The Highlights from Web 2.U 2014

By Anastasia Prozorova

On Friday February 7, 2014, many information professionals, students and enthusiasts gathered at Thomson House for the annual student-organized conference, Web 2.U. The insightful speakers, who were invited to this day-long event, had a chance to share their thoughts on a variety of cool, but challenging media and on the role of information professionals in the changing world. Let me share with you some of the highlights from this year’s event:

  • Connie Crosby, a Toronto-based consultant, shared her experience in customer outreach and customer relationship management.
  • AJ West, a second-year student graduating from McGill’s MLIS program, dazzled the audience with his knowledge of one of the hottest trends in information technology: wearable devices.
  • Mark Blevis, Ottawa-based Digital Public Affairs Strategist, thrilled the audience with some amazing interactive media and demonstrated how books and libraries can immerse readers into a more engaging and participatory environment.
  • David Weigl, PhD candidate at SIS, carefully guided the audience through the intricacies of relevance in music search.
  • Guillermo Galdamez, a first-year student of McGill’s MLIS program and Knowledge Continuity Officer for MLISSA, talked about the challenges of maintaining and promoting SIS Wikis.
  • Michael Groenendyk, the newly hired business librarian for Concordia University Libraries, made some incredible revelations about the opportunities and challenges of 3D printing and 3D scanning.
  • Laurie Devine, Social Media Manager at McGill’s Media Relations Office, demonstrated some terrific features of her new social media tool, Flipboard, and compelled the audience to stay alert to emerging social media technologies.
  • David Lee King, Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, flew to Montreal all the way from Kansas. He shared some of his invaluable experiences in social media marketing for libraries.
  • Edward Bilodeau, McGill’s Web Services Librarian, skilfully animated the round table discussion at the end of the day.

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Web 2.U 2014-Volunteers

I would like to thank everyone who took an interest in Web 2.U 2014 and those who generously helped make it happen. If you have some ideas to share for next year’s conference, feel free to contact me: anastasia.prozorova@mail.mcgill.ca.

Photoblog: A Look Inside Three Libraries

Between semesters, I took my third trip to Europe and unexpectedly found myself inside a few libraries. As someone who initially entered university to study architecture, I’ve always had an appreciation for spatial design and colour. Below are photos of three libraries that I visited. As you’ll see, each library has its own unique atmosphere, colour scheme, and style of bookshelves. Enjoy!

Muntpunt Library (Brussels, Belgium)

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Bibliotheek Den Haag (The Hague, The Netherlands) 

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Central Library (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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The Future of KM revealed at the International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM)

By Nathalie De Preux

On November 1-2, 2013, the 9th edition of the ICKM took place for the first time here in Montreal, chaired by SIS Director, Professor France Bouthillier. The conference, in which 37 papers were presented, focused on KM metrics, performance measurement, capacity building, and certification.

Why is ICKM special? You have probably come across ads about different conferences on “Knowledge Management in action”, or similar titles. Many of these KM conferences target private sector executives and host thousands of participants (not to mention the extravagant registration fees). ICKM, on the other hand, brings together a more collegial group of both researchers and practitioners in the KM field. These participants come from all around the world to discuss the latest studies and practical applications of KM. The smaller nature of this conference allows for deeper interaction and more opportunities to meet the speakers personally.

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Key takeaways

  • We will witness an ever-stronger tie with big data, and initiatives to use data for decision-making purposes.
  • Collaboration, social networking, and Communities of Practice, in particular, will continue to play an important role as enablers of knowledge sharing.
  • Outcome metrics and systems will be key in measuring the impact of KM on an organization.
  • KM will be particularly important in niche markets such as healthcare, nuclear energy, and emergency management.
  • Synergies between KM and Intelligence Systems, as well as knowledge discovery techniques will continue to grow.

Practitioners of KM at Golder Associates and Infosys provided us with insights on their experience in putting KM initiatives in place in the private sector (e.g. linking people within the organization). They pointed out key factors that make a community successful, barriers that might impede these efforts, and offered practical recommendations to get real value out of expertise locator systems.

SIS’s new faculty member, Professor Max Evans, gave a presentation on trust as one of the major social cognitive factors that influence knowledge sharing. He also shared the findings of his research in a law firm on this particular topic.

Other key questions that were answered were:

How can iSchools capitalize on branding, and create products and services that truly position them as key players in the knowledge economy?

By collecting stories about how graduates have contributed to business.

What makes a library school an iSchool?

The variety of disciplines offered, the size of the faculty, the number of alumni, and the inclusion of faculty from different backgrounds, not only from Library Science.

The topic of Competitive Intelligence was also present at ICKM. Presentations included a study conducted in the public sector in South Africa, which showed the importance of CI as a process that is used to gather actionable information and predict the future. CI allows the public sector to better leverage its competing forces to improve the quality of its services as if it were a business with external competitors.

The above is just a brief summary of the variety of interesting topics presented at ICKM, and it gives you an idea of the richness of this unique conference. We look forward to next year’s ICKM edition in Paris and hope that SIS students will have the opportunity to participate!

List of topics discussed at the conference

  • –  Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice
  • –  Communication, Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
  • –  KM Implementation and Strategy
  • –  Knowledge Management in the Public Sector
  • –  Knowledge Organization
  • –  Knowledge Management Tools
  • –  Knowledge Discovery
  • –  Project and Knowledge Management
  • –  Knowledge Metrics and Measurement
  • –  iSchools in the Context of the Knowledge Economy
  • –  Knowledge Management in Libraries
  • –  Competitive Intelligence
  • –  Access to Information and Knowledge
  • –  Knowledge Management and Healthcare
  • –  Intellectual Capital and Scientific Collaboration

Characterizing a Collection: An Analysis of the McGill Library System

By Caitlin Bailey

Online library catalogues are not often regarded as sources for historical analysis. While they are designed and used for resource location, their consideration as a primary source document is infrequent. Extending the work of her doctoral thesis “ The Imprint of The Scholar: An Analysis of the Printed Books of McGill’s Raymond Klibansky Collection”, Dr. Jillian Tomm is now engaged in postdoctoral work, examining the character of the McGill Library’s historical collections. The primary source for her analysis? The library catalogue.

