August 30, 2015
I’m interviewing Stephen Bales, the author of our most recently published book, The Dialectic of Academic Librarianship: A Critical Approach. Stephen, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.
I’d like to ask you first off to give a little summary of your book for readers.
When many people think of the academic library, they conceptualize it as some sort of monolithic entity. The library becomes a grand, transcendent idea that is understood in terms of one-sided abstractions like “Education,” “Intellectual freedom,” “Scientific progress,” and “Democracy.” While people have always tended to engage in this type of thinking when considering the products of their culture, such thinking is not particularly conducive to the critical examination of our societal institutions. Neither is it conducive to making meaningful change to human society. Things get “stuck” because they become seen as eternal, unchanging realities, and the status quo of neoliberal capitalism becomes “just the way things are,” even though capitalism is marked by inequality and anxiety. The book proposes dialectical materialism as a different way of looking at the academic library; one that refuses to consider the library either as either something sacrosanct or as a purely physical set of things, but one that takes into account its great influence on history and culture. Marxian dialectics lets us view human institutions in terms of material relations in motion, as conglomerations of both physical and mental phenomena that penetrate all aspects of human existence; relations that help us define our total social reality. I outline dialectical materialism as a means for both explaining the function of academic libraries in capitalist society and as a means of action, i.e., as a basis for a praxis of social transformation. A major current in the library literature is the debate over library neutrality. If one adopts a dialectical understanding of academic librarianship, it becomes impossible to accept even the possibility of neutrality. Through considering both theory and practice, the book supports the notion of academic librarianship as an inherently political profession, and I use dialectics as a basis for advocating a progressive professional approach to our work.
Thanks for that summary. I think it’s a good jumping-off point for a discussion about your views on library neutrality. I think a lot of readers here would acknowledge that neutrality is an impossibility, but for the sake of argument or clarification, is some form of non-interference with an autonomous library user possible, say, at the reference desk?
That is a good question. If you look at an isolated reference transaction it may certainly appear to be neutral. From a dialectical perspective things start to get sticky. When you take a relational view of reality, you see the reference transaction as a part containing the whole. That is, the transaction is a phenomenon that exists only by virtue of its relations to all other phenomena. Even though the transaction may appear to be an isolated event, it is codetermined by everything else (and it codetermines everything else). Now many of the other phenomena that comprise this network of relationships have their own interests and, in the current sociocultural situation, these interests are dominated by those of capital. So, although the provision of information in the reference transaction may appear to be neutral, we need to consider the other things that impact it, i.e., we need to critically analyze the “deep structure” of reference work. We should ask questions like: who has access to the reference interview, who does not, and why? How do reference workers orient themselves to their patrons and why? How do the library’s collections affect the outcome of the transaction? How does the bibliographic organization of the information that we access and proffer affect the outcome of the transaction? Whose interests do such things ultimately serve and at whose expense? What are the ideological foundations of the neutral reference transaction? There are many more questions that may be considered in relation to reference work. Although it is not feasible to consciously approach every reference transaction as a particular locus of struggle against neoliberal capitalism—we would frustrate and alienate most of our patrons—it is important to consider the things that we do and how we do them in relation to the whole in which they are performed. By understanding the deep structure surrounding a phenomenon, we can work towards fundamentally transforming that structure in support of social justice. Ultimately, “non-interference” supports capitalist ideological structures and is a political act.
So to get a little concrete, in the context of reference specifically, what does praxis look like? What are some examples of what you would recommend? I realize that is a little outside the scope of the book, but in a way it could contextualize it for practitioners.
