July 5, 2017

Timothy Gorichanaz wins the 2017 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research

Press release
Media contact:
Rory Litwin, rory@litwinbooks.com

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information. We are granting this year’s award to Timothy John Gorichanaz of Drexel University, based on his dissertation project, “Understanding Self-Documentation.” In this work, Gorichanaz seeks to better understand our current obsession with self-documentation – pictorial documentation in particular (e.g., the “selfie”) – through a study of the popular artistic practice of self-portraiture from the point of view of document theory and the philosophy of information.

A member of the award committee says, “Gorichanaz shows a wide-ranging knowledge of the relevant work in philosophy and information science, displaying an ability to make novel and insightful connections amongst a broad range of theorists. On this base he builds a set of well-crafted and fascinating research questions about the nature of the self-portrait as a document and as a form of experiential understanding.” The committee is confident that this dissertation will be a valuable contribution to the areas that Gorichanaz identifies in his proposal: document theory, information behavior, the philosophy of information and critical discourse within information science.

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.


May 24, 2015

New issue of IRIE on Ethics for the Internet of Things

International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE)

Issue 022, Volume 22, December 2014
Ethics for the Internet of Things
edited by Hektor Haarkötter, Felix Weil

[ Current issue ]

Editors’ note:

Many science fiction phantasies already claimed that one day machines will be superior to human beings and computers will finally take over. But unlike in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001’ or Asimow’s ‘I, Robot’ the latest developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) give reason to suggest that if this will happen it won’t be necessarily machines that physically resemble human beings with legs, bodies, voices etc. that will do the job (robots in the classical sense). If, then it will be more like in Matrix – the physicality of the necessary intelligence (i.e. computing power) will vanish as it will be incorporated into the physical world of our daily life itself. It won’t be separate machine entities that will dominate the human kind but it will be by the embedding of computing power into the ordinary things of our daily life and their being connected with each other to form a virtual pervaded living space. A living space that then could not only be paradise (optimized by the computing power embedded to the best for mankind) or hell (used to encage and enslave its inhabitants) but even more also a pure illusion (encaged and enslaved inhabitants that are made believe and even sense realistically that they are in paradise).

This is what philosophically the Internet of Things is all about: Things won’t be physical things anymore that are independent objects for the examination, exploration and manipulation of an equally independent subject. Things will be what is presented to the subject and the subject is what the computed presentation presupposes ‘on the other side’: a user, a monitored, a … . Thus, if the things change in the IoT we will change. And thus, the underlying philosophical subject-object paradigm has to change as well taking this interplay into account. Again, not only theoretically (as depicted in science fiction far from any possible reality) but very practically regarding our daily life: how we automate our homes, how we care for elder people, the way we monitor our children, the concepts we use to organize life in (smart) cities etc. For the good (of who), for the bad (according to what norm)? This is the ethical challenge raised by the IoT and this issue presents some very interesting answers to it and where not complete answers yet very helpful outlines for possible answers an ‘Ethics for the IoT’ can give and must give (rather sooner than later).

Sincerely yours,

the Editors.

[ Current issue ]

February 7, 2015

CAPAL 15 Program Announced

Dear all,

On behalf of the conference organizing committee, I’m pleased to present the preliminary program for CAPAL15: Academic Librarianship and Critical Practice, the second annual conference of the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL). The program can be viewed in full online at bit.ly/CAPAL15program.

The program features sessions on a wide range of topics, from open access to critical pedagogy and information literacy to digitization to philosophy to academic freedom to corporatization and neoliberalism, and much more. We are also excited to welcome our keynote speakers, renowned cultural critic and public intellectual Henry Giroux (McMaster University) and critical LIS scholar Sarah T. Roberts (Western University). We hope you enjoy this exceptional program.

Registration for the conference is now open and available at the following link: http://congress2015.ca/register. Note that Congress fees are cheaper if you register before March 31st.

Please visit our website for further information and updates:

Also, join our Facebook event page at bit.ly/CAPAL15Facebook to connect with others attending, as well as following us on Twitter at #CAPAL15.

Dave Hudson, CAPAL15 Program Chair

December 20, 2014

Statement from Information Studies Academics and Professionals on Documentary Evidence and Social Justice

There is a new open statement circulating, written by UCLA Information Studies faculty, led by Safiya Noble. Written in response to the events in Ferguson and the crisis that it has opened up, it expresses the political orientation of members of the LIS field. It is titled, “Statement from Information Studies Academics and Professionals on Documentary Evidence and Social Justice,” and it is the first item on the new #critinfo blog. Here’s the blog’s self-description:

This blog was inspired by working on a statement that “Black Lives Matter” to the LIS community by a majority of the faculty at the UCLA Department of Information Studies. Because there is a lack of clarity about whether UCLA resources can be used to promote such a statement, we are posting our statement here, and asking our colleagues to link to us and promote more signatures and affirmation about the importance of social justice to the LIS community.