Dr. Tomm’s methodology builds on the mining of the library catalogue to build sets for data analysis. Using the results along with pre-existing knowledge of individual collections, she hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the McGill collections as a whole within the larger context of intellectual history and their relationships with each other. The project also aims to support the development of collections-level searching to help users identify individual special collections (as opposed to individual items) of likely value to their research based on their strengths, such as materials published in a particular country or time period or those rich in illustrated books.

J.Tomm, The Imprint of the Scholar. 2012.

For the moment, Dr. Tomm will be considering the 18th century as her primary area of interest, however she intends to expand to earlier periods. Additionally, Dr. Tomm notes that the project is only considering printed materials, however this may also serve as an expansion point in the future. The current timeline for the project is two years; to further her work after this period, Dr. Tomm has committed to documenting her project as completely as possible to facilitate further building on her work.

Experience the Renaissance: Le livre de la Renaissance at BAnQ

By Caitlin Bailey

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec is currently showing the second half of its Le livre de la Renaissance cycle, the result of collaborations between BAnQ, McGill University and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The exhibition showcases the central issues of Humanist thought as seen through the texts produced during the period and includes some fabulous pieces, such as an edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince from 1550.

I wandered into the exhibition as the result of a particularly rainy day during the Thanksgiving break. BAnQ does not advertise their exhibitions on the homepage of the website, though you can access a complete listing through the Activities page. Additionally, it is a bit difficult to locate the actual exhibition at first; I ended up in the basement with several other mystified patrons before I finally realized that 1st floor actually referred to the first floor of the separate archives area and not the first floor of the entire building.

Photo credit: Bernard Fougères for BAnQ

Once I found it however, the exhibition was excellent. Curator Brenda Dunn-Lardeau has chosen to use the texts as solid examples of the currents of Renaissance thought, as well as a view of the actual book of the period. As result, every book is accompanied by an explanatory panel that sets it in context, both within the larger historical environment and as an individual piece. I was fascinated to find a diagram illustrating Copernicus’ theory of heliocentrism next to one of the first biographies of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Le livre de la Renaissance is quite a small exhibition, leaving you plenty of time and brainpower to attack the many others that BAnQ has to offer. I ended up on the first floor in  De la Belle Époque au prêt-à-porter,  an examination of women’s fashion from 1880 to the end of the 1920s. This exhibition is particularly interesting as the clothing is reproduced in three dimensional paper sculptures, as well as with documents from the extensive archive of the library. All in all, BAnQ is well worth the trip down Maisonneuve and, best of all, for us “starving” students, it’s free!

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Le livre de la Renaissance and De la Belle Époque au prêt-à-porter are now on at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. 475 boulevard de Maisonneuve Est. Free admission.

A brief illustrated history of the Atwater Library and Computer Centre

By Jacob Siefring

This post presents a condensed history of the Atwater Library and Computer Centre. Sundry students from McGill’s School of Information Studies have gained library experience working there as volunteers, myself included. Historical information is taken from a fifty-page pamphlet published in the mid-1970s that is kept behind the circulation desk. This post was initially published on my personal blog, Bibliomanic.

Some background information about Mechanics’ Institutes is available from Wikipedia. During the 19th century in Great Britain and in North America, for enterprising young men who were often without means, Mechanics’ institutes were seen as a desirable alternative to the male drinking culture widely prevalent in saloons, taverns, and pubs. Starting around the end of the nineteenth century, institutes began to adapt to accommodate the wider population, including first women and then children, many eventually evolving (like the Atwater) over many decades into the public libraries we know today.

Atwater's arches 'then' and now, its skylight and atrium. Photos by Jacob Siefring.

The Atwater Library is the oldest lending library in Canada. The library was not always known by this name, nor was it always at 1200 Atwater Ave as it is today.

The Mechanics’ Institute of Montreal, later known as the Montreal Mechanics’ Institution, had its founding moment on November 21, 1828, when a meeting was held at the home of Reverend Henry Esson. Esson’s idea was to found an institute the aim and objects of which would be to see to the instruction of its members in the arts and in the various branches of science and useful knowledge. 

Books were marked as property of the Institute with a distinctive perforation. What's this method called, exactly? Does anyone know?

Slowly at first,  with the support of sugar magnate John Redpath and other enterprising members of the Montreal community, the institute gathered steam. In March of 1840 the members-elect approved the Constitution and by-laws and agreed upon the following scale of fees:

Life members: 5 £ in cash; or 7 £, 10 s. in books or apparatus

Annual subscriptions: 15 s.

Quarterly subscriptions: 3 s. 9 d.

Sons and apprentices of members: 1 s. 3 d. on a quarterly basis

Course offerings in reading, writing, arithmetic, French, and architectural, mechanical, and ornamental drawing were open to sons and apprentices of members. The institute’s motto was

To make a Man a Better Mechanic and the Mechanic a Better Man. 

Incorporation came in 1845. A short decade later, on May 21, 1854, the institute’s new building at the corner of Great St James St and St Peter St was opened.

Illustration of the former Montreal Mechanics' Institute

This building was known for its large lecture hall, known around Montréal as Mechanics’ Hall.

A drawing displayed in the stairwell of the library depicting a packed lecture hall at the library/institute's former location.

George DawsonJohn Henry Pepper, inventor of the Pepper’s ghost illusion, and many others spoke there in their time. Performer Emma Lajeunesse, later be known as Emma Albani, had her debut there at the young age of seven.

A new building was selected, purchased, and went into operation around 1920.

The Atwater Library and Computer Centre, located at 1200 Atwater Ave., in Westmount, Québec. Photograph by Jacob Siefring.

In 1962, The Institute changed its name and officially became the Atwater Library, as the name Mechanics’ Institute was ‘misleading to the present generation.’ Today the library is an active community hub and a vital resource for its members. If you’re in Montreal, stop by and have a look around. Or visit the library’s website – more on its history here.

