- Why did ERIC remove access to full text documents?
- What process did the ERIC team use to restore the PDFs?
- Why did it take almost two years for ERIC to restore the documents?
- What are the next steps?
Amanda Wakaruk, Government Information Librarian at the University of Alberta, has written a comprehensive article outlining the BS (my words, not hers), libraries in Canada have been dealing with over the past several years when it comes to accessing Federal information. Her entire paper is available on the UofA Institutional Repository: What the Heck is Happening up North? Canadian Federal Government Information, Circa 2014.
Here's a paragraph to whet your appetite:
Parks Canada removed hundreds of lesson plans from its website, the Aboriginal Portal of Canada was closed with two weeks’ notice, access to tables of 1665-1871 Census statistics disappeared with the decommissioning of E-Stat, and we started to notice serious lapses in content on once trusted websites (e.g., ministerial speeches were no longer being added to departmental websites). To make matters worse, we were learning about restricted access to publications which used to be freely available online. For example, in order to access dozens of reports on the Health Canada website you now have to fill in and submit a form before the pdf document will be sent via email. Because this requires the use of an identifying email address, some suggested that it was in violation of Section 4 of the Privacy Act. Furthermore, when a library staff member attempted to order multiple titles using these forms, she was informed that they would not be provided until she explained how she intended to use them.
Maybe BS isn't strong enough?
Here's a jab from Rick Mercer on the subject:
Hat tip to Dani for the info about this paper!
"On April 29, 2014 the Interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Chantal Bernier, revealed that Canadian telecommunications companies have disclosed enormous volumes of information to state agencies."
This lead sentence comes from Citizen Lab's recent post, Responding to the Crisis in Canadian Telecommunications. I heard about that post after listening to the most recent episode (#31) of Jesse Brown's Canadaland podcast, Your Telecom Provider is Selling your Information to the Government. Well worth the 32 minutes!
Using the template in the blog post above I have sent requests to Telus (mobile), Fido (mobile) and Shaw (Cable, Internet, VOIP) asking them to disclose the personal information it collects, retains, manages, and discloses about me, and I plan to post the information I receive here because CitizenLab makes such a compelling case and I want this information generally to be public:
Why Your Requests Matter
Beyond simply exercising your legal rights, these requests matter on both the personal and the national level. Personally, by filing these requests you will be empowered to think about whether you’re OK with the amount(s) of information that your telecommunications companies collect or record about you, the duration of time they record that information, and their willingness to explain who they share information with. In effect, you won’t be at the mercy of pundits and talking heads to explain whether the collection of data matters to your life, in the abstract, because you’ll have the data in hand to make your own decisions and reach your own conclusions.
Beyond self-empowerment, it’s important for Canadians generally to file these requests to telecommunications companies because the companies have so steadfastly refused to communicate with the experts, with government bodies, and with interested members of the press. Almost all of the ‘polite’ ways of figuring out what these companies are up to have been exhausted: it’s time, unfortunately, to compel these companies to explain why they collect data, how much of it they collect, and explain why they disclose the information. To be clear, telecommunications companies in the United States and Europe have already begun releasing ‘transparency reports’, or documents explaining how and why the companies share information with state agencies. Those reports are the result of American and European publics supporting their civil advocates and privacy officers, lending their incredibly powerful voices to the policy and legal efforts that had been ongoing for years. Canadians are amongst the most digitally connected populations on earth: now it’s time for us all to figure out who’s been monitoring, and disclosing, who we’ve been connecting to and whether existing practices need to be reined in.
Requests were sent via email to Shaw and Telus on May 7, 2014, and via snail mail to Fido on May 8, 2014. I received an automated email response from Telus in 24 minutes, and nothing of the sort from Shaw.
I'll be back in early June or sooner with an update.
You may remember Dale Askey from such posts as Edwin Mellen Press files lawsuit against academic librarian, Minor updates on the Edwin Mellen lawsuit, and ONE lawsuit dropped by Edwin Mellen Press, but Askey is still being sued personally #FreeDaleAskey. All's been quiet in public on that whole fiasco as far as I can tell, but this just in:
The Canadian Library Association is pleased to announce that Dale Askey, of McMaster University, has been chosen as winner of the 2014 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada for his commitment to intellectual freedom in the face of an unprecedented defamation suit brought against him by the academic publisher Edwin Mellen Press.
Congratulations and stand strong, Dale!
As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education and the CBC, Edwin Mellen Press has dropped ONE lawsuit; the one that names both Dale Askey and McMaster University, but according to an email sent to the ARL board of directors by Vivian Lewis, Acting University Librarian at McMaster, EMP has NOT dropped the original suit against Dale personally! This is mentioned in passing in an update to the Chronicle piece as well, though seems to be glossed over in favour of the good news for McMaster University :-/
Notice that in their press release, EMP says they're dropping one of the lawsuits not because they were in the wrong, but because "The financial pressure of the social media campaign and pressure on authors is severe. EMP is a small company. Therefore must choose to focus its resources on its business and serving its authors. Accordingly, EMP has discontinued the court case against McMaster University and Dale Askey."