We invite other statements to be sent to this site, which is currently maintained by Safiya Noble in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. For more information: contact criticalinfostudies (at) gmail *dot* com

Read More

November 7, 2014

CFP: The Big Deal: 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization

Call for Papers

The Big Deal: 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization

May 28-29, 2015
Milwaukee, WI

The role of ethics in knowledge organization has moved from the background to the foreground. Objectivity and literary warrant alone have been shown to be insufficient for ethical knowledge organization. Ethical concerns have been demonstrated in the roles of exclusivity and point-of-view, the relationship between literary and cultural warrant, in the creation of knowledge organization systems that embrace socio-political symbolism, and in the evolution of standards and professional best practices for the implementation of knowledge organization. Following the success of conferences held in 2009 and 2012, The Knowledge Organization Research Group joins with the Center for Information Policy and Research of the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to present the Third Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization. We welcome papers and posters on any aspect of ethics and knowledge organization including but not limited to: bibliographic standards, cataloging and indexing best-practices, classification, controlled vocabulary, technology, the professions, cultural, economic, political, corporate, international, multicultural and multilingual aspects of knowledge organization.

Keynote Speakers:

Tina Gross, Catalog Librarian/Associate Professor, St. Cloud State University

Joe Tennis, Associate Professor, University of Washington, and President, International Society for Knowledge Organization

Call for Papers

We invite submission of proposals which will include name(s) of presenter(s), title(s), affiliation(s), contact information and an abstract of 750 words for papers; 300-500 words for posters.

All abstracts will be published on the website of the UWM, Knowledge Organization Research Group (KOrg). Full papers will be published in a special issue of Knowledge Organization.

Submit proposals via email to Inkyung Choi: ichoi@uwm.edu

Abstracts due: February 16, 2015
Notification of acceptance by: March 16, 2015
Full papers due: July 16, 2015
Poster: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/groups/sois/webdocs/events/EthicsInKO-CFP.pdf?

The Program Committee:

Melissa Adler, University of Kentucky, USA
Jihee Beak, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Allyson Carlyle, University of Washington, USA
José Augusto Chaves Guimarães, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil
Jane Greenberg, Drexel University, USA
Birger Hjørland, The Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark
Lynne C Howarth, University of Toronto, Canada
Joyce Latham, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Patrick Keilty, University of Toronto, Canada
Hur-Li Lee, Conference Co-Chair, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Jens-Erik Mai, The Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark
Steven J. Miller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Hope A Olson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Sandra Roe, Milner Library, Illinois State University, USA
Richard Smiraglia, Conference Co-Chair, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Joe Tennis, University of Washington, USA
Michael Zimmer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Sponsored by:

UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies
The Center for Information Policy Research
The Knowledge Organization Research Group

August 22, 2014

The Digital Future of Education – New Issue of the International Review of Information Ethics

International Review of Information Ethics
Vol. 21 – July 2014
The Digital Future of Education
edited by Johannes Britz, Michael Zimmer


The Digital Future of Education: An Introduction
by Johannes Britz, Michael Zimmer

The Ethics of Big Data in Higher Education
by Jeffrey Alan Johnson

Student Privacy: Harm and Context
by Mark MacCarthy

The Ethics of Student Privacy: Building Trust for Ed Tech
by Jules Polonetsky and Omer Tene

Teachers as nightmare readers: Estonian high-school teachers’ experiences and opinions about student-teacher interaction on Facebook
by Maria Murumaa-Mengel and Andra Siibak

Canadian University Social Software Guidelines and Academic Freedom: An Alarming Labour Trend
by Taryn Lough and Toni Samek

Digital Content Delivery in Higher Education: Expanded Mechanisms for Subordinating the Professoriate and Academic Precariat
by Wilhelm Peekhaus

Digital Education and Oppression: Rethinking the Ethical Paradigm of the Digital Future
by Trent M Kays

Book Review: Honorary Volume for Evi Laskari
by Herman T. Tavani

All content is free, here.

August 7, 2014

U.S. sought to edit the historical record of a court proceeding

This news from the Electronic Freedom Foundation:

UNSEALED: The US Sought Permission To Change The Historical Record Of A Public Court Proceeding

A few weeks ago we fought a battle for transparency in our flagship NSA spying case, Jewel v. NSA. But, ironically, we weren’t able to tell you anything about it until now.

On June 6, the court held a long hearing in Jewel in a crowded, open courtroom, widely covered by the press. We were even on the local TV news on two stations. At the end, the Judge ordered both sides to request a transcript since he ordered us to do additional briefing. But when it was over, the government secretly, and surprisingly sought permission to “remove” classified information from the transcript, and even indicated that it wanted to do so secretly, so the public could never even know that they had done so.