How Do I Work in Rare Books? A Career Primer

By Caitlin Bailey

For you Name of the Rose lovers out there, remember Eco’s descriptions of the abbey library and all its mysterious contents? I certainly do; in some way it was responsible for my desire to work as a Special Collections librarian.  However, there is a big difference between “wanting and doing” as they say, and pinning down just how to do it has proved problematic. So, to help both myself and others who may be considering the academic and Special Collection stream (either librarians or archivists) I decided to contact the Rare Books department here at McGill and ask, who else? A librarian…

Ann Marie Holland, the Liaison Librarian for the William Colgate History of Printing Collection, the Lande Canadiana Collection and various French Enlightenment collections (among others), kindly agreed to meet me on the fourth floor and to let me ask her all of the annoying unanswered questions that had been plaguing my career path for the last year. During the course of our interview, Ms. Holland revealed herself to be not only charming, but also passionately interested in her field and committed to her work. As she told me the rare books field is not an easily entered career, but once there most people don’t think of leaving.

'The press.' Photograph by C. Bailey.

Ms. Holland received her Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature from McMaster University and, after travelling in France for some time, decided to begin the MLIS program here at McGill. She holds a further Master of Arts in French Literature in addition to her MLIS. When asked to speak to the necessity of a second higher-level degree in a relevant subject area, she noted that in the world of academic librarianship it is critical to a competitive CV, though it is possible to work without one.

Regarding the absolute necessity of further schooling, the Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage wrote that 82% of job postings in the field  “preferred” a second specialized advanced degree; however, only 14.5% “preferred” a PhD and even fewer required it[1]. However, Ms. Holland noted that for those pursuing a high level position, such as Head or Assistant Head, a PhD might become more important.

When speaking of the research requirements of academic librarians, Ms. Holland was quick to confirm that tenured academic librarians are required to conduct some sort of interest-based research, which may be based on the physical collection that they administer or alternately how users relate to that collection or libraries in general. While the options for research are virtually limitless, it is still considered “part of the job”; Ms. Holland has published book reviews for Papers, the journal of the Bibliographical Society of Canada and has written several articles highlighting the collections at McGill.

Perhaps the most critical question for those of us looking for an entrance into what is acknowledged as an extremely tight field is “how do I start?”.  Ms. Holland pointed out that while your first academic job may not be in a special collection per se, some experience with rare materials is essential. In her own case, her entry came after working in the architectural collection (which included a small archival holding) at the Université de Montréal. Furthermore,  Ms. Holland noted that volunteering work is a good way to gain initial experience and may garner later contractual work.

As many of the positions in Special Collections are rarely advertised and often occur through word of mouth, it may be difficult to find a permanent position immediately. Ms. Holland originally arrived at McGill as a replacement librarian and later left to work for an antiquarian book dealer in Montréal, when the official funds for her position ran out. Those with experience in the commercial antiquarian book trade may find themselves with an even more competitive CV. Again, the prerequisites for the Fisher position state that experience in ‘’the trade’’ is also preferred.

When asked about the future of Special Collections, Ms. Holland replied emphatically that it is digital, something which even the notoriously closed Vatican Library is embracing in its joint project with the Bodelian Library at Oxford. Special collections are notoriously difficult to physically access; as such digitization provides a particularly neat solution, given that most rare materials are not held under copyright laws. Through the increased use of digital exhibition techniques, Ms. Holland explained that collections were becoming available to a completely new audience and furthermore that audience is extremely excited to have the opportunity to “see inside” these famous treasure troves.

Perhaps the message we seekers of Special Collections careers should take from Ms. Holland’s thoughts is that while the path may be difficult, good things await those who persevere. Like many library jobs, the key appears to be experience, patience and the ability to learn from every job you take. Then one day you too may be involved digitizing a 10 ft.-long set of life-sized architectural specifications (drawn by hand) by the early 20th century architect Percy Nobbs, as Ms. Holland is currently doing for a future exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada.

Sources Cited:

[1] Hansen, K. (2011). “Education, Training, and Recruitment of Special Collections Librarians: An Analysis of Job Advertisements.” RBM: The Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Cultural Heritage, (12)2, 110-132.

All the world’s memory

By Jacob Siefring

Some years later, said Austerlitz, when I was watching a short black and white film about the Bibliothèque Nationale and saw messages racing by pneumatic post from the reading rooms to the stacks, along what might be described as the library’s nervous system, it struck me that the scholars, together with the whole apparatus of the library, formed an immensely complex and constantly evolving creature which had to be fed with myriads of words, in order to bring forth myriads of words in its own turn. I think that this film, which I saw only once but which assumed ever more monstrous and fantastic dimensions in my imagination, was entitled Toute la mémoire du monde and was made by Alain Resnais. – W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz, 261

Stills are all taken from the short film 'Toute la mémoire du monde,' directed by Alain Resnais, included on 'L'Année dernière à Marienbad,' distributed by the Criterion Collection.

Around the same time I discovered Last Year in Marienbad, I fell upon reference to Toute la mémoire du monde. Both films were directed by nouvelle vague director Alain Resnais. The simplest way to describe Toute la mémoire du monde is to say that it’s a short documentary film of the setting and institutional practices of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris as they were in the late 1950s. But, at just twenty minutes in length, Toute la mémoire du monde is much than this short description can convey. This remarkable document of a place was produced and released by Les films de la Pléiade as the fifth installment in the series Encylopédie de Paris. Dark, ominous orchestral music and pompous, hyperbolic commentary, composed by Maurice Jarre and read by Jacques Dumesnil respectively, complement the stunning cinematography of Resnais.

The film begins in the basement of the library, where gross heaps of documents are consigned to a process of slow degradation. Parce que leur mémoire est courte, les hommes accumulent d’innombrables prosthèses, Dumesnil announces. [Because its memory is short, mankind accumulates limitless prostheses.]

This annunciation is representative of the estranged viewpoint of the film’s commentary that is to follow. Witness:

Books, delivered to readers for consultation in the Salon de lecture, are ’torn from their world to feed these paper-crunching pseudo-insects.’

Confronted with these bulging repositories, man is assailed by a fear of being engulfed by this mass of words. 

These readers, each working on his or her slice of individual memory, will lay the fragments of a single secret end to end.

The periodicals section must digest 200 kg of paper daily.