I am particularly fond of Marx’s quote that “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.” Theory seems like a bottomless pit sometimes and it’s easy to get caught up in the esoteric and obscure. That is why praxis is essential for meaningful progress. The best way to test our theories is to put them into practice, and the best way to evolve our theories is through practice. How might we do this in our reference work? In terms of the “back stage” processes of information retrieval like information acquisition and organization, subject selectors and liaisons should proactively work to obtain and/or make more easily available counterhegemonic information resources. They can do the same things by creating online subject guides that point patrons as well as other reference staff to alternative or underrepresented viewpoints. In terms of the public service side of reference, it is important to understand where librarians fall in the reference transaction as a social relation. If we understand that reference librarians are in a position of power in most of these transactions, we can better counteract problems with the reference process like patron library anxiety, discrepancies in service due to patron status, or the tendency for reference interactions to devolve into essentially a commodity exchange. One solution to problems like these may be a simple reorganization of the physical environment that makes for a more commensurate and collaborative relationship between the librarian and information seeker. I am often struck by how many reference rooms look like church with a desk and librarian in the place of an altar and priest, transforming the patron into a sort of supplicant. It’s not particularly surprising, as a result, that many patrons feel cowed when asking for help. Ditch the desks and put the patron on the same level as the gatekeeper. In addition, librarians should consciously adopt a relationship with the patron in which they are compeers as opposed to the more traditional client/patron, agent/customer, or priest/supplicant relationships. Not only will the hesitant library user be empowered when treated as an equal, the reference librarian will benefit from the exchange. Currently, I am looking at the work of the “cultural school” of interpersonal psychoanalysis and the ideas of authors like Karen Horney and Harry “Stack” Sullivan for clues on how to accomplish this. Horney and Sullivan advocated that the therapist approach her analysand as an ally rather than as a patient or (worse) as an opponent. Both the therapist and analysand are transformed through the therapeutic relationship. Reference librarians often treat users like patients, opponents, or (worse yet) as objects to quantify in stats. By allying themselves with users, librarians can actively position their practice against concepts symptomatic of capitalism such as hegemonic domination (e.g., through the marginalization of bodies of knowledge), alienation (of the user from these bodies of knowledge as well as their reduction to consumers on which we shovel information), and exploitation (not only the exploitation of the library user, but of the information workers themselves). Thinking dialectically about our practice, i.e., thinking about what we do in terms of the relationships involved, opens channels of communication and subverts hierarchies; it puts us in closer touch with the communities that we serve.
I’m curious about how what you’re saying would play out in different situations at the reference desk. Let’s say you’re in an academic library, and a white male fraternity member, with a Dad who is a “pillar of the community” and a big landowner, comes to the desk asking for help writing a composition paper in which he wants to make an ugly neoliberal argument about poverty and personal responsibility. Hypothetical, yes, but this kind of thing happens, especially at certain kinds of institutions. I take it that you would find yourself challenged to ally yourself with this user. And in prescribing counter-hegemonic resources, wouldn’t you be making use of your position as the bearer of academic authority? It seems to me there may be a conflict between allying yourself with the user and countering neutrality. Isn’t overcoming the traditional teacher/learner paradigm of reference work in effect potentially adopting an attitude of neutrality? I mean if you adopt the point of view of the user, aren’t you forgetting about your own?
A basic problem that I am having in applying psychoanalysis to my areas of research is that psychoanalysis is a bourgeois science. The point of psychotherapy is to adjust people to capitalist society, not to transcend it. And, with the exception of a few solid socialist theoreticians like Eric Fromm and Slavoj Zizek, Freudo-Marxism has left us with strange ideas like orgone accumulators. So, to be honest, I am still working on fitting ideas like the therapeutic alliance into my ideas concerning professional praxis. Nonetheless, I have high hopes because psychoanalysis is very dialectical; it is also proactive, aiming to actively help people. I think that approaching a user as an ally should not preclude challenging the user or being challenged by the user in return, it should encourage productive conflict. What I have in mind is something more in line with Paulo Freire’s ideas about developing conscientizaco, where the relationship between librarian and user is used to develop the consciousness of both parties (as opposed to the traditional model of education, which Freire concludes “domesticates” the learner/information seeker). The ally relationship is not neutral because the counter-hegemonic librarian has a normative agenda, and the process does not involve adopting the point of view of the user so much as it means maintaining open lines of communication. By overturning the traditional teacher/student relationship, we challenge–even if in just a small way–a system typified by unequal power structures, one-way communication channels that push resources, and a fascination with efficiency and quantification. Doing this is definitely not an easy task when one considers the limited amount of time that a reference worker typically has with a patron, and developing conscientizaco will likely require a concerted effort on the part of the librarian to maintain and build relationships. But again, dialectics recognizes the part only in terms of its relationship to the whole. Should the reference librarian approach the fraternity member patron as an ally? I suppose that depends a great deal on context and circumstance. Foisting counter-hegemonic resources on an arch-conservative student will likely do nothing but maintain the traditional (and stereotypical) power structure found in college. It is probably a quixotic strategy at best. Progressive librarians need to pick their battles, and injecting didactic lectures on class struggle into every situation is counterproductive if one aims at staying both sane and employed. From a dialectical standpoint everything is related to everything else, and we can address the same problem from alternative vantage points besides engaging a quixotic reference interaction. What we might not get done in a reference interview, we might work towards tackling by writing an article, building a collection, or serving as a faculty advisor to a student book club.
