Archive for: May, 2016

Canadian Library Association National Forum: Readings for Digital Strategy and the Government of Canada

May 30 2016 Published by under Canada, librarianship, Politics, Uncategorized

I'll be attending upcoming Canadian Library Association National Forum, a kind of sunset conference as CLA reimagines and recreates itself. The idea is to take the pulse of Canadian librarians on the important issues in the library-related landscape. I'll be curating the session on Canada's National Digital Strategy, including presentations by me and two others, Emily Landriault and Bobby Glushko.

The details are below.

 

Digital Strategy and the Government of Canada

Presentation speakers

Date: Wednesday June 1st
Time: 3:30PM to 5:00 PM
Room: Joliet

Description:

An Introduction to Canada’s National Digital Strategy

Government digital strategy encompasses a wide range of topics, from fostering digital innovation, to open government data, to privacy and security legislation, to telecommunications policy, to cyberbullying prevention, and Canadian content regulations. Over the last few years of their mandate, the previous Conservative government put policies in place in many of those areas, with their high level strategy outlined in the Digital Canada 150 document.

  • Where will the new Liberal government take us?
  • Are there any hints as to what their digital strategy might be?
  • What previous initiatives will be discontinued and what new initiatives will be created?

Come to this interactive session where expert panelists will touch on a few of the most important areas of Canada’s digital strategy as well as engaging participants in a conversation about how the library community could both move forward on some initiatives of our own as well as influence the government’s direction.

The format of the session with be three 15 minute presentations by the speakers, a short Q&A (10 minutes), followed by individual group discussions at the tables (20 minutes) and finally, the groups reporting back to the room (15 minutes).

Some questions to spark the group discussions:

  • What are the most important digital strategy issues and priorities affecting libraries?
  • Where are our priorities diverging from the government's?
  • How should libraries, librarians and library associations advocate for change?
  • What opportunities can we seize or create?
  • What should we advocate for?
  • What outcomes are we looking for?

I'll also note what is out of scope in my session: topics that will be covered by other sessions at the National Forum: Copyright, Digitization and other issues related to Library and Archives Canada.

I've written a bit about the Digital Canada 150 policy document here and here. Also relevant and useful are the Ministerial Mandate Letters for the ministers of Heritage, Innovation and Science, all of which are available here.

Digital Canada 150 from 2014 is the closest we have to an active National Digital Strategy, so I'm using the structure of that document to frame my own thoughts and research. Below I have some of the readings I've done to prepare for the session.

I hope to see you there! The hashtag is #CLAOtt16. I'll post my slides once the conference is over.

 

The Five Pillars of Digital Canada 150

 

1. Connecting Canadians (CRTC/Cable TV/Broadband/Wireless Policy)

 

2. Protecting Canadians (Cyberbullying/Security/Privacy/Anti-Spam) (Mostly Bobby speaking to this)

 

3. Economic Opportunities (Innovation/Productivity/Big Data/Intellectual Property Laws, Canada Research Excellence Fund/NRC Transformation/CFI/CANARIE Digital Accelerator/MITACS)

 

4. Digital Government (Open Government/Open Data/Open Access/Access to Information) (Emily speaking to this and provide some of the readings)

 

5. Canadian Content (Digitization/LAC & Historica & Canadiana.org/NFB Digitization/CRTC/Canadian Content Rules)

 

As usual, if I've missed anything important, please let me know in the comments.

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Around the Web: A future where records won’t matter and other tales of the music business

May 24 2016 Published by under acad lib future, around the web, music

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Elsevier buys SSRN: Another sideshow or the main event?

Main event. Definitely.

Elsevier's acquisition of the open access journal article and working papers repository and online community Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is definitely a case of Elsevier tipping their hand and giving us all a peek at their real long term strategy.

Much more so than their whack-a-mole antics with Sci-Hub and other "pirate" services.

One of the big hints is how they've tied it's acquisition so closes with their last important, strategic acquisition -- Mendeley. Another hint is that they also tie it in to one of their cornerstone products, Scopus.

From the announcement:

When Elsevier acquired Mendeley three years ago, many people wondered how well it would work out — including our team at the Social Science Research Network. SSRN has similarities to Mendeley, and many differences, but we share a common vision of improving researchers’ lives, and doing that together within Elsevier makes complete sense.