This film is recommend viewing to anyone, provided that it’s not too much of a pain to track down. (It’s sometimes available in the special features of Last Year at Marienbad.). Students and practitioners of library and information science as well as enthusiasts of French new-wave cinema will however find this film especially deserving of their attention. How many other films are there like it, documenting so thoroughly an institutional context? Enriching and utterly engrossing, the 20-minute film is a fine example of Resnais’ superb cinematography, which makes the film entertaining for anyone, even my three-year-old daughter.

 

A note on the director: Alain Resnais made visually beautiful films. He was known as the ‘dolly king’ because of his frequent use–and total mastery–of steady tracking shots, an effect that impressed itself indelibly into my memory: the beauty of pure uninterrupted tracking motion. Hiroshima, mon amour is Alain Resnais’s most known film in North America, it would seem. But Marienbad is just as masterful and compelling as Hiroshima. Both films resulted from Resnais’ collaboration with French nouveau roman figures, Alain Robbe-Grillet (Marienbad) and Marguerite Duras (Hiroshima). It’s on the special features of this Marienbad that you’ll find Toute la mémoire du monde. Don’t take my word for it–seek these out.

'Last Year at Marienbad': eerily, human figures in the courtyard cast shadows, but statues and trees do not...

 

Thoughts on Internet distraction, pt. 2

By Jacob Siefring

If you descend from the Mont Royal hillside on which the McGill School of Information Studies building is situated and traipse through central campus to arrive at the Schulich Engineering library and go into the stacks at QA 76.9 C 66, you’ll be looking at a strange welter of sensational and dystopic-sounding titles of books. These titles include:

Trapped in the Net; Life on the Screen; The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace; Silicon Shock; The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet; Technobabble; Digital Diaspora; Cyburbia; Slaves of the Machine; Moths to the Flame; High Noon on the Electronic Frontier; Monster or Messiah?; Digerati; War of the Worlds.

Before this smatter of classificatory wonder I found myself, having come in search of Theodore Roszak’s The Cult of Information: A Neo-Liddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking, first published in 1986 and later revised. The book is, of course, hopelessly outdated technology-wise but nevertheless an impassioned, thoughtful, and even touching defense of humanistic values (the ‘art of thinking’).

One passage in it I found absolutely critical, and a complement to all of the points raised by The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Here’s Roszak:

Introducing students to the computer at an early age, creating the impression that their little exercises in programming and game playing are somehow giving them control over a powerful technology, can be a treacherous deception. It is not teaching them to think in some scientifically sound way; it is persuading them to acquiesce. It is accustoming them to the presence of computers in every walk of life, and thus making them dependent on the machine’s supposed necessity and superiority. Under these circumstances, the best approach to computer literacy might be to stress the limitations and abuses of the machine, showing the students how little they need it to develop their autonomous powers of thought. (242)

The last line in bold rings truest. Given that technology is “limited” and prone to “abuse”–read, overuse–parents and educators need to be responsive to this potential.

As a parent of a three-year-old, I confess that I’m terrified of the technological “gray” territory that lies ahead. How will my partner and I define and fix boundaries? Such as: At what times is it appropriate (and not appropriate) to use an electronic device? At what age should my daughters first acquire wireless electronic devices? Six? Five? Eight? Seven? How closely will my partner and I have to police our daughters’ use of their devices–for what activities? What would a ‘reasonable’ time allocation look like for such activities as gaming, texting, and video streaming? In brief, I feel as though I were staring off a cliff into a fog, or peeking into the box of some Pandora as yet unseen.

After calling for children to be educated for an awareness of the limitations and abuses of computing power, Roszak cites Sherry Turkle’s book, Life on the Screen (1995), and speaks of the importance for children of experiencing nature and observing the behavior of wild animals. This almost strangely feels like a non sequitur, but I don’t think it is. Unless we situate our understanding of technology relative to the continuum of human experience, we risk failing to grasp what its proper use might be.

As for classification tier QA 76.9 C 66: that’s in the section of the Library of Congress classification outline (QA 75.5 – 76.95) defined by the parameter “Electronic computers. Computer science.” I would add that we’re looking at something like Computers, their (dystopic) effects on individuals and on society. It’s a remarkable grouping of books and ultra-relevant for our time; that much is certain. Such recent titles as discovered iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us (Larry Rosen, 2012), Digital Diet: The 4-step plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life (Daniel Seeberg, 2011), and Cyber Junkies: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap (Kevin Roberts, 2010) indicate the rising visibility of our problematic relationship to our computing technologies. (Sieberg’s book I actually read, after finding it in the ‘new books’ section of the Atwater Library and Computing Centre, where I volunteer. It contains some sage advice you might find helpful if you want to curtail your electronic attachment. Through it I learned about RescueTime, a tool that provides weekly analytic reports on your online behavior.)

Final note: This blog is currently seeking submissions from any student, current or former, of McGill’s School of Information Studies. Tell your peers about your summer job/practicum/internship; reflect on the degree you just completed; rant about how hard it is to find a job; or tell us what you’re reading that’s good (or bad). Direct commentaries to jacob.siefring@mail.mcgill.ca. Here at Beyond the Shelf I will not be very active, but will occasionally do some cross-posts from my blog, bibliomanic, where I will be posting regularly.

Get A Job, Or: The Ethics of Library Internships

By Laura Sanders

Make your own card catalogues at blyberg.net

Well, it’s that time of year again…classes have wound down, we have (mostly) caught up on sleep after the bleary, stress-filled days of final exams and projects. And now, as we step blinking into the sunlight for the first time in months, our minds turn to the chirping of birds, the roar of road construction…and summer work.

But just as exams and projects are stressful, finding a way to occupy your summer brings its own concerns.

Many library school students will spend their summers doing internships, or as they are more commonly known in Canada, practicums. The School of Information Studies at McGill University, where I attend library school, offers such a summer practicum program. Participants spend ten hours a week during the summer doing unpaid work at a variety of institutions, including public libraries, university libraries, school libraries, hospitals, museums, corporations, and archives. When it was first announced, I was extremely interested in participating, but I soon began to have reservations. In fact, I find the whole idea of practicums/internships extremely problematic.