That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for making it a bit more concrete. What we’re talking about seems related to the difficulty in developing class consciousness among people who view themselves as middle class. If people are relatively comfortable, they are less likely going to be aware of their place in the larger structure of power and the nature of their dependency. You’re a practicing librarian. Do you have any illustrations from your own experience in teaching about the capitalist system to middle class students, whose motivations in college may primarily be to have a stronger position when they enter the job market? I realize that your book isn’t focused on concrete illustrations like this, but I think it can be helpful in orienting your readers to it.
I work at Texas A&M University Libraries where a large portion of the student body are white, middle class, and from rural areas and small towns. The student body is a very conservative one. For example, in Austin there is a popular tee-shirt reading “Keep Austin Weird.” I have seen tee-shirts on the TAMU campus that read “Keep College Station Normal.” A few years ago another TAMU librarian and I taught a semester-long, for-credit freshman seminar course on zombies (this was at the peak of the latest zombie craze). The class combined an examination of pop culture with in-depth library and information literacy instruction. It was also a rare opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with the students because, unlike some colleges and universities, as Texas A&M does not have required information literacy credit classes. We organized the class around group discussions of zombie movies, books, and video games, and the semester project included an essay on one such pop culture artifact. Over the course of the semester, everyone brought their own experiences and interests to the conversation. My library colleague, for instance, shared her expertise in public health with the class, and the students brought their own experiences and personal interests. I used the opportunity to discuss concepts like the commoditization of culture, the “other,” and hyperreality in relation to the subject matter. I suspect that these ideas were new to most of the class, most of whom would label themselves conservative, but we discussed these ideas along with other viewpoints. The main requirement for the discussion was that one had to be willing to listen. As the course instructor, I was in a position of authority but I consciously adopted a policy of communicative openness (but not impartiality) as opposed to the transmission-belt model of pedagogy in which students are seen as tabula rasa. What surprised me the most was that my preconceptions about the students’ reactions were wrong. Despite the fact that most of them had solidly middle class backgrounds and that most if not all of them were from Texas, their intellectual curiosity far outstripped their desire to blindly defend political positions or tune out challenging ideas. It might have had something to do with the fun subject matter and the fact that zombies act as ciphers upon which we transfer social relations. This let the students really plumb the depths of something usually seen as trivial entertainment that really, if anything, only made the subject more interesting. The analytical papers that they turned in at the end of the semester were refreshingly critical in nature, but they didn’t come across as forced. They weren’t political in a partisan sense, but they were political in that they made connections between history and social relationships. I harbor no illusions that any of them had been radicalized, but I believe that the consciously dialectical approach to learning made for a meaningful change in their approach to analysis in the Hegelian synthesis sense, as opposed to treating them like buckets to fill up with knowledge. To top it off, they learned how to effectively use library resources during this process of discovery, and I like to think that their critical attitudes towards the subject matter critically oriented them towards the research process and the research process. I was changed by the experience as well.
Thank you. That is clarifying, as well as inspiring of hope. I’d like to finish by asking you if there’s anything else that you’d like to say or to emphasize.
I was going to say “keep the library weird” but I think it is probably more appropriate to say “make the library weird,” and if you haven’t started already, start today.
That’s great, Stephen. Thanks so much for doing this interview. I hope that your book reaches a lot of people.
Cool, thanks Rory
August 23, 2015
Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio interview with Ramsey Kanaan…
Ramsey Kanaan has been involved in attempting to disseminate the good word for well over three and a half decades now. As a young teenager, he founded AK Press (named after his mothers initials) from his bedroom in Scotland. He’s co-founder and Publisher with PM Press. You can check out his current efforts at www.pmpress.org. We talk about the importance of independent publishing to social change.
(Note: the funny sounds at the start of the podcast are the sounds of a badger. Each week Derrick Jensen uses different wildlife sounds at the start of his show.)
