Institutional Change toward Open Scholarship and Open Science

The processes and supports within an institution can, I’ve noticed, demand a bit of effort to change. When we speak of open scholarship or open science, many aspects tie-in or lead out from those concepts, which makes the whole prospect of institutional change quite complex. I’m very excited about the efforts so far that the Open Science Working Group (of which I’m a participant) at Concordia University has undertaken and accomplished. These include an initial report on “Recommendations for Fostering Open Science at Concordia University” (DOI: 10.11573/

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Artificial Intelligence to Examine Us

The hype over the last few months regarding generative AI has been quite interesting. I’ve facilitated a variety of discussions (and presented some) with faculty, staff, and other librarians regarding these tools and I’ve been following the public discourse. The thing that I keep coming back to and which I don’t feel gets the attention that it merits, is the potential to consider these newer AI systems, LLMs, etc. as tools to be used for examining human cultures, behaviours, and society.

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Tracking the Challenges Made to Canadian Library Books

Sometimes we see headlines in the news about a book being challenged at a library. People from different perspectives might see the content of the book or other aspects of it as threatening or inappropriate. Understanding these challenges and forming responses is essential to our work as librarians in advocating and supporting intellectual freedom. Now, the work to track this information will receive more coordinated support. Both the Canadian Federation of Library Associations and the Centre for Free Expression announced that they would work together to maintain a joint library challenges database.

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Could Mastodon Instances Make a Pledge to Their Communities?

I’ve been thinking about something like an instance Community Pledge becoming commonplace. Mastodon instances tend to post rules, user expectations, a tiny bit of info about administrative practices. This helps cultivate the Mastodon region of the fediverse. But, and I don’t mean the following as criticism, most instances have not communicated what their administrative commitments to their community are. Perhaps because until recently things have been on a smaller scale & practices are maturing.

Here is what I’ve been considering. It’s a thought process but not at all, thought-out. There are problems but I’d like to put the idea out there in case others have worried about this and perhaps, something can come of it. This is written in 500 character paragraphs because I was originally going to thread it in Mastodon but it got too long.

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Talk about the Broad Value of Open Access

As a librarian, I talk with other faculty and students about their academic work and the life-cycle of the research process. I’ve always stressed that open access is important for many reasons, including toward making research outputs available to people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get them. This post provides some background about the Concordia Library’s new interactive open access display, Seer. You can also learn about it in this video recorded for the Open for Climate Justice: An Across-Disciplines Fair at 4TH SPACE.

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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.

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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”