On the plus side, practicums provide library students with hands-on opportunities that they probably wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. You get a taste of a real working environment, you do a range of different things, and you actually get to apply the concepts you’ve been talking about in class all year. Practicums also provide valuable networking and mentoring opportunities. And since we live in the real world, we have to acknowledge that if organizations were required to pay their practicum students, these positions would not be nearly so plentiful. But as this article in The Atlantic points out, practicums/internships nonetheless have an element of exploitation: “Internships have become an inextricable part of the college experience and a pre-req for post-graduate employment. But this presents a Catch-22 for lower-income students who want to work in politics, research, journalism, non-profits, or other industries that traffic in unpaid internships.”

In short, students who can’t afford to work for free miss out.

Back in February, a mass e-mail was sent to everyone in my program about a summer library internship available with the United Nations in Vienna. I was able to think of several particularly sharp and knowledgeable classmates who would have made excellent candidates for it, and the opportunity could no doubt have launched a stellar career for each of them. But as the internship program does not reimburse students for travel expenses, living arrangements, or visa costs, none of us could afford to do it. By not providing any financial recompense for its interns, the UN is excluding many of the brightest and best in the field in favour of applicants who come from privileged socio-economic backgrounds. Admittedly, this is an extreme example, but I do find it ironic that an organization that spearheads international aid does not facilitate the induction of a more diverse range of people into its ranks.

As blogger named Lance at New Archivist states in this post: “I think most people will agree that diversity includes not only people of different racial and ethic backgrounds, but people of different economic backgrounds and experiences. However, at the same time we are giving a lot of lip service to diversity, we are also constructing roadblocks to achieving those goals.” People from all walks of life have a great deal to contribute to the library and archival communities and should have the opportunities to do so.

But not only may we be driving away those of lower socio-economic backgrounds, the willingness of volunteers to do the work that requires professional expertise undervalues our profession. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Sadly, this is an age where most people don’t see the relevance of librarians and archivists anymore (including, sadly, the Canadian federal government, which recently made enormous cuts to Library and Archives Canada). The task falls to us to be tireless in our efforts to explain why our services are more necessary than ever.

The summer practicum is not an option for me. At thirty years of age, I am too old for parental assistance and because I was employed full time before starting library school, I am not eligible for student loans. I am funding my studies through a combination of personal savings and part-time work during the school year. Full-time summer employment is my only chance to counter the alarming depletion of my bank account. Of course, because the library field relies so much on student practicums, summer library positions for students are few and far between. I spent much of April grinding my teeth wondering how it would all pan out.

A potential solution, one that The Atlantic doesn’t mention, is government programs. I was hugely fortunate to find full-time summer employment in the library field through a government-subsidized program called Young Canada Works. It provides grants to public institutions such as libraries, museums, and NGOs to hire summer students. The program is hugely beneficial to both parties. The student is paid a fair wage and gains experience in his or her field, and the hiring institution gets a helping hand at no cost to them. At my job I get to do a bit of everything: circulation, cataloguing, home delivery, selection, weeding, and event planning. It will go far toward helping me find a professional position after graduation. I thank my lucky stars that the Canadian government funds this program. As it turns out, my employer has also hired practicum students through McGill’s program, and our job descriptions are basically identical. But because of Young Canada Works, I get paid. Not for a second do I take this for granted.

So for me, it worked out extremely well. However, given the cuts the Canadian government has recently made to both libraries and youth services, I cannot expect that this solution will benefit a wide range of library students. If anything, the number of beneficiaries is only likely to decline over the next few years. I understand why many feel that unpaid internships are their only option.

The thing is, I should not be too swift to condemn practicums, as they can be hugely beneficial. Especially since I do still hope to do one. But the circumstances in which students undertake them makes an enormous difference. In my case, McGill offers a winter practicum as well, when students do their ten hours a week in lieu of a fourth library school course. To me, this is key. I will still pay the same amount of tuition. The time I spend doing practicum work will be the same amount of time I would spend on coursework for a fourth class. It will not cut into my summer earning time, nor even the part-time job I hold during the school year. In situations where internships do not negatively impact a student’s financial position, I am all for them.

Have any of you had experience with practicums or internships, paid or unpaid? What effect have they had on your library career? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments or you can tweet me at laurainthelib.

Congratulations!

Guys! We made it through the year! Maybe we don’t have our grades yet, but we did attend a blow-out end-of-the-year party last week, so I think we’re pretty much capped off, checked out, splitzo, kaput, etc. for the year. Some of us forever!

I feel like I should apologize for dropping off the face of the… er blog-world this past semester. It was a rough one for me, and as an MLIS II student, making it through to graduation was my top priority. Sorry MLISSA, sorry everyone (ie. no one) who follows the blog regularly.

So! As this will likely be one of the last posts I write as MLISSA Publication Committee Chairperson I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read the blog. Special thanks to those who participated in the SIS Kids Questionnaires, and an EXTRA SPECIAL thanks to contributors (Jacob Siefring).

And I guess I also wanted to ask, What do you guys think should happen to the blog in coming years? Be honest. It’s a new baby. It’s just learning to walk. Sadly, no one was elected to become MLISSA Publication Committee Chairperson for the Fall 2012-Winter 2013 school year. If you’re an MLIS I (soon to be II) student, think about adopting it next September. You can’t be a worse parent than me.

Nice knowin’ ya,

Emily Upper

From the McGill Archives

By Jacob Siefring

Back from the Life Sciences Library, I’ve some knowledge nuggets with which to distract you from the grueling last two weeks of this semester’s group projects and final papers.

McGill’s Life Sciences Library, also known as the Osler Medical Library, is located on the third floor of the remarkably annular McIntyre Medical Building. The Medical Library was established in 1823, and it’s the oldest and first of the McGill University Libraries. The pictured building was completed in 1965.

I went in pursuit of a reference to a certain George Mines of McGill University that appears in “Inner Rhythms,” a chapter of Chaos: Making a New Science (James Gleick; 1987). Circuitously I was pointed in the direction of “Sudden Cardiac Death: A Problem in Topology” by Arthur T. Winfree, an article that appeared in Scientific American in 1983. Therein Winfree relates the following piece of esoterica:

On November 7,1914, George Ralph Mines was working in his laboratory in McGill’s School of Medicine. Because it was Saturday, there were few observers to notice Mines’s presence. A 28-year-old physiologist, Mines had been studying fibrillation, a radical disorganization of the heart’s pattern of contraction. He was a pioneer in his discipline.

