentionally non-progressive leadership is going to affect everyone. We share our waters, air, and cycles with all of you. Science IS a candle in the dark, and we cannot let greed extinguish that flame. What happens in Canada – will happen everywhere.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

A Canadian that cares about science and the environment

**Update (May 22, 2012). There has been a huge overwhelming response to this letter. Over 40,000 people have viewed it, with hundreds of comments. There are a lot of different organizations that want to be part of a larger movement. There are also quite a few scientists who may want to speak out, but still cannot. I encourage anyone who wants to contribute and organize, and may desire to do it more discreetly (ie: anonymous and or/not as a public comment), to email me at
deciphering.science@gmail.com. Please let your colleagues know as well. I will never publish your information unless you want me to, and will be organizing interested parties somehow, so that we can effect greater change – for ourselves, our freedom, and our beautiful planet.

This letter is an amazing compilation of the sins of the Harper government. I agree with pretty well every single word of it.

The author has a follow-up post as well.

And some of my own previous posts:

And, sadly, more to come.

One response so far

Sign the petition to require open access to US taxpayer-funded research

Today is #OAMonday.

It marks the launch of a petition on the Whitehouse web site to "Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research."

Here is the text of the petition:

We petition the obama administration to:

Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.

We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.

The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.

Created: May 13, 2012

And some further context supplied by the organizers (via Cameron Neylon):

2. The Ask to Others

To sign the petition:

  • Have to be 13 years or older
  • Have to create an account on whitehouse.gov, https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions
  • This first requires giving a name and an email address and then clicking the validation link sent to that address
  • Click to sign the petition3. Further Context

    After years of work on promoting policy change to make federally-funded research available on the Internet, and after winning the battle to implement a public access policy at NIH, it has become clear that being on the right side of the issue is necessary but not sufficient. We've had the meetings, done the hearings, replied to the requests for information.

    But we're opposed in our work by a small set of publishers who profit enormously from the existing system, even though there is no evidence that the NIH policy has had any measurable impact on their business models. They can - and do - outspend those of us who have chosen to make a huge part of our daily work the expansion of access to knowledge. This puts the idea of access at a disadvantage. We know there is a serious debate about the extension of public access to taxpayer funded research going on right now in the White House, but we also know that we need more than our current approaches to get that extension made into federal policy.

    The best approach that we have yet to try is to make a broad public appeal for support, straight to the people. The Obama Administration has created a web platform to petition the White House directly called We The People. Any petition receiving more than 25,000 digital signatures is placed on the desk of the President's Chief of Staff and must be integrated into policy and political discussions. But there's a catch - a petition only has 30 days to gather the required number of signatures to qualify.

    We can get 25,000 signatures. And if we not only get 25,000, but an order of magnitude more, we can change the debate happening right now.

    Next week we will publish our petition and the 30 day cycle begins. What we're asking you to do is to leverage your personal and professional networks to get the word out.

    You can do this in any way that makes you feel comfortable. A blog post, an email to constituencies, a tweet, a facebook share, you name it - something that tells thousands of people "I support this petition, I'm signing this petition, and I thought you should know about it too." Because this isn't just slacktivism with a "like" or a retweet - people need to go to the White House website, enter their name and email address, and hit the button.

    Qualified signers must be 13 years old or more, and have a valid email address. That's all.

    The goal is not just to get 25,000, but to get far more to show the White House that this issue matters to people, not just a few publishers.

    We are launching the campaign on Monday May 21. The petition will go live late Sunday night May 20, so that the waves can start in the EU and sweep west with the sunrise. We're asking you to turn on your networks on Monday morning.

    Thanks for considering this. If we can all come together to get the word out at once, and stay behind it for 30 days, we have a real chance to get access to taxpayer funded research across the entire government, and send a signal that the people have a voice in this debate, not just publishers and activists.

And the organizers are:

This campaign is the personal, pro bono work of open access advocates, including Michael Carroll, Heather Joseph, Mike Rossner, and John Wilbanks.

I have signed the petition (#145) and I would encourage all my readers to consider doing so as well. The goal is 25,000 signatures.

Why is this important to me, a Canadian?

First of all, the US federal government funds an enormous amount of research and getting open access to that research would be hugely beneficial for the entire world.

Second of all, if the US follows this path it creates a precedent for other nations as well. Currently the Canadian federal government is not fertile ground for advancing anything related to science or knowledge, but if enough pressure is exerted and enough precedents are set, then who knows what can come of it. And this is not to mention the many more enlightened nations who may be influenced to adopt a similar policy based on an example set by the US.