*snip*

Together, SSRN and Mendeley can provide greater access to the growing base of user-generated content, build new informational and analytical tools and increase engagement with a broader set of researchers.

*snip*

SSRN will benefit from access to Scopus citation data and an ability to link working papers to their published versions with direct forwarding links. We’ll also have access to Elsevier’s broader collection of metrics and data analytics, which we can share with SSRN authors, readers and users.

The research services division that products like Mendeley, Scopus and now SSRN belong to are a completely different beast than the much-maligned journals division. By contrast, this research services division seems much more nimble and user focused, with a laser-like aim towards the future rather than the past. I think that they reflect more where Elsevier wants to be in ten or twenty years, focused on providing high-value services to researchers and institutions rather than still weighed down by the legacy subscription business. They see that the old fashioned soak-libraries-for-all-they're-worth business model is (very) slowly becoming an albatross, a dodo bird. They're not the rapacious bullies and "Evil Empire" types, but more coolly rational and calculating. (Tywin Lannister vs. Ramsay Bolton, if you'll forgive the Game of Thrones analogy.)

So yes, maximize the soaking, drain every last dollar (Euro, Pound...) from libraries, wage a rear-guard battle against pirates as a massive feint maneuver to distract from the real front.

Services, services, services.

Elsevier has been the dominant player in the scholarly communications space for a very long time. They've masterfully figured out how to keep the money flowing down hill in their direction. They have no intention of surrendering their dominance. In a new, more open environment, they want to maintain that hegemony. And keep the money flowing.

As my favourite rock band put it so succinctly, "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."

 

As is my habit, I'm including below some links from the last couple of days with various commentary about the SSRN acquistion. If I've missed anything significant, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

The first few especially provide a more detailed overview of the facts, issues and immediate implications than I attempt to above.

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Around the Web: The Fort McMurray wildfire and climate change

May 06 2016 Published by under around the web, Canada, climate change, environment

The town of Fort McMurray, Alberta and it's surrounding region are experiencing a horrific wildfire. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate.

The absolute most important thing in the short and medium term is to take care of the people of Fort McMurray. Yes, Fort McMurray is the hub of tar sands development in Canada. Yes, the tar sands and other fossil fuel development projects contribute to climate change. Yes, the tar sands in particular have been identified as a carbon source that needs to be left in the ground. But those aren't short and medium term considerations. Those are very clearly about making sure the people of Fort McMurray are safe and that they can re-start their lives in the wake of this tragedy. The issues around fossil fuel development that have gotten us into the trouble we're in are systemic and historic, not in any way directly the fault of the actual people who are caught in this situation.

But in the longer term we need to stop brushing aside what is constantly happening in the short and medium term. We need to stop saying, "This isn't the time to talk about this." We meed to stop focusing on how you can't pin each individual weather disaster on climate change. It's true but it can't be the only point we ever make.

Every time we forget about how the short and medium term turn into the long term, one day and month and year at a time, one climate-change-related disaster at a time, we are letting ourselves off the hook in using the focus and attention to build longer term solutions.

The Edmonton Journal website is a great one-stop news portal for what's happening.

The Canadian Red Cross is probably the best place to donate to the relief effort.

In the meantime, here are some of the articles and posts I've been reading, reflecting a diversity of opinion and analysis.

 

And some more-or-less dissenting views on whether or not we should be talking about climate change in relation to the wildfire right now.

 

 

If there's good commentary I've missed, please let me know in in the comments.

And you might also want to take a look at my recent posts on The Leap Manifesto and recent readings on climate change.

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Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (14): What is Open Science? and more

May 03 2016 Published by under around the web, culture of science, ugrad links

I have a son who's currently a fourth year physics undergrad who is headed more the direction of math rather than physics for the possibility of grad school. As you can imagine, I may occasionally pass along a link or two to him pointing to stuff on the web I think they might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps a) this kind of post might be more efficient and b) other undergrad students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog.

The items I've chosen are mostly geared towards science undergrads (hence, the title of the series), but I hope many of them will be of broader interest.

The previous posts in this series are: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

And yes, it's been quite a long time since I last did one of these posts so I'll probably need a few over the coming weeks to catch up.

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