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Viewing Blog: Librarian Activist, Most Recent at Top
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26. CRTC eConsultation for Net Neutrality Hearings

The CRTC has launched an eConsultation website where anyone can comment on the topics that will be covered during the July hearing on Internet traffic management practices. According to their website:

Some Internet service providers (ISPs) use traffic management techniques to influence or alter the flow of Internet traffic on their networks. The use of certain practices has raised concerns in Canada and other jurisdictions. On November 20, 2008, the CRTC initiated a proceeding to examine Internet traffic management practices and consider whether such practices are appropriate.

They are looking for comments on:

  • Impact on User Experience
  • Impact on Innovation
  • Approaches to Internet Traffic Management
  • The role of the CRTC in traffic management practices
  • ISP notifications

A full transcript of the discussion threads will be placed on the public record of the hearings. Comments will be accepted up to April 30.

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27. American children’s books: between 1.3% and 6% diverse…

Some depressing statistics about representations of minorities (black, Latino, American Indian and Asian) in American children’s literature, reported by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center:

  • 172 books (6%) had significant African or African American content.
  • 40 books (1.3%) had significant American Indian content.

Thanks to Mitali for the link.

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28. New issue of Information for Social Change Journal

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this organisation, Information for Social Change “examines issues of censorship, freedom and ethics amongst library and information workers,” and promotes “alternatives to the dominant paradigms of library and information work.”

The latest issue of their journal, No. 28, Winter 2008/09, is available now.

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29. The Tamer Institute For Community Education awarded the 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The Tamer Institute For Community Education has been awarded the 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, according to a National Post article from yesterday.

The Institute works in the West Bank and along the Gaza Strip, making books available to children there who cannot attend school. The Award website acknowledges the Institute’s work, “under difficult circumstances,” to carry out “reading promotion of an unusual breadth and versatility.” The Institute has dedicated the award to “the children of Palestine who have faced many painful events throughout the past 60 years.”

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30. Art, Access and Legislation in the Digital Age

Making it work: Art, Access and Legislation in the Digital Age

A public forum on how to build a vibrant online Canadian arts presence while ensuring fairness for both artists and users.

Hosted By:
Olivia Chow, MP (Trinity-Spadina)

Panel experts on digital copyright law, arts, industry, public interest and policy:

  • Charlie Angus NDP Digital Affairs Critic
  • Michael Geist Canada Research Chair in Internet And E-Commerce Law, University of Ottawa
  • Don Quarles Executive Director, Songwriters Association of Canada
  • Stephen Waddell National Executive Director, ACTRA
  • Victoria Owen Canadian Library Association representative

Free, open to the public. Dicussion encouraged.

Streamed live from ustream.tv

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Health Sciences Building, U of T
Street: 155 College St
City/Town: Toronto, ON

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31. Canadian Citizenship in the Information Age

The DemTech Symposium is a pre-conference of the Canadian Library Association’s Annual Congress and Trade Show, organized by the Information Commons Interest Group. The call for presentations ends March 15. They are looking for presentations on:

  • Consultation & Public Dialogue;
  • Public Policy and Legal Challenges to accessing government data;
  • Technologies to Enable Access.

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32. Alternative Federal Budget 2009

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has published their 2009 Alternative Federal Budget. They suggest massive investment into broadband infrastructre.

Communications for Social and Economic Development: A National Inclusion Strategy

Over the last two decades, telecommunications policy has been increasingly driven by an industrial strategy linked to technological innovation and competitiveness. As a result, regulations were dismantled, and with them, a national vision of the importance of the sector to Canadian identity and prosperity.

In order to reestablish its position nationally and internationally, Canada needs a national strategy that promotes social and economic development by making broadband connectivity ubiquitous. In addition, it will require new investments in community-based programs that help Canadians make effective use of the new technologies and an ongoing process of consultation that ensures that the diverse needs of communities are met.

  • The AFB will invest $2 billion over five years in a pan-Canadian infrastructure project to extend broadband connectivity to rural areas.
  • The AFB will invest $250 million over three years to support new and existing National Public Access Program sites.
  • A sum of $750,000 will be set aside to research and verify community broadband connectivity and support requirements.

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33. Authors supporting imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo

Writers Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, JM Coetzee and Umberto Eco are among those demanding that Liu Xiaobo be released. He has been in prison in China for a month after signing Charter 08.

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34. Is throttling necessary

This is the title of a great podcast over at the ever enlightening Search Engine (on CBC). Many things are covered, from the exaflood, to dark fiber, to Internet access as a public utility.

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35. Live-in for Literacy 2009 @ UBC Library

Two undergraduate students are pitching their tents inside the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre @ UBC for the next 10 days as part of a national campaign to raise support, awareness and funds for global literacy, according to UBC Public Affairs. Check out the Live-In for Literacy site (with live webcam!). Other participating libraries include Queen’s University, University of Toronto, Concordia University, McMaster University, Laurentian University and Memorial University.

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36. Federal government wants your ideas for its budget

Do you have any good ideas that you think should be in the Federal budget? The government has set up a website with a survey asking you to rank their predetermined ideas, or to give your own (in 50 words or less!). This would be my suggestion:

Investing into broadband infrastructure: more broadband should alleviate the need for traffic shapping. ISPs use the excuse that there is limited bandwidth and therefore they need to manage the Internet. Net neutrality should come out a winner if more broadband becomes available (and, of course, if the CRTC or the government create legislation supporting net neutrality). More broadband should also address the digital divide that still exists in this country.

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37. Gearing up for possible cuts to the CBC

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has revealed in an interview (see Dec. 26 audio file) that a document exists in both official languages at Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa which calls for a 200$ million dollar cut to the core parliamentary appropriation of the CBC (CBC’s Parliamentary grant). This document has been in existence prior to the October election. In the interview, it is said that this document flies in the face of a Canadian Heritage report that recommended an increase in CBC funding. From an email that Friend’s sent out, here is what would happen to the CBC:

A $200 million cut to CBC’s parliamentary grant would require amputating a number of broadcasting services on which Canadians depend. For example, in order to save $200 million it would be necessary to scrap most local programming on CBC Radio One and CBC Television throughout Canada, effectively turning CBC into a Toronto Broadcasting Corporation, as well as killing CBC Radio Two and CBC.ca, along with all their French language equivalent services.

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38. Children’s author Lauren Child inaugurated as Unesco Artist for Peace

Fabulous children’s author Lauren Child, creator of the impossibly endearing Charlie and Lola (I will never not ever eat a tomato! and others) has been recognised for her work with UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need. Child spent the last 18 months visiting Unesco projects around the world, “from Mexico to Mongolia.” The result is the documentary, “My Life is A Story.”

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39. A profile of libraries in Senegal

From the Christian Science Monitor. An excerpt: “There are people who want to access books,” says the director of the cultural center, Pape Baba Ndiaye, but “sometimes they don’t have money for the transportation. Sometimes they don’t have time.” Furthermore, “there isn’t any funding, and there aren’t enough books. ‘We need the infrastructure: a building, the management system, personnel,’ he adds. ‘We’ll do it, little by little.’”

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The annual CNN heroes were announced Saturday night, and Librarian Activist is thrilled to congratulate children’s librarian Yohannes Gebregeorgis, who was among the ten finalists (each of whom receives $25K). Gebregeorgis was recognized for his program, Ethiopia Reads, which has set up numerous libraries in his home country. Yohannes was also the receipient