July 14, 2014

Quiet Please (film about homeless library users)

QUIET, PLEASE from Quincy J. Walters on Vimeo.

About homeless people who use the library….

November 8, 2013

Help shape the future of SustainRT, ALA’s new Sustainability round table!

SustainRT Virtual Discussion
Free; Open to the whole library community

Help shape the future of SustainRT, ALA’s new Sustainability round table!

Dec. 11, 2013
12:00-1:00 pm (EST)

To register:

The discussion will be recorded and available later to those who register.

Objectives of this open meeting:

1) Provide a brief history and status update of SustainRT including upcoming nominations for officers

2) Capture YOUR input, needs, and vision to help shape the future of SustainRT (the mission of which is “to exchange ideas and opportunities and provide resources for the library community to support sustainability.”)

3) Provide a venue for meeting virtually to continue our important networking and dialogue.

From the SustainRT Steering Committee:
Rebekkah Aldrich, Jonathan Betz-Zall, Madeleine Charney, Mara Egherman, Elaine Harger, Ashley Jones, Carrie Moran, Leighann Wood, Bonnie Smith

For more information, contact Ashley Jones jonesab2@miamioh.edu or 513-529-2887

September 15, 2013

New Title: Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis

Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis

Editors: Shana Higgins and Lua Gregory
Price: $32.00
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 978-1-936117-56-7

Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis extends the discussion of information literacy and its social justice aspects begun by James Elmborg, Heidi L.M. Jacobs, Cushla Kapitzke, Maria T. Accardi, Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier, and Maura Seale. Chapters address the democratizing values implicit in librarianship’s professional ethics, such as intellectual freedom, social responsibility, and democracy, in relation to the sociopolitical context of information literacy. Contributors, ranging from practicing librarians to scholars of related disciplines, demonstrate how they construct intentional connections between theoretical perspectives and professional advocacy to curriculum and pedagogy. The book contributes to professional discourse on libraries in their social context, through a re-activation of the library neutrality debate, as well as through an investigation of what it means for a global citizen to be information literate in late capitalism.

This book is available through Amazon.com or your library’s book jobbers.

Download a PDF of the front matter, including the title page, copyright page, table of contents, acknowledgments, foreword, and introduction.

February 15, 2013

Two Statements in Support of Dale Askey and McMaster University

Dale Askey, a librarian at McMaster University in Canada, is the one who has been sued by Mellen Press for giving them a bad review. Here are two statements supporting him, one from the Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and the other from the British Columbia Library Association…

ARL-CARL Joint Statement in Support of Dale Askey and McMaster University

View a PDF of the ARL-CARL statement

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) share a commitment to freedom of opinion and expression of ideas and are strongly opposed to any effort to intimidate individuals in order to suppress information or censor ideas. We further share the belief that a librarian must be able to offer his or her assessment of a publisher’s products or practices free from such intimidation.

Consequently, we are highly supportive of Dale Askey and of McMaster University as they confront the lawsuit brought against them by Edwin Mellen Press. We strongly disapprove of the aggressive use of the Canadian court system to threaten Mr. Askey with millions of dollars in liability over the contents of a blog post. We urge Edwin Mellen Press to withdraw this suit and use more constructive means to address its reputation.

“No academic librarian, research library, or university should face a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of a candid discussion of the publications or practices of an academic publisher,” said Brent Roe, Executive Director of CARL. “The exaggerated action of Edwin Mellen Press could only impose a chill on academic and research librarians’ expression of frank professional judgments.”

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest publisher that has chosen to pursue costly and wasteful litigation against universities and librarians,” said Elliott Shore, Executive Director of ARL. “These hostile tactics highlight the need for people who share the core values of research libraries to embrace models of publishing that foster—rather than hinder—research, teaching, and learning.”

Together, ARL and CARL represent 136 research libraries in the United States and Canada.

Press Release from the British Columbia Library Association

The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) is extremely concerned about the unwarranted and frivolous lawsuits that Edwin Mellen Press has filed against Associate University Librarian Dale Askey and against McMaster University.

Edwin Mellen Press alleges that that comments made by Mr. Askey on his personal blog regarding the quality of their publications were defamatory, and are seeking a total of $4.5 million dollars in damages to compensate for injury to their reputation.

As a professional librarian engaged in collection development, Mr. Askey is both qualified and obliged to make decisions about published materials. Central to this issue is Mr. Askey’s academic freedom which should ensure that he, as well as fellow academic librarians, has the ability to freely speak, write, review and evaluate as professionals without fear of reprisal, litigation, or control by vendors, employers or other external bodies.