August 14, 2015
2015 Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science (CIDLIS) Registration and Paper Submissions Now Open
The 2015 Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science (CIDLIS) is now accepting registrations and submissions. The conference (known in past years as the Symposium on Diversity in LIS Education) focuses on issues of diversity, inclusion, and information access in library and information professions. It will be held at the University of Maryland on October 15 and 16, 2015. Please note that this is a corrected date from some previous announcements.
It is the one place that practitioners, educators and scholars interested in issues of diversity, inclusion, rights, and justice in LIS can gather to learn, share, and network. The two previous events have included more than 170 attendees; it is a large and vibrant community who attend this conference.
I. Registration and Workshops
As always, attendance is free (and so is the food). All you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Registration” in the subject line. Please include your name, title, organization, and contact information.
The main day of the conference will be on Friday, October 16. That day’s events will include the presentations, keynote talks, and the presentation of the James Partridge Award.
The events of October 15 will be in the evening – three concurrent workshops:
• A session for doctoral students interested in conducting research and teaching on topics of diversity and inclusion in library and information science;
• A session for faculty interested in conducting research and teaching on topics of diversity and inclusion in library and information science; and
• A session for library professionals interested in collecting data to improve services to diverse populations.
Each workshop will be facilitated by faculty working in these areas.
Space is limited for the workshops. If you want to attend one of them, please clearly indicate which one in your registration email. Unless you say you want to participate in one of the workshops, we will assume that you only want to attend the events on October 16.
When you register, you will also be given the opportunity to make a donation to help support the event. It is not required, but it would be appreciated.
This year, papers for the conference will be refereed and published as proceedings in the new open access Journal of Inclusion and Diversity in Library & Information Science Education (JIDLIS).
The CDLIS planning committee welcomes abstracts that address topics including – but not limited to – the following themes:
• Increasing diversity in LIS education, professions, research, and practice
• Libraries and information organizations as change agents
• The impact of libraries/librarians on social justice
• Libraries as Institutions of Human Rights
• Programming and service to underserved populations
• Programming and service to patrons with disabilities
• Cultural competence in LIS
• Methods for increasing diversity in LIS
Your abstract should be no more than 350 words and also include a title, and your name, title, organization, and contact information. Submitted abstracts must describe papers that have not been published previously nor are under consideration for publication.
Abstracts must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on August 30 via an email to email@example.com. The subject line of the email should be “Submission.”
Please email questions regarding registration and the call for abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information as available will be posted at: http://ipac.umd.edu/cidlis-2015
Sponsors for the 2015 CIDLIS include the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC), the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Maryland, University of Maryland Libraries, ProQuest, Cecil County Libraries (MD), Harford County Libraries (MD), Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (MD), Carroll County Libraries (MD), and Simmona Simmons.
August 12, 2015
John Russell is Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Oregon Libraries, which involves open access advocacy and scholarly publishing as well as digital scholarship services. He has been actively involved in digital humanities projects, primarily related to text encoding, and teaches a digital scholarship methods course as part of UO’s New Media and Culture graduate certificate program. John is teaching a course for us next month called Introduction to Digital Humanities for Librarians, and he agreed to do an interview for the LJA blog to give people a better sense of what DH is in a library context, and what they can learn from his course.
August 5, 2015
Joe J. Marquez is the Web Services Librarian at Reed College in Portland, OR. He has presented and written on topics related to service design, website usability, IT implementation, and marketing of the library. His current research involves implementing a service design methodology in the library environment. He is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy in September, titled, Service Design: Towards a Holistic Assessment of Library Services. Joe kindly agreed to do an interview for the LJA blog, to give people a better idea of what they might learn in his course.
July 27, 2015
Call for Papers: Deadline Extended for Inaugural Issue
Theme: Why is the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies needed today?
The Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies is a peer-reviewed open access journal which addresses the need for critical discourse in library and information science and associated domains such as communication and media studies. It critically engages the cultural forms, social practices, the political economy, and the history of information and information institutions. It also seeks to broaden the methodological commitments of the field and to broaden the scope of library and information studies by applying diverse critical, trans-disciplinary, and global perspectives. The journal engages issues of social and cognitive justice and the historical and contemporary roles of documentary, information, and computational technologies in creating, mediating, surveilling, and challenging personal and social identities in cultural and political economies of power and expression.