I'll be updating this post as more information becomes available.

One response so far

Friday Fun: "Fussy" dung beetles refusing to eat shit any more

May 18 2012 Published by under friday fun

Yes, it's been that kind of day.

"Fussy" dung beetles refusing to eat shit any more

To zoologists, they are nature's great recyclers, the 5,000 or so species that feed on faeces and maintain the ecological balance of the deserts, farmlands, forests and grasslands of the world. However, this may be about to change, as a younger generation of dung beetle tell their parents they 'are not eating that shit'.

The generation gap has truly struck in the Scarabaeoidea world. Older dung beetles point out that millions of generations before them have been happy to eat shit and they are lucky not to have to eat or drink anything else, because the dung provides all the necessary nutrients. Young dung beetles, however, are not listening.

No responses yet

York University Faculty Association (YUFA) Library Chapter letters to Minister James Moore in protest of the cuts to Library and Archives Canada

May 17 2012 Published by under Canada, Politics, yorku

My union, the Library chapter of The York University Faculty Association (YUFA) has released a couple of open letters to The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages in the current Canadian government.

The letters protest the current cuts to staff and programs at Library and Archives Canada. The letters do sketch out the context but you can read more here, here and here.

I completely support these letters. You can consider them to be related to my series on the Canadian War on Science, perhaps under the title of The Canadian War on Library and Archives. In fact, there may be another post coming with just that title.

Some previous blog posts related to this topic:


Open letter to James Moore regarding cuts at Library and Archives Canada

[A PDF of this letter is also available.]

The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

16 May 2012

Dear Minister:

On April 30, 2012, administrative staff at Library and Archives Canada announced that over two hundred professional staff had been served notice that their jobs were "under review," and that an estimated 105 positions are slated to be eliminated. This is an estimated 20% of the national institution's professional complement.

We protest this action, and on behalf of our communities we request you reconsider.

(The announcement was made in tandem with the news that the National Archival Development Program (NADP) and Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) were eliminated. Without prior consultation or warning to affected stakeholders, the decision was made to cut vital programs and services which feed into the pan-Canadian network of archives which serve researchers from across the country and internationally. We protest this action equally, and address it in a separate letter.)

Elimination of professional staff positions

These cuts include the elimination of 21 of the 61 archivists and archival assistants that deal with non-governmental records (materials that include the records of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, hockey legend Maurice Richard and musical genius Glenn Gould among many, many others); the reduction of digitization and circulation staff by 50% (in contradiction of your own public statements that the cuts were to improve online access to records, a process that relies on digitization); a significant reduction in preservation and conservation staff; and the closure of the interlibrary loans unit.

We are deeply troubled by the seemingly arbitrary decisions of ministry staff in making these cuts. Not only do these cuts make increasingly difficult the responsibilities of the remaining archivists and librarians, they also limit the ability of researchers in Canada and abroad to study and research our shared history.

Elimination of professional development opportunities

We are also concerned with the denial of leave or funding by the head of Library Archives Canada for LAC-BAC staff to present academic papers and attend professional conferences hosted by national organizations such as the Canadian Librarians Association. It seems uncharitable that he himself has been invited to present plenary speeches at both events yet prevents his own professionally trained staff from doing the same. Professional development is absolutely essential for institutions such as LAC-BAC to thrive, grow and be exposed to new ideas, technology and organizational approaches. To deny staff the time and funding to attend these professional gatherings is to invite institutional stagnation and apathy.

Closure of Interlibrary Loan Unit

Every week our Resource Sharing staff receives material from LAC-BAC for our faculty, students and staff researchers. Much of this material is scarce or unique: publications of Canadian serials, government reports and dissertations that are not available through commercial vendors. The closing of the ILL department at LAC-BAC will stifle scholarly research and prevent students and scholars who lack financial means from conducting their research at all. It is the elimination of an effective circuit of information, and replacing it with an antiquated, counterintuitive silo will prevent academic inquiry. As Joanna Duy of Concordia University has stated:

My own recent research has shown that university research indicators (total research funding dollars and number of publications produced) at Canadian universities are significantly positively correlated with the amount of Interlibrary Loan borrowing activity occurring at those institutions. This suggests what librarians have known for years: that there is a solid link between research activity and Interlibrary Loan. And while one might assume that, with the wealth of resources available to scholars online, Interlibrary Loan activity at academic institutions would be declining--in fact the reverse is true at Concordia, and a recent article published in the United States notes that Interlibrary Loan activity in that country's universities has also been on a steady upward climb for the last 35 years.[1]

On the most practical level, the majority of repository institutions operate on the assumption that the copy held at LAC-BAC is the authoritative copy that will always be preserved and accessible. What use is this approach when our national institution is shutting its doors to citizens who cannot afford to travel to consult these materials?

