Monthly Archives: January 2016

CRTC Needs Input from Canadians on Broadband/Basic Telecommunication Services

The CRTC has initiated the second phase of its review of basic telecommunication services (CRTC Notice of Consultation 2015-134 – see the news release here: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1027549 and Notice of Consultation here http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2015/2015-134.htm).  This review is crucially important as the CRTC is listening to Canadians to determine what telecommunications services should be considered as basic (and therefore supported by subsidies) in the digital economy.  In the last such review (2010-11) the CRTC decided that broadband should not be considered a basic telecommunication service (see Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-291 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-291.htm).

Public participation and input in this process is essential.  Despite significant progress, there continues to exist a significant set of digital divides in Canada (both rural-urban and low vs. high income).  For example, while urban Canadians have universal availability to wireline broadband at the lowest broadband speed (1.5-4.9 Mbps), only 87% of rural households have such broadband speeds available.  At higher speeds this difference becomes considerably more pronounced.  For speeds greater than 10 Mbps rural availability drops to 37% (see CRTC Communications Monitoring Report 2015, p. 211 (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/PolicyMonitoring/2015/Cmr.pdf).  There are also marked differences for internet use and income.  For example, while 98.4% of Canadians in the highest income quintile make use of the internet at home, only 59.7% of Canadians from the lowest income quintile do so (the average for all quintiles is 83.9%) (see CRTC Communications Monitoring Report 2015, p. 22).

While it is unclear what the CRTC will decide, public input is necessary to ensure that the Commission makes a decision that is in the best interest of all Canadians. As library and information professionals, we should be acutely interested in ensuring that the decision addresses the continued digital divides in Canada.

Reading the Context of 2015’s Ed-Tech Trends

Reading the Context of 2015’s Ed-Tech Trends

Audrey Watters is currently releasing a thrilling series on The Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015 on the HACK EDU blog for anyone interested in a critical approach to education technology. Watters’ articles investigate the political, economic and ideological trends that shaped education technology in the last year. The articles tend to focus on the American context, but she makes more of an effort to include the rest of us than most coming out of the US. The fourth in the series, “Credits and Credentialing” was released Dec 9 with an unknown number of articles to come. There are lots of reasons to read all four articles, but I’d like to draw special attention to the third in the series: “The Employability Narrative” released on Dec 7.

Watters approaches the issue of education for employment from a number of angles and makes some important points: Using US labour department statistics she pokes serious holes in the argument that higher education is failing students by not providing them with practical job skills and is leaving them un-prepared for a precarious job market. Here’s a choice quote: “How does one defend against that precarity? It’s probably not just a “fix” for or by or through education – well unless you like invoking silver bullets as ed-tech entrepreneurs and politicians sure do. But surely it isn’t up to the institution of (higher) education alone to address employability and economic precarity.”

She goes on to critique the rhetoric that poses teaching everyone to code as a solution to the sexist and racist discrimination and bias in the tech sector. Citing statistics that show women leaving tech in droves and the arrest of 9th grader Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school, she writes, “You sorta get the feeling that when people say “everybody should learn to code” in order to close that so-called “skills gap” that there’s an asterisk there: certain restrictions may apply.”

“The Employability Narrative” and all the articles so far in Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015 are worth a read!

“Um…About that American Libraries Article We Wrote”

After their article in American Libraries was edited after the authors (thought they) turned in the final draft, Stewart Varner and Patricia Hswe wanted to clarify a few things.

“We feel used; like our article was turned into a vehicle for a commercial message and that we were deceived into signing off on it. We are also personally and professionally embarrassed that thousands of readers will see the article but never find this blog post. What will they think of our ethics? Whose side will they think we are on?”

See Stewart and Patricia’s post from Stewart’s blog for more information on this article and for information on where to find the original version.

Second Call for Proposals CAPAL16: BEYOND THE LIBRARY: AGENCY, PRACTICE, AND SOCIETY

Deadline for Proposals extended to January 15th, 2016

Second Call for Proposals

CAPAL16: BEYOND THE LIBRARY: AGENCY, PRACTICE, AND SOCIETY

CAPAL/ACBAP Annual Conference – May 28–June 3, 2016

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2016

University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta

The Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) invites participation in its annual conference, to be held as part of Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2016 at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (http://congress2016.ca/). The conference offers opportunity to share critical research and scholarship, challenge current thinking, and forge new relationships across all disciplines.

THEME

In keeping with the Congress 2016 theme, Energizing Communities, CAPAL16 seeks to look “Beyond the Library” to rethink how academic librarians engage with their communities within which our institutions are situated or those with whom we share disciplinary concerns or approaches. Such communities may be physical, epistemic, academic, or imagined communities, communities of identity, or those communities around us and to which we contribute.

What can the discipline of library and information studies (LIS) learn from other disciplines?  What might LIS as an interdisciplinary field look like?  Where and how should academic librarianship be situated within and in relation to other communities? 

RATIONALE

Like any institution, academic libraries both reflect and help shape the societies of which they are part. It is therefore critical for academic librarians to consider how they and their work are situated – professionally, ontologically, ethically, epistemologically, and physically. As social agents, we share and occupy socio-economic, political, and technological spaces in our efforts to provide diverse, high quality, informational resources and critical education within a contemporary (i.e., neoliberal) legal and economic framework.

In such an environment, effecting change requires seeking out, examining, and engaging with new ideas, approaches, theories, communities, understandings, and ways of knowing, which, themselves, may fall outside the traditional boundaries of the discipline of library and information studies. We need to move our lines of inquiry “beyond the library”–physically and intellectually–into new arenas and new communities. This conference is an invitation to academic librarians and scholars who study libraries and information to discuss how we can reframe academic librarianship: in practice, in policy, in theory, and in society.

Potential topic areas include but are not limited to:

  • Academic librarianship in the context of urgent socio-political priorities, such as climate change, environmental sustainability, and social equity;
  • The relationship between academic librarianship and democracy;
  • Academic librarianship and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples;
  • Indigenizing, decolonizing, diversity, and inclusion in academic librarianship;
  • The philosophical bases of academic librarianship in social theory;
  • The history of academic librarianship and the role of academic librarians in the academy;
  • The potentially biased treatment of controversial issues and scholarly debates in knowledge organization and information retrieval systems;
  • The sociology of knowledge mobilization;
  • Academic librarianship and its relationship to the design of user spaces;
  • Academic librarianship’s response to privacy and security in the “post-Snowden” era;
  • Community development, “town-gown” relationships, and academic librarianship;
  • Core values of academic librarianship in mediated spaces;
  • Critical theory, interdisciplinary approaches and subject expertise in LIS education for academic librarians.

 SUBMISSION INFORMATION

The Program Committee invites proposals for individual papers as well as proposals for panel submissions of three papers. Individual papers are typically 20 minutes in length. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of 300 words and a presentation title, with brief biographical statement and your contact information. For complete panels, please submit a panel abstract of 300 words as well as a list of all participants and brief biographical statements, and a separate abstract of 300 words for each presenter. Please identify and provide participants’ contact information for the panel organizer. International proposals and proposals from non-members and students are welcome.

Please feel free to contact the Program Committee to discuss a topic for a paper, panel, or other session format. Proposals should be emailed as an attachment as a doc. or docx. file, using the following filename format:

Lastname_Keywordoftopic.docx

Proposals and questions should be directed to the Program Chairs:

Michael Dudley:          m.dudley@uwinnipeg.ca

John Wright:                jpwright@ucalgary.ca