“Mines had been trying to determine whether relatively small, brief electrical stimuli can cause fibrillation. For this work he had constructed a device to deliver electrical impulses to the heart with a magnitude and timing that could be precisely controlled. The device had been employed in preliminary work with animals. When Mines decided it was time to begin work with human beings, he chose the most readily available experimental subject: himself. At about six o’clock that evening a janitor, thinking it was unusually quiet in the laboratory, entered the room. Mines was lying under the laboratory bench surrounded by twisted electrical equipment. A broken mechanism was attached to his chest over the heart and a piece of apparatus nearby was still recording the faltering heartbeat. He died without recovering consciousness.” (Winfree, p. 144)

Fibrillation causes the deaths of several hundred thousand people annually in the U.S. alone, and — the defibrillator’s invention notwithstanding — its causes are still not well understood. Mines’s work on the heart was pioneering, because was “the first to demonstrate that fibrillation can develop after a relatively small electrical impulse if the impulse is applied to the heart at the right time.” (Normally, after an electrical impulse is applied to the heart, the cardiac rhythm is momentarily disturbed, but returns immediately to normal. Fibrillation — that violent and disorganized activity of the heart during which the heart may feel to the hand like a “wad of writhing worms” — does not occur in most instances of shock application.)

A.T. Winfree. When Time Breaks Down. Princeton UP, 1987. 42.

Apparently, the name given to that small but ever-critical interval during which an electrical stimulus will wreak utter havoc on the rhythmically synchronised functioning of cardiac cells — this critical time period is known as “the vulnerable phase.” For the sake of interdisciplinarity, I propose this term — “vulnerable phase” — as an apt descriptor of the time we’re now going through, the end of the semester. If you feel stressed, just think of George Ralph Mines, who died so unexpectedly “in the line of duty.” R.I.P., George Mines. Beware of electrical stimuli; long live research.

Thoughts on Internet Distraction

By Jacob Siefring

In June, 2010, W.W. Norton published The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr. Because I frequently read book reviews, I was aware of and interested in this book for some time before I got around to it. What gave me a sense of urgency to read it was seeing Jonathan Safran Foer’s high praise of Carr’s work. He basically called it the book of the year. The book develops ideas advanced in Carr’s article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, published in The Atlantic (Jul-Aug. 2008). Before that, Carr published two books on technology, notably Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage and The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google. He’s a former executive editor for the Harvard Business Review.

Carr believes — and shows, using lots of evidence drawn from research in neuroscience and cognitive science (the book is shelved in McGill’s Osler medical library) — that our interlinked computing technologies pose a serious challenge to deep thought, hampering our capacity to reflect and contemplate in meaningful ways. This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking claim; at least, not for anyone who has had the experience of, while piloting a web browser, being unable to focus for any length of time on the task at hand, or who has found their attention increasingly diverted and distributed through a web of hyperlinks. Figures of speech to describe our computerized, information-saturated mental state abound: popcorn brain, mental obesity are among the most apt. Forget information overload.

I think we’ve most all of us felt an inkling of suspicion that web use might influence thought patterns and micro-behavior. Why Carr’s book is important is because it culls together enough scientific research, present-day information, and historical context to show us that — beyond the shadow of a doubt — the net is rewiring our neural circuitry and impairing our intelligence (that is, at least insofar as high-level intelligence used to mean the ability to grapple with and dissect complex problems, as well as to remember lots of information). If you’re skeptical of this claim, I encourage you to read Carr’s book. Nevertheless, for the hurried, here are a few of what I retain as its most salient points.

  • Developers of automation-technologies and decision support systems are often motivated by the desire to relieve ordinary people of the burden of executing routine, mundane tasks. They want to make life easier for everyone; so, they advocate outsourcing decision-making to computers and the writing of algorithms to assist in search retrieval (namely, Google’s PageRank). These evangelists of technology often share the view of Wired writer Clive Thompson, who refers to the Net as an “ ‘outboard brain’ that is taking over the role previously played by inner memory. [...] He suggests ‘by offloading data [from our brains] onto silicon, we free our own gray matter for more germanely “human” tasks like brainstorming and daydreaming’ ” (Carr 180). But this conception of the brain, and the well-intentioned idea that technology will allow our thoughts to become more serene and lofty, are dead wrong, Carr shows. Unlike a computer, the human brain does not have a limited storage capacity; experts on memory affirm that “the normal human brain never reaches a point at which experiences can no longer be committed to memory; the brain cannot be full.” “The amount of information that can be stored in long-term memory is virtually boundless” (192).
  • We tend to forget that our interaction with technology is always bidirectional, not just unidirectional. Human intentions may determine behavior, but, as Carr reminds us, tools and media exert a powerful shaping force on consciousness and behavior — especially once they become dominant or integrated into daily routines. This is well summed up in John Culkin’s formulation, “We shape our tools, and thereafter they shape us.” And every tool, every medium has its specific limitations — from the map, to the typewriter, to the power loom, to the clock, as Carr shows (209-211). The searchable internet’s limitations include its isolation of facts and information from their various contexts; and the sprawling, heterogeneous character of the information that’s found there. But enough.

For Carr’s critics, his points are bitter pills to swallow, and many have dismissed them outright. His argument has been called “defeatist” and “reductionist.” From my personal experience, I tend to agree with Carr. The internet has changed the way we think, and, for the most part, not for the better. But at least there’s good news. Exposure to Carr’s book has made me more self-aware of my overuse of the internet and of its insidious effects on my thought patterns. Since having read The Shallows, I’m less inclined to take a laptop with me now when I go out. Even as I write this, I have used the internet-restrictive application Freedom (available for a free five-use trial period!) to curb my forays into the hyperlink jungle, where my thought wanders away and my will atrophies. I think I can even hear myself think. Can you? Hear me? Hear yourself think? Not get distracted?

Role models for librarians

By Jacob Siefring

Do you know “Dead Germans and the Theory of Librarianship” by Sydney Pierce? It was listed as a required reading on the Information and Society fall 2011 syllabus. The short journal article’s point was this: LIS doesn’t have a distinctive, illustrious, or particularly rich history. It’s here, there, and everywhere. It’s a field with roots in many other distinct areas of inquiry. And, indeed, it’s a field that only really came into its own towards the start of the last century.

