Publishers Proposing Surveillance Tech on Libraries

Gautama Mehta’s recent article “Proposal to install spyware in university libraries to protect copyrights shocks academics” is an important read. I appreciate the many issues it raises and the great links to additional commentary about Elsevier’s and Springer’s problematic Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SNSI).

Although the article mentions digital rights advocates and scientists, I did not see much written about the fact that librarians are not passive recipients of technology in their libraries.

Continue reading “Publishers Proposing Surveillance Tech on Libraries”

Digital Curation Issues Involving Open Government Data

Open data is a well-defined concept but in the public sector, there is some difficult work ahead for its digital curation.

Although the support and production of open data from governments around the world varies (with many not yet supporting it at all) there are clear movements to encourage and grow open government data initiatives. Within the realm of governments that do support and produce datasets open to the public, benefits that would otherwise accompany the availability of this open data are sometimes hampered due to incomplete adoption of best practices.

I’d like review some of the tenets of open government data, then I’ll discuss some of the digital curation issues that are important to deal with for the success of open government data initiatives. Continue reading “Digital Curation Issues Involving Open Government Data”

E-books: New Experiences and Problems with Access

I first read an e-book a few years ago when I decided to see how War and Peace felt on my phone. Engrossing. And probably no less so than it is on paper. Now I like both paper books and e-books but the spread of e-books is about more than just enjoying them or not. The introduction of e-books (among other digital content) changed the interactions and responsibilities of publishers, authors, academics, librarians, government policy-makers, and of course readers (or users). These changes come with both social and technical issues and challenges, particularly in the vein of access. Continue reading “E-books: New Experiences and Problems with Access”

Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom: Our Pragmatic Ignorance

A common way to model the relationships of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom is the DIKW pyramid. Starting with its base, each concept builds on top of the former. The gist is that we require data to form information † we use information to gain knowledge † and we use knowledge toward developing wisdom. This model is one doorway to understanding the relationship between these concepts.

For workaday pragmatic purposes, common understandings of those terms and their relationships may be worthwhile. But for our acceptance of a pragmatic ignorance, this model will break down when we examine the meaning of any of those terms in depth. Continue reading “Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom: Our Pragmatic Ignorance”

Copyright Law, TPMs, and Appraisal

This is the third part in a series of three posts.

The Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) identifies five categories of appraisal criteria. Some of these criteria mix poorly with copyright law and TPMs on the issue of determining what can be acceptable for long term digital preservation. Continue reading “Copyright Law, TPMs, and Appraisal”

Long Term Digital Preservation and the Role of TDRs

This is the second part in a series of three posts.


Archives face inexorable problems with the duty to preserve massive quantities of information, stored on frail digital media. There is at once, the archives’ own mandate and its capability to fulfill that mandate. To understand what an archive must be capable of doing, here is a definition of digital preservation. Continue reading “Long Term Digital Preservation and the Role of TDRs”

How Recent Copyright Legislation (C-11) and TPMs Prevent Digital Preservation

Recent copyright legislation prevents archives from legitimately fulfilling key requirements for the long term preservation and provision of access to digital fonds. Bill C-11 (An Act to amend the Copyright Act)[1] changed many elements of copyright law but the area posing the greatest problems to archival practices is the portion that prohibits circumventing technological protection measures (TPMs). Continue reading “How Recent Copyright Legislation (C-11) and TPMs Prevent Digital Preservation”

First Take on the Public Domain Manifesto

Communia published its Public Domain Manifesto. The manifesto identifies the public domain concept with respect to historical development and more urgently, its relevance to culture today.

I think it makes an important statement, in terms of offering a level, common understanding that could be used widely across society, government, and business. Early in the manifesto, it says the public domain Continue reading “First Take on the Public Domain Manifesto”

Some Notes on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy Draft

I’ve been reading the draft consultation version of the Canadian Digital Information Strategy (PDF). The strategy proposes strengthening content, ensuring its preservation, and maximizing its access and use. These are important for many reasons the report addresses regarding culture; the report also has some anchors in industry, stating that “nations that nurture their digital information assets and infrastructure will prosper.” Continue reading “Some Notes on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy Draft”