For its inaugural issue, the JCLIS will focus on why such a journal is needed, as a platform for critical discourse in LIS. JCLIS seeks to publish research articles, literature reviews, and possibly other essay forms (up to 7000 words) that use or examine critical perspectives on library and information studies. Some of the issues that might be addressed are: What are the current gaps in disciplines and discourses that make the JCLIS necessary? How can scholars speak to past silences in research and thinking in information studies? What is “critical perspective” in library and information studies research? What ethical or political commitments might a critical perspective entail? What do critical perspectives look like in practice?
The theme for the inaugural issue is broad by design in order to encourage diverse perspectives in describing, analyzing, and providing insight into how and where library and information studies might intersect with ethical, philosophical, and/or political concerns, interpretative or speculative approaches to analysis, or experimentation with novel, unique, or exploratory research designs that might be marginalized or excluded from mainstream library and information studies research. JCLIS aims to be a an inclusive platform for library and information studies research,including locally specific research designs and investigations as well as research that adopts a more global or international frame of inquiry. To that end, the journal also welcomes unpublished works in translation.
Deadline for receipt of manuscripts has been extended to December 18th, 2015.
Possible topic areas may include (but are not limited to):
– What is/are critical library and information studies? What might distinguish critical approaches?
– The use of a particular critical perspective for research into topics relevant to library and information studies
– Different notions of critical approaches and perspectives, and their relations to information and knowledge studies and research
– When and why are critical approaches timely? How does its timeliness or not apply to today’s problems of information and knowledge?
– Applications of critical approaches in information institution, organization, or community contexts of practice.
– How critical approaches or methods might relate to other contemporary topics within library and information studies: open access, patron privacy, evolutions in scholarly communication, digital humanities, etc.
– How are critical perspectives included or excluded from empirical or engineering methods in the information and library sciences?
– Descriptions and reflections on methods for conducting library and information studies research with a critical approach. What is the relationship of method tocritical activity?
– Critical perspectives on race and ethnicity in LIS, and/or the need for critical perspectives in LIS research.
– How might postcolonial theory expand the scope and methods of LIS research?
– Critical approaches for investigating militarism and the politics of information.
– Development/Implementation of information services for diasporic populations.
– What has been the relation of critical theory to the LIS tradition and its modes of historical, qualitative, and quantitative research?
– What is the relationship of critical theory to LIS education and to LIS research?
– Failures and shortcomings: how can critical perspectives inform and improve library and information studies?
– Gender and identity within LIS: how might critical perspectives or approaches be used to explore or investigate them?
– #critlib and alternative platforms for critical professional conversation
– Library and information studies versus library and information science: What are the differences?
Types of Submissions
JCLIS welcomes the following types of submissions:
Research Articles (no more than 7000 words)
Perspective Essays (no more than 5000 words)
Literature Reviews (no more than 7000 words)
Interviews (no more than 5000 words)
Book or Exhibition Reviews (no more than 1200 words)
Research articles and literature reviews are subject to peer review by two referees. Perspective essays are subject to peer review by one referee. Interviews and book or exhibition reviews are subject to review by the issue editor(s).
Guest Editors for the Inaugural Issue of JCLIS
Please direct questions to the guest editors for the issue:
Ronald Day, Indiana University – Bloomington: email@example.com
Alycia Sellie, Graduate Center, City University of New York: ASellie@gc.cuny.edu
Andrew J Lau, UCLA Extension: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Editor: Emily Drabinski
Associate Editor: Rory Litwin
Managing Editor: Andrew J Lau
Description of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies
The mission of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies is to serve as a peer-reviewed platform for critical discourse in and around library and information studies from across the disciplines. This includes but is not limited to research on the political economy of information, information institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums, reflections on professional contexts and practices, questioning current paradigms and academic trends, questioning the terms of information science, exploring methodological issues in the context of the field, and otherwise enriching and broadening the scope of library and information studies by applying diverse critical and trans-disciplinary perspectives. Recognizing library and information studies as a diverse, cross-disciplinary field reflective of the scholarly community’s diverse range of interests, theories, and methods, JCLIS aims to showcase innovative research that queries and critiques current paradigms in theory and practice through perspectives that originate from across the humanities and social sciences.
Each issue is themed around a particular topic or set of topics, and features a guest editor (or guest editors) who will work with the managing editor to shape the issue’s theme and develop an associated call for papers. Issue editors will assist in the shepherding of manuscripts through the review and preparation processes, are encouraged to widely solicit potential contributions, and work with authors in scoping their respective works appropriately.