Libraries and archives are a pillar of Canadian heritage and democracy. The holdings of our national library and archival repository support research for publishing, science, technology development and many federal government initiatives. The impact of these cuts will be immediate and its effects will reverberate for years to come. They will undo decades of careful development and preservation of our shared collective memory.

We ask you to reconsider the elimination of these positions.

Yours sincerely,

William Denton

Web Librarian / Steward, Library Chapter, York University Faculty Association

[1] Joanna Duy, citing Collette Mak, "Resource Sharing among ARL Libraries in the US: 35 Years of Growth," Interlending and Document Supply 39, no. 1 (2011): 30.

===========================================================

Open letter to James Moore about National Archival Development Program (NADP) and Canadian Council of Archives (CCA)

[The text here is incomplete and does not include two lists of projects where York University has used the NDAP and CCA. Please see the full PDF of the letter.]

The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

16 May 2012

Dear Minister:

On April 30, 2012, administrative staff at Library Archives Canada announced that the National Archival Development Program (NADP) and the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) were eliminated. Without prior consultation or warning to affected stakeholders, the decision was made to cut vital programs and services which feed into the pan-Canadian network of archives which serve researchers from across the country and internationally.

The CCA first received federal support in 1986 and over the last twenty-six years its distribution of federal funding has efficiently and successfully supported the development and advancement of archives in communities throughout Canada. The NADP cost the citizens of Canada $1.71 million a year to operate. In turn, it assists in the operation of the following programs:

  • Outreach and educational activities in communities to help small institutions manage their treasures
  • Development of the national on-line catalogue of archival descriptions, and its provincial and territorial counterparts, so all archives, including the very small, can reach Canadians
  • Provision of archival and preservation advice to archives
  • Job exposure for new graduates from Canada's archival and information studies programs
  • Access to archival holdings information on-line
  • Cataloguing of archival materials to make them accessible to the public
  • Training opportunities for local archives run by volunteers or one-person operations
  • Site assessments to both urban and rural archives, to safeguard Canada's documentary heritage
  • Preservation of at-risk documents and other archival materials, including electronic recordsThe NADP is a program with direct positive impact on Canadians in their own communities. The elimination of NADP will have a far reaching and devastating impact across Canada since we are now facing the collapse of the Canadian Archival System comprised of Provincial/Territorial Councils and their members in historical societies, religious archives, municipal archives, Aboriginal archives, ethnic minority archives, educational archives, and others--a system that is critical to the 150th anniversary of Confederation which we will celebrate in less than five years from now.

    Cutting this program will have a significant impact across Canada. In addition to six staff members losing their jobs at the CCA Secretariat, eleven archives advisors across the country will lose their jobs. Several provincial and territorial archives councils have suspended operations and thirteen are at risk of collapsing within one to six months; 90 projects for the 2012-2013 year have been cancelled, resulting in job losses at 74 archival institutions; the national office of the CCA will be closing, requiring that two organizations that share premises, the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) and the Canadian Historical Association must also move their operations; operations that support the development of ARCHIVESCANADA.ca[1], the national catalogue of archival descriptions are endangered; and managerial assistance to the National Archival Appraisal Board (NAAB) and the North American Archival Network International Council on Archives (NAANICA) is threatened.

    The NADP does not simply provide funding for the maintenance of consulting and advisory services for archival associations: the program also funds many projects across the country to ensure that archival material is preserved, arranged and described and made available to the public. Since 2006 it has provided archivists with the means to hire qualified professionals to generate finding aids, preserve fragile documents, digitize others for greater ease of access and generate electronic finding aids to contribute to their local union lists (in Ontario, this is Archeion.ca) and eventually consolidate records into ArchivesCanada.ca and the national catalogue.

    The NADP is not icing on the cake. It is a life-line for small institutions to hire professional expertise, buy preservation supplies, or hire a short-term contract archivist to ensure a project is completed.