This is in contradistinction to the humanities and social sciences. Whereas the theoretical foundations of such fields as sociology, psychology, and philosophy are bolstered by sets of writings (respectively, to cite the key reference points, those of: Weber and Simmel; Freud and Jung; Hegel, Kant, Nietzsche, and Benjamin) that provide a common ground covered by students everywhere, forming a large chunk of the core curriculum, the historical foundations of LIS are often summed up in a single lecture during a given course, with little depth or context provided.

Of course, LIS does indeed have a rich history that should receive our attention. What prevents that history’s investigation is that it would mean countless furloughs and tangents into other disciplines, and into the past, not the future, where everyone likes to believe we are heading. Anyways, this blog can be used as a place to draw attention to areas of interest, historical or otherwise, that may be left out of course curricula. (I hope to do so shortly with a discussion of Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, so check back if you’re interested.)

But back to Pierce’s article. By asking head librarians and LIS profs for suggestions regarding who the “dead Germans” of LIS might be, Pierce kept hearing the following names mentioned on numerous occasions:

John Cotton Dana;

Ralph Shaw; and

Jesse Shera.

At least ten other names were dropped, but none besides these three received a double or a triple mention. If you’re in the librarianship stream, you might have already heard about these three guys in detail. If you don’t know them, have a glance at their Wikipedia entries. Their biographies are interesting, and their efforts to advance their professions and society are admirable. Even if their writings aren’t listed on any syllabus (or are they?), these dead Americans deserve a mention and maybe even a read.

From the brain of Tarquin Peter Steiner

Hey folks. So, this is my first Beyond the Shelf post, and I’m a bit nervous. So I’m going to try and keep it short and sweet. Bittersweet. Well, not too bitter. Listen, just hold your nose, okay? It’ll be over in a second.

We’re all getting wrapped up in the first of our group assignments, and I feel like the true weight of the readings is starting to sink in. We’ve all been told (I’ve been told) by quite a few second-years that the readings aren’t super useful, and often fall by the wayside when we’re performing workload triage. But I’m finding them to be rather integral to writing things like the second assignment in GLIS601 – it’s pretty clear from the way our courses are structured that our readings are designed to be our first sources of citation – though I’m willing to argue the point. To be blunt, the assignments themselves can’t possibly be incredibly informative re: our later lives as professional librarians – this is just the first semester. When going over the rubrics and assignment outlines, I wonder how interested our professors really are in the output of the MLIS Is, and whether or not these assignments are really just chits to prove we’ve done our homework.

I just reviewed what I wrote above, and I realize how pessimistic it sounds. But that’s how I’m feeling about all the make-work. There are broader concepts that students are exploring in their in-class – and out-of-class – groups that can’t be included in the scope of our assignments. And I get the impression that these are concepts that occur to each student, equally, as they pass through the introductory classes – certainly, I’ve talked to some of the upper-years and Ph.Ds about them.

I’m lucky enough to have two graduate students of philosophy in my section of 601 – ex-grads, I suppose. In conversation with Messrs. Tkach and Dinneen, a common theme has developed around our interpretations of models – of information, information-seeking, and information-retrieval, specifically. Namely, a sort of phenomenological gap: see diagram. We all remember examples of this from our high-school days – the octet rule vs. orbital hybridization (chemistry), or tendency to talk about D&D vs. # of friends (life). These are models developed to describe real things that happen in nature – and the models we discuss in class are supposed to describe real observations about information, or the way people interact with it.

Wherever there is an exceedingly complex entity, or something that is invisible, models are the way to study them. Much can be gained with the help of such models, yet models are not the final word in any science, from social to physical. They are only an intermediate step in the scientific process of investigation. But this is not a thought that is discussed in our courses.

In the hard sciences, there is an implicit understanding that your model is only a representation of a complex entity – and your true commitment, as a professional, is to truth. Thus, scientists tacitly understand that their life’s work will probably amount to the development of increasingly accurate – but never completely accurate – models. However, the flavor of our library sciences courses is much less abstract – and I think it misses that subtle tang of truth. The thesis of our courses, unspoken, is that we will be applying these models to our professional lives, eventually. But it seems clear that as professionals, we will constantly be reconsidering and attempting to refine our own stance on these concepts. Our course assignments ask us to use the models and ideas from our reading, but give us no time to address that central idea. I think that’s kind of a travesty, considering we’ll be devoting our lives to it.

With credit to the University of Oregon.

Okay! That was storytime, now for some details. In cooperation with some other students in the MLIS program, I’ve been running around collecting interviews from Alternative Library coordinators for CKUT’s literary segment. It airs at the asshole end of the morning – 7:30a.m on Mondays. And the segments we’ve been collecting run into the 0.5-1 hour range, whereas CKUT wants 5-10 minute segments. I’ve been getting some pretty incredible stuff out of people who have no previous library training, but are encountering the same problems that we’re being instructed about in our courses – and attacking those problems using DIY solutions that mirror the strategies we’re being taught. You can find the full uncut interviews here, and the first one here. I’m calling it “Behind the Stacks,” but I’d love it if someone could suggest a name that doesn’t sound so dirty. If you’re interested in helping, want to suggest changes to the format – or new places for Behind the Stacks to go once we’re finished with Alternative Library spaces – please leave a message after the beep (in the comments).

Something else that’s not very well addressed in our courses: research. I’ve been talking with a few kids in MLIS I who are a) interested in researching in library science and b) need money to do research. As such, we’ve started up a little research list-serv – a group designed to make us all feel competitive and motivated, as well as inform us of deadlines/calls for papers/grants and granting organizations. We’ve compiled a few megalists of those resources, so if you’re interested in research in archives or libraries (or the dreaded Knowledge Management) leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll add you to the list.