JCLIS is open access in publication, politics, and philosophy. In a world where paywalls are the norm for access to scholarly research, the Journal recognizes that removal of barriers to accessing information is key to the production and sharing of knowledge. Authors retain copyright of manuscripts published in JCLIS, generally with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. If an article is republished after initially publication in JCLIS, the republished article should indicate that it was first published by JCLIS.
Submission Guidelines for Authors
The Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies welcomes submissions from senior and junior faculty, students, activists, and practitioners working in areas of research and practice at the intersection of critical theory and library and information studies.
Authors retain the copyright to material they publish in the JCLIS, but the Journal cannot re-publish material that has previously been published elsewhere. The journal also cannot accept manuscripts that have been simultaneously submitted to another outlet for possible publication.
JCLIS uses the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition as the official citation style for manuscripts published by the journal. All manuscripts should employ the Notes and Bibliography style (as footnotes with a bibliography), and should conform to the guidelines as described in the Manual.
Manuscripts are to be submitted through JCLIS’ online submission system (http://libraryjuicepress.com/journals/index.php/jclis) by December 18th, 2015. This online submission process requires that manuscripts be submitted in separate stages in order to ensure the anonymity of the review process and to enable appropriate formatting.
Abstracts (500 words or less) should be submitted in plain text and should not include information identifying the author(s) or their institutional affiliations. With the exception of book reviews, an abstract must accompany all manuscript submissions before they are reviewed for publication.
The main text of the manuscript must be submitted as a stand-alone file (in Microsoft Word or RTF)) without a title page, abstract, page numbers, or other headers or footers. The title, abstract, and author information should be submitted through the submission platform.
July 23, 2015
A Decade of Critical Information Literacy: A Review of the Literature
By Eamon Tewell
From Communications in Information Literacy, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2015)
As information literacy continues in its centrality to many academic libraries’ missions, a line of inquiry has developed in response to ACRL’s charge to develop information literate citizens. The literature of critical information literacy questions widely held assumptions about information literacy and considers in what ways librarians may encourage students to engage with and act upon information’s complex and inherently political nature. This review explores the research into critical information literacy, including critical pedagogy and critiques of information literacy, in order to provide an entry point for this emerging and challenging approach to information literacy.
Full text: PDF
July 21, 2015
Catelynne Sahadath is the Head of Metadata Development at the University of Calgary, where she manages the cataloging section, where she was responsible for leading their transition from AACR2 to RDA in 2013. Catelynne has previously worked on cataloging and digitization projects for the Government of Canada, and her research focuses on change management in technical services and the impacts of cataloguing changes on public services. Catelynn is teaching a class for us next month, on AACR2 Legacy Practices, and a class in September titled, Introduction to Library Classification in Dewey and LC. She agreed to do an interview about these classes for the LJA blog.
July 17, 2015
From the website:
Project ARCC is a task force of archivists striving to motivate the archival profession to affect climate change. We seek to achieve a four-fold mission:
– Protect archival collections from the impact of climate change
– Reduce our professional carbon and ecological footprint
– Elevate climate change related archival collections to improve public awareness and understanding of climate change
– Preserve this epochal moment in history for future research and understanding
Sounds good to me!!!
July 16, 2015
Conceptual Crowbars and Classification at the Crossroads: The Impact and Future of Classification Research
Workshop sponsored by ASIS&T SIG/Classification Research
ASIS&T 2015 Annual Meeting
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, USA
This year’s Classification Research workshop consciously and critically engages the general conference theme, “Information Science with Impact,” in order to frame conversations about the results and significance of classification research. With the increasing emphasis on impact in and around information science, the theme provides us with an opportunity to consider some of the ways in which we define ourselves as a Classification Research group and how we understand our research to affect and influence theory and practice. Classification matters not only in the functioning of information systems and technologies, but also in the lived experiences of individuals, and in society, organizations, and all information contexts.
The spate of violent events in the U.S., together with the resistance and response, quickens a crucial set of questions about the nature of our work. This workshop aims to cast such violence as a knowledge organization problem. We also aim to consider whether and how classificatory acts and systems can be reparative, or even transformative: What bearing does the structuring of knowledge have upon the seeking, reception, circulation, and use of knowledge and information? Do classifications tell us something about agendas, political contexts, or authority? What role do our classification systems play in constituting, and challenging categories of difference? In what ways have communities used and/or challenged classifications in civic action and protest?