Oh, and I find it hilarious that EMP opens their press release by stomping their foot and crossing their arms in a huff, "The Edwin Mellen Press (“EMP”) is a scholarly publisher. This has been confirmed in a recent Open Letter to the Scholarly Community posted on the web by the Association of Canadian University Presses." (emphasis mine).
Keep up the pressure all - Dale's not out of the woods yet!
Just a quick post to point to Publisher hits new low: Suing librarian for criticizing their books, John DuPuis' comprehensive and always updated timeline of events / statements of support for Askey / condemnation for EMP. I won't mention the situation again until something breaks...
A quick follow up on last week's post about Edwin Mellen Press suing Librarian Dale Askey. The Chronicle of Higher Education has now gotten the word out, along with a link to a petition at Change.org asking EMP to drop the lawsuit. That petition is up to 1,186 signatures as I write this; please add yours. BoingBoing also reports, probably bringing the news to a more general audience.
And finally, the Canadian Library Association sent an email to members this AM as follows:
One of the Canadian Library Association's stated values is:
We believe that libraries and the principles of intellectual freedom and free universal access to information are key components of an open and democratic society.
It is imperative that library workers are able to openly discuss and publish their thoughts, research and opinions. The imparial evaluation of information quality is one of the key contributions of professional librarians. The CLA Executive Council wishes to publicly support Dale Askey of McMaster University and McMaster University in their defence against the unprecedented libel suit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press.
The CLA Executive Council strongly urges Edwin Mellen Press to drop this suit.
Oh, and I was surprised to learn in my quick searches last week that neither CLA or ALA appear to have a legal defense fund for members :-/
As reported on the Princeton Academic Librarian blog, and by Inside Higher Ed, Edwin Mellen Press has filed a lawsuit against McMaster University librarian Dale Askey, for a post Dale wrote on his personal blog while he worked at Kansas State University. That post, critical of Edwin Mellen Press, has since been taken down, but there's a link to the legal documents which contain a copy at the top of the Academic Librarian post.
What a shameful approach to a critical review. Shame on you Edwin Mellen. The Inside Higher Ed blog notes that Dale is currently paying legal fees out of his own pocket. Dale, please don't give up your defense - I'm off to research how best to take up a collection in your support, but I'd love to be able to simply hold it in escrow so donations can be returned when McMaster or KSU step up, as they should.
Do any of you readers know of such a service?
1. What is the scope of the deal?
Elsevier has purchased Knovel in its entirety.
2. Were there multiple bidders?
Yes, there were several.
3. Why did Knovel investors decide to sell to Elsevier?
Knovel was not looking to sell and was aggressively investing in its business. We were approached by several potential acquirers because of the market’s growth potential and Knovel’s leading position. This presented an attractive opportunity to partner and grow the business much faster and more aggressively than we would on our own. Knovel investors and management believe that the partnership with Elsevier would benefit our customers, investors and employees to the greatest extent vs. other potential partners.
I honestly don't have anything new to add to this situation, but I wanted to throw together a few links for you to follow (legally even!) if you want to try and figure out what's going through the heads of the administrators at Canadian Universities that are planning to sign on with the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence. I can sure think of better places for a University to spend a large amount of money!
First, Michael Geist, as always, offers a clear and well-reasoned post: Why Universities Should Not Sign the Access Copyright - AUCC Model Licence.
Second, earlier today The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary (TUCFA) posted a link to a fascinating PDF in which CAUT, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, responds point by point to the University of Calgary's response to CAUT's concerns with the AUCC/Access Copyright model licence.
Finally, earlier this month Ariel Katz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, took a detailed look at how the recent decision in the Georgia State University copyright case is relevant here in Canada. He concludes that, "... American universities are much more willing to assert and defend their rights, while many Canadian ones, short-sighted, extremely risk-averse, and ill-advised, still cling to their habit of being dependent on Access Copyright."
Ouch, and spot on, IMHO!
Oh, and I notice Dr. Katz is also keeping a running list of members in the Canadian Hall of F/Sh/ame.
This made a big splash up here in Canada last week, but then seemed to quickly quiet down, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong spots. Read many of the details on the Excess Copyright blog, but as Howard Knopf points out, "In an astonishing development that has caught all but a handful by surprise, U. of T. and Western have signed copyright deals with Access Copyright that appear to be an early and complete capitulation to an important battle over the costs and parameters of access to knowledge in Canadian post-secondary institutions."
Down in the comments someone writes, "I actually sit on the Access Copyright Working Group for Western. No one that I know on that committee knew anything about this agreement. It also comes hot on the heels of the entire student body (undergraduate and graduate students alike) voting to opt out of the Access Copyright Tariff. There are many, many questions about the deal and the entire process that need to be made public."
See also Sam Trosow's post on the subject.
Does anyone have words from the institutions about why they've caved like this?
A quick followup to my post earlier this month noting Sarah Houghton-Jan's (LiB) rant about Overdrive's different catalogues. TeleRead point out that OverDrive has in fact clarified their position, but without making any mention of Sarah's post, which is likely the cause of theirs. It'd be great to hear a debate between these two parties :-)