Finally, something fun: many of you know me from the weekly pubnights we’ve been having since the start of classes. We took a break last week to give people a chance to get their fill of POP, but we’re coming back with a vengeance: OUTDOOR VIDEOGAMES, BITCHES. If we get rained-out, we’ll be using a contingency room inside the Education Building, so I’d appreciate it if some experienced A/V nerds could volunteer to help us set up. I’ve run a couple of these events before, and they’re always pretty fun: see pictures below (note: you do not have to come dressed as a dude from Zelda. Please do not come dressed as a dude from Zelda).

Bloggin’ ’bout Blogs

Every once in a while, I’m confronted with just HOW MUCH there is out there on the internet. In SIS, we talk a lot about Information Overload — and sometimes it can get a little boring — but the fact is, Information Overload is a fact. After coming across a Hack Library School post in my Google Reader about Hackers’ favourite library blogs to follow, I thought it might be nice to share it with you all. They’ve also come up with a more extensive list (of over 200! blogs) here.

But first! Every SIS student should definitely sign up for an RSS feed reader. As I mentioned above, I use Google Reader.  And, no, I am not being sponsored by them. But I can’t say enough how great these things are — you’ll just have to see for yourselves. By signing up for Google Reader today! (Little. Yellow. Different.)

Hack Library School is a good place to start if you want to find some neat library blogs across North America. Since I’m ready for the weekend and they’ve already compiled that list above, I think I’ll just send you all over to them. And, hey, did you notice that they won the Salem Press Library Blog Award for Library Blog Newcomer, 2011? Yeah, that’s a thing.

If you want to stay closer to home, McGill Library has its own blog. Lots of McGill Library School alumni have kept up great blogs, including this one and this one. And even though it’s not technically a blog, you should all make sure to make use of the SIS wiki.

Hopping around blogs is pretty fun, so I encourage everyone to do it! You’ll quickly find some good, interesting things to subscribe to that will help you keep informed about libraryland. I also encourage you to talk about some of your favourite library blogs by commenting below.

Preservation? Who Needs It!

By Megan Miri Stecyk

Books are dying.

They are an endangered species. They are bodies on a battlefield. They are on their way out. To misquote John Lennon “Books will go. They will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that”. This is not a call to arms. This is a eulogy.

Books have long been the staple food source of the library diet, and tastes are changing. The technology of the printed word has been passed and surpassed by the most rapid, least bloody revolution in human history. A revolution that occurs every second, that shifts and advances every year, and gives birth to sweeping cultural changes in ten years. We are entering strange new world of invention and artificiality, of possibility and accessibility. Entire personalities are created and discarded online, with information that is generated unique and instantaneous. Sitting in libraries, we devour knowledge via glowing screens, at a rate as fast as our eyes and brain can coordinate. Learning is the ingestion of light, rather than words.

I refute Yann Martel’s statement “Books last”. They will not last much longer. Scholars of tomorrow have no use for the clumsy and time consuming medium of Books. A single lengthy digital scroll will enter our minds, unhindered by cumbersome physicality. The author’s voice will be unmitigated by anything but what they wrote. Books will not endure, they will fade from un-use until they expire, quietly and alone.

“Blasphemy!” You cry, “Heresy!” To which I will misquote the monk Línjì Yìxuán and say “the Buddha you met on the road is not the true Buddha. If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. Then you will be free.” As librarians and technicians of information, we should embrace this. We need to start accustoming our habits to the database of the human mind, start learning how to manage the ephemeral. This is the future of knowledge, the transient and momentary, not the false Buddha-mind that comes from years of study and meditation. It is time to take a page from the Luddite playbook. Smash the old ways, embrace the new ones. Burn the books, kill the Buddha, buy an iPad.

Books are redundant. Digital screens that mimic the soft, inviting texture of paper will surely kill the need for books. E-readers now offer the same experience in a more versatile and comprehensive form. Physical books will become fetishized objects, relics of the romantic sentimental longing for the time when things were better. The Golden Age of Reading, when every citizen had their personal library. The literary champions of the past will give tours of their obsolete and quaint House of Books, filled with the tokens of their childhood (“my first boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia, with covers by Chris Van Allsburg, who also wrote and illustrated Jumanji”), the mementos of places once lived(“This copy of Beautiful Losers I picked up while studying in Montreal, from a second hand bookstore in Mile End” ), and the symbols of status and companionship (“Yes, I have read War and Peace. In fact I have a rare, leather bound first edition, signed by the author himself, just over here”). Books are fine objects, beautiful and comforting, but in a country where literacy is as widespread as a viral video of Kittens inspired by kittens on Youtube, who needs ‘em?

No, ignore the sentimental romantics and outdated traditionalists. Ignore the book fairs and second hand booksellers. Ignore your colleagues and book club members. Ignore the books on your shelves and stacked next to your bed. Ignore me, if you want, but know that my words will live in the digital firmament, to be discovered or discarded equally. “Preservation?” you ask. “Who needs it?” I answer. Or rather, who needs to take care of it? We will save what we want, and the rest will pass like detritus along the river. Books may embody information as much as convey it, but is it not information that can be got elsewhere? Books are the detritus of our memory, and will be swept away when we have no more use for them.

Books will die, but they must before they can be resurrected.

Bibliography

Or, Twenty Years of Reading that Lead to The Final Fruition of Opinion Expressed in This Article, Including, But Not Limited To, The Following

Abrahamse, Ben. (2007). “Of Many Book, There Is No End”. The Marginal. 15(1)

Fournie, James. (2005). “Facing the Future”. The Marginal. 13(1)

Cleave, Maureen (2007). “The John Lennon I Knew”. Telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/10/05/bmlennon05.xml. Retrieved 20 December 2007.

Dilevko, J., & Gottlieb, L. (2003). Resurrecting a Neglected Idea: The Reintroduction of Library-Museum Hybrids. The Library Quarterly, 73(2), 160-198.

Fogerty, J. E. (2000). Balancing the content and the container: defining the role of artifacts in the digital age. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, 24(2), 251-265.

“Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” by Jerry Mander

“Killing the Buddha” by Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau http://killingthebuddha.com/

“What’s Stephen Harper Reading” by Yann Martel http://www.whatisstephenharperreading.ca/

“The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The Story of a Thief, a Detective and a World of Literary Obsession” by Allison Hoover Bartlett


Works not properly cited according to standards due to the nature of research being completely of an online and haphazard nature

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.