We welcome papers that address positive or negative and intended or unintended consequences of classification, as well as papers and projects that explore potential and possibilities for classification systems and research. Doctoral students are encouraged to submit paper/presentation proposals, and two scholarships covering workshop fees will be awarded to student authors. We also invite presentations and posters of classification design projects in any stage of development, as well as nontraditional presentation formats.
We are interested in work that addresses questions and issues such as the following:
· Encounters with classification in daily life, on- and off-line
· Material effects of classifications, e.g., how do classifications bar or grant access to information, and in what ways does this matter?
· Structures and hierarchies and their effects and consequences
· Design and aesthetics in classifications
· Consequences of specific systems or types of systems, e.g., thesauri, universal classifications, folksonomies
· Reparative/transformative classifications
· Classification research as it relates to diversity initiatives
· Limitations and possibilities for assessing impact of classifications
· The role of classifications in constituting and ordering value in information science, i.e., how measurements of impact rely upon the classification and ranking of what counts as research, users, and knowledge
· Critical / theoretical discussions of classifications, e.g., critical race studies, queer theory, disability studies
· Classificatory mechanisms as tools for building or dividing communities
· Classifications as reflections of agencies, nations, individuals, or organizations
· Classifications in particular contexts, e.g., health information, libraries, archives, the Semantic Web, Linked Open Data, social media, etc.
· Knowledge organization in scientific and political debates, e.g. climate change
· The construction of users (user types, user communities, user identities) through classification
August 20, 2015: Submit abstracts of no more than 500 words for a paper, poster, or alternative format presentation to Melissa Adler: email@example.com
Include your name, title, and institutional affiliation with your submission.
September 10, 2015: Tentative author notification date, to be determined so that authors will be notified ahead of the early bird registration date.
$100, SIG/CR members
$110, non-SIG/CR members
(Fees increase after the early bird registration deadline)
Melissa Adler, University of Kentucky
Jonathan Furner, UCLA
Barbara H. Kwasnik, Syracuse
Joseph T. Tennis, University of Washington
July 14, 2015
Megan Wacha is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the City University of New York. Driven by the statement that Wikipedia is “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” she utilizes this open resource to teach information literacy skills and to make underrepresented groups more visible on Wikipedia. She has presented this work at conferences such as the LITA Forum, ALA Annual, WikiConference USA and Wikimania, the global Wikipedia conference. Megan is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month, titled, Wikipedia: Library Initiatives and Expert Editing. She agreed to do an interview on the LJA blog to give people a better idea of what they will learn from her class and a bit about her background for teaching it.
July 13, 2015
Download the Litwin Books/Library Juice Press 2015-16 Catalog
July 11, 2015
The Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership
Call for Proposals
Editors: Shirley Lew and Baharak Yousefi
Publisher: Library Juice Press
The Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership aims to make explicit the ways in which a grounding in feminist theory and practice impacts the work of library administrators who identify as feminists.
Recent scholarship by LIS researchers and practitioners on the intersections of gender with sexuality, race, class, and other social categories within libraries and other information environments have highlighted the need and desire of this community to engage with these concepts both in theory and praxis.
The current project adds to this conversation by focusing on a subset of feminist LIS professionals and researchers in leadership roles who engage critically with both management work and librarianship. By collecting these often implicit professional acts, interactions, and dynamics and naming them as explicitly feminist, these accounts will both document aspects of an existing community of practice as well as invite fellow feminists, advocates, and resisters to consider library leadership as a career path.
Proposals might consider questions such as:
- Do current practices in library leadership training encourage a critique of power structures within librarianship?
- What does a feminist-led library or information organization look and feel like?
- What are the synergies between feminist and the open knowledge movements?
- How can feminists in library leadership best mentor future feminist leaders? What are the consequences of feminist librarians avoiding leadership work for the profession as a whole?
- How might feminist leaders best advocate for anti-oppression work and confront white privilege in their libraries?
- What are examples of intersectional feminist strategies within library leadership?
- In professional contexts where librarians have academic freedom, are they exercising that freedom fully? If not, why not?
- “Good” vs. “bad” feminism: is there a hierarchy of acceptance of feminist practice within ILS?