    Since 1992, the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections has received $178,952 through various grants and funds managed through the Canadian Council of Archives. In turn, the university has contributed matching funds of $105,106 direct and $140,741 in-kind investment. Without the support of grants managed by the Canadian Council of Archives, none of these projects would have been possible. These funds covered projects that purchased vital preservation materials for historical photographs suffering from vinegar syndrome, as well as an ambitious digitization project that preserved live sound recordings of Canadian artists and provided free and open access to digitized materials to the public online. The support of the Canadian Council of Archives provided archivists at York University with the means to hire contract archivists to tackle challenging programming, description, digitization, and preservation projects. A list and cost breakdown of these projects is appended to this letter for your reference.

    What the federal government saves in the short term will be miniscule when compared to the long-term impact this will have on the local level in archives across the country and how it will undermine the ability of remaining professionals working at LAC to carry out their legal responsibilities as custodians of the federal government's records and, more broadly, as the keepers of the collective memory of the nation.

    In Ontario, we are facing the loss of three staff members employed by the Archives Association of Ontario (AAO), or the severe curtailing of their activities and programming. We are also looking at dozens of archival institutions that have been planning (often for years in advance) to apply for a NADP grant to tackle large-scale projects within their own operations being unable to follow through with these plans.

    The result of this cost-cutting will be the erosion of a national network of archival descriptions that we have fought for years to establish and grow. It will undermine our profession's ability to build and maintain our online databases. It may eliminate altogether the ability of many institutions to digitize materials at a quality and standard that will ensure long-term accessibility and preservation. Most importantly, it will impede access and promotion of materials that are essential to community-building and the education, enlightenment and empowerment of Canadian citizens.

    Archives are a pillar of Canadian heritage and democracy; archival materials support research for publishing, science, technology development and numerous federal government initiatives. The impact of these cuts will be immediate, its effects will reverberate for years to come and they will undo twenty-six years of national cooperation.

    On behalf of the community we represent, we ask that the elimination of the National Archival Development Program and the Canadian Council of the Archives be reconsidered.

    Yours sincerely,

    William Denton

    Web Librarian / Steward, Library Chapter, York University Faculty Association

    [1] ARCHIVESCANADA.ca provides Canadians with greater access to our national heritage. The Canadian Council of Archives, in partnership with the provincial and territorial councils, their member institutions, Library and Archives Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage, invested resources to create ArchivesCanada.ca,an easy-to-use web application that provides access to hundreds of thousands of historical documents, images and other national treasures--available from the comfort of a classroom, home or office.

One response so far

Around the Web: The stubborn persistence of textbooks, Library e-lending "disruptive" to bookstores and more

May 17 2012 Published by under around the web

No responses yet

Around the Web: Universities have been taken over by administrators, Scholars should make their ideas accessible and still more on Canadian copyright

May 15 2012 Published by under around the web

No responses yet

Around the Web: The ugly underbelly of coder culture, Used-book stores in the digital age and more

May 12 2012 Published by under around the web

No responses yet

Friday Fun: Walter Mosley on The Case for Genre

May 11 2012 Published by under friday fun, science fiction

Longtime followers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of genre fiction, and the more genres the better: science fiction, fantasy, horror, hard boiled and noir. And in a lot of ways those genre boundaries are fluid, and sometimes the authors themselves embody that fluidity.

Walter Mosley
is one of those authors, writing with great success in both the mystery and science fiction genres.

Here's what he had to say recently in the Tor.com blog: The Case for Genre.

In my opinion science fiction and fantasy writing has the potential to be the most intelligent, spiritual, inventive, and the most challenging of all literary writing. A good book of alternative reality creates an entire world, a skin that one can walk into and inhabit just as surely as we might walk out on the street in front our home.

*snip*

This is what I call realistic fiction; the kind of writing that prepares us for the necessary mutations brought about in society from an ever changing technological world. It is no different than when Marx warns us of an economic infrastructure designing our social relations; when Freud tells us that our most important mental functions are unconscious and nearly unapproachable; when Einstein says that what we see, believe, and even what we've proven is all made up when piled next to the real God of existence - Relativity; when Darwin says that we are cousins to the redwood and fruit fly, the woodpecker and wolf. This is what science fiction is all about. It's our world under an alien light that allows us to question what we see and who we are seeing it.

And I'm sure a similar screed could be written on the value of all the various genres!

One response so far

Older posts »