As a citizen in a democratic society Mr. Askey is free to have and share his opinions with his community, society and country. Sharing and debating perspectives without fear of recrimination is the hallmark of a healthy democratic society peopled by engaged citizens.

Librarians and information workers uphold the rights of all community members to express a critical view about the value of a book or other information materials. This includes a librarian’s own right to do the same. Every citizen should be able to express an opinion without fear of litigation should they offend an author or publisher. By filing lawsuits against Mr. Askey and McMaster University Edwin Mellen Press is attempting to create a climate of fear among librarians, information workers, and all libraries that may critique their product.

BCLA condemns the misuse of the court process to intimidate libraries, librarians and information workers from discharging their professional obligations and from demonstrating one of the library’s core responsibilities to uphold the right of freedom of thought and expression.

BCLA urges Edwin Mellen Press to withdraw its lawsuits and instead engage in a debate, a conversation or a discussion with the library community in order to build a healthy society that reflects a myriad of opinions held by diverse community members.

June Stockdale
BCLA President

For information contact:
Annette DeFaveri
BCLA Executive Director

November 7, 2012

Critical Librarianship Symposium on the Activist Potential of Librarians

If you can make it to the Boston area on Saturday, November 17, head to the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. The wonderful Boston collective of Radical Reference is putting on a symposium called “Practical Choices for Powerful Impacts: Realizing the Activist Potential of Librarians.” It features a panel of “librarians who use their skills to undertake consciousness-raising in libraries and within the LIS profession; actively participate in anti-oppression and empowerment work; and develop programming that supports the library as space and library as a means of liberation,” followed by group discussions. And it’s free!

August 10, 2012

The Secret Life of Retracted Articles

Phil Davis writes in The Scholarly Kitchen about “The Secret Life of Retracted Articles.” Scientific papers are frequently retracted, officially, by the journal’s publishers and editors if it is found that data was faked or for other reasons that invalidate the article’s conclusions. The problem is that the articles stay around, in libraries, on websites, and in other places, with no indication that they have been retracted.

May 29, 2012

Call for Papers: Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond

Call for Papers

TITLE: Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond (An Edited Collection)

EDITOR: Melissa Morrone is a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library and has been involved in Radical Reference as well as other social justice groups.

BOOK ABSTRACT: In librarianship today, we encourage voices from our field to join conversations in other disciplines as well as in the broader culture. People who work in libraries and are sympathetic to or directly involved in social justice struggles have long embodied this idea, as they make use of their skills in the service of those causes. Following in the tradition of works such as Activism in American Librarianship, 1962-1973; Revolting Librarians; and Revolting Librarians Redux, this title will be a look into the projects and pursuits of activist librarianship in the early 21st century.

POSSIBLE TOPICS: Essays should describe specific activities undertaken by the library worker and how the work was received by fellow activists and/or the constituents of the project. Such activities may include:

– Programming and collection development that gives voice to underrepresented communities and subjects.
– Conducting community-based reference or other information services outside of any institutional affiliation.
– Setting up libraries or archives in political organizations and contexts.
– Doing research on behalf of social justice campaigns.
– Training people in technology and content creation with the goal of community empowerment.
– Other creative ways of using library and information skills to support activist causes, both inside and outside of conventional library settings.

Essays should also include analysis of the ways in which these activities are in sync with but may also challenge the “core values” of librarianship.

OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK: This edited collection, to be published by Library Juice Press in June 2013 asks: How and to what end are people using their library skills in the service of wider social justice causes? What do these activities say about the future of library work, both inside and outside of traditional institutions?

– People interested in going into librarianship who want an idea of nontraditional and activist areas in which librarians operate.
– Practicing library workers seeking inspiration for ways to combine their expertise with their political interests outside the library.
– Practicing library workers who want articulations of how their work fits into a broader context of power structures, politics, and social justice.
– Activists interested in collaborations with library workers and/or projects related to literature, information, education, and documentation in social movements.
– People in other fields who want to draw connections between their own work and social justice goals, and are looking for supportive literature.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Please submit abstracts and proposals of up to 500 words to informed.agitation AT gmail by July 15, 2012. Notifications will be sent by September 1. A first draft from 1,500-7,000 words will be due by November 15, and final manuscripts will be due by January 15, 2013.

February 6, 2012

The Humanistic iSchool

If you’re headed to the iSchool conference, something to read if you haven’t yet is a paper that was rejected for inclusion in the 2008 iSchool conference, by Jonathan Furner and Anne Gilliland, both professors at the UCLA School of Information (officially an iSchool). It’s titled, The Humanistic iSchool: A Manifesto. I am very much down with the program of making information studies more humanistic. There is a lot of progress being made at UCLA along those lines, though judging from the fate of this paper in 2008, there is opposition to the idea…