- How can a feminist framework guide the work of developing collection policies?
- In our professional history, what are the ways in which librarians have used a feminist framework in their practice of leadership?
- Feminist leaders are often found leading from without, rather than from within, our institutions. Is this due to personal choice, institutional barriers, or are there other forces at play?
Proposals can cover a variety of professional and theoretical topics and methodologies.
Submissions concerning the intersection of gender with sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and class within the context of library leadership are strongly encouraged. Established and emerging practitioners, scholars, and activists are encouraged to submit proposals by December 7, 2015.
Proposals should contain 1) an abstract of no more than 500 words describing the proposed contribution and 2) a brief biographical statement about the author(s). Submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Editors
Shirley Lew is Director, Library and Learning Centre at Vancouver Community College. She is Past-President of the BC Book Prizes, Director on the Vancouver Writers Fest Board, and an active member in professional and literary arts communities for fifteen years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography and Master of Library and Information Studies.
Baharak Yousefi is Head Librarian at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus Library and a Director on the Board of the BC Libraries Cooperative. She received a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies in 2003 and a Master of Library and Information Studies in 2007. She lives on the unceded traditional lands of the Musqueam, Skwxwu7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh people in Vancouver, BC.
July 1, 2015
We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information. We are granting this year’s award to Quinn DuPont of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, based on his dissertation project, tentatively titled, “Plaintext, Encryption, and Ciphertext: A History of Cryptography and its Influence on Contemporary Society.” DuPont’s nominating faculty member wrote:
“His intellectual background allows for cross-pollination of rigorous theoretical approaches from different fields and is useful as a way to add dimension to media archaeology, which has its roots in history and the social sciences. This hybridization adds theory to empirical research, while forcing information studies into a theoretical conversation of its own methods.”
The award consists of a certificate suitable for framing and $1000 check.
Since this award is for ongoing research, other applicants who are still working on their dissertations will be eligible to enter their work next year, and we strongly encourage them to do so.
For more information about the award, please visit http://litwinbooks.com/award.php.
Litwin Books, LLC
PO Box 188784
Sacramento, CA 95818
June 22, 2015
REFLECTIONS: Narratives of Professional Helping
Published by Cleveland State University School of Social Work
Call for Narratives: Special Issue on Librarians as Helping Professionals
Deadline: September 30, 2015
Laura Habat, Guest Editor
Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping is a double-blind peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal that has been published since 1995. All of the journal’s issues are now available online at www.rnoph.org and via EBSCO SocIndex. This is a call for narratives to be featured in a Special Issue: Librarians as Helping Professionals.
The compelling vignettes found in Reflections narratives portray interpersonal interactions, witnessed events, and felt experiences. Rooted in key moments, this narrative content is placed within the context of a well-told story (exposition). In addition to showing and telling what happened in their practice and activism, authors often reflect on their stories and share conclusions. Reflections articles are valuable for education for practice. They also contribute to empirical knowledge about the nature of practice in the helping professions and often introduce important ideas and concepts that address unresolved theoretical problems.
The present Special Issue on Librarians as Helping Professionals will publish narratives about professional practice with individuals and communities as it relates to librarianship. Historical reflections on the role of librarianship as a helping profession are also welcome. Librarians and other helping professionals recognize the need for access to information and resources that encourage learning, enrichment, and a sense of community. Another shared value is a commitment to helping others and working with the public, including vulnerable populations. Librarianship is firmly rooted in advocacy for information and working with people to access that information. Libraries promote lifelong learning, civic engagement and community development. Librarians are both information professionals and helping professionals. We offer a unique perspective in our work with the community. This special issue is an opportunity for librarians to publish narratives which acknowledge these aspects of the profession.
Please read the Helpful Instructions on the journal website as well as the Review Guidelines prior to preparing your manuscript. Write your narrative in a style which makes sense to you, from a single vignette to longer stories with multiple portrayals of interaction and references to literature, within the range of 1200-8000 words. Submit to Reflections, being sure to choose the Librarians as Helping Professionals section when doing so. When registering for the journal, be sure to check the author box. For feedback, even on an early idea for a narrative, please contact the Guest Editor: Laura Habat, MLIS, MSW-Candidate, email@example.com. Librarians wishing to serve as reviewers of submitted articles are also welcome to contact the guest editor.