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!
To be honest, I kind of assumed they already talked to each other, but I guess the ability to record on one OS and edit on another is just new today. Camtasia Studio 8.4 & Camtasia for Mac 2.8 Now Available: Cross-platform Screen Recording.
We’ve updated our screen recording file format, so you can pass screen recordings freely between Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac. Using a single file format enables you to send a recording from one platform to the other effortlessly, including all the meta data, such as cursor effects and smart focus.
We hope users see the new .trec file format from TechSmith as an indication of our commitment to the cross-platform user experience.
A recent article of possible interest: Distance Students' Attitude Toward Library Help Seeking.
Distance students' attitude toward seeking library help was examined in a medium sized university. A web-based survey was conducted for indentifying library help seeking attitudes among distance students. A 30-mile radius of the campus was used to arbitrarily distinguish between near campus and far campus groups. The study concluded that distance students who visit library and seek help more frequently are more likely have higher self-efficacy on learning. Among all types of library help sources, Libguides were the most used. Near campus students preferred face-to-face consultation more than virtual service, and they also tend to seek help from peers. However, far campus students were more likely seek help with a distance librarian. Email continued to be the most common way of distributing and receiving library information. Social network tools for information seeking were not appreciated as had been anticipated. Implications of the findings for providing effective reference service are discussed. There is not one reference service model that fits all. A library should determine the best reference service that meets the changes of their communities and library's function over time.
"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.
Earlier this year I mentioned a couple of useful tools to help you determine what CMS and plugins are being used on a given site.
Amit has an even better list of Online Tools To Know Everything About a Website, including things like what hosting company is being used, and a tool to determine whether a site is accessable from different countries. Definitely worth a bookmark!
Want to brush up on MOOCs and Librarianship? Until September 30, 2014,
Routledge is pleased to offer the Library & Information Science community free access to a collection of articles highlighting MOOCs and librarianship. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free, online classes designed to provide university-level education to a large number of students. As MOOCs become a mainstream part of higher education, libraries will play an important role in the advancement of these innovative learning opportunities.
You can access 18 articles right now, not sure if they'll be adding more throughout the year.
Over the past couple of days I've run across a couple posts that will help you quickly manage the behaviour of LinkedIn's email alerts and endorsements.
Ahh, so much better!
I've long maintained that one very important, yet often overlooked component of good screencasting is a good microphone. My current rig is the Samson CO1U, but it didn't even make the list of Lifehacker's list of contenders for Five Best Desktop Microphones. Check 'em out, and if you're in the market, pick one up - your listeners will thank you!
One of the few hassles of using a hosted service for this blog is that, especially unless I want to pay for the top-tier of services, most of which I don't need, I'm mostly at the whim of Typepad for styles and overall themes. A couple of years ago I asked about a mobile-friendly theme, and finally, finally today they announced a responsive design theme!
Heck, I still view almost all my blog content via RSS, but on those occasions I click through I sure do appreciate a site that recognizes I'm on a smart phone. And now my site finally does too. Happy reading!
Yesterday Google launched add-ons for Google Drive, suddenly making their online office product an awful lot more extensible. Lifehacker has a listing of some good tools to get you started, including information on how to create your own add-on, courtesty of Digital Inspiration.
Some of the existing add-ons that might be useful for libraries include the MailChimp Merge, some mind-mapping tools (don't you love meetings?) and of course EasyBib might prove useful for your students. Wonder what else we could come up with that'd be library-specific?
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!
A couple of altmetrics related updates. The Scholarly Kitchen has a great writeup on EBSCO's recent acquisition of Plum Analytics, and an announcement from a couple weeks ago that Springer is now sharing data from Altmetric on SpringerLink. It'll be an interesting year in this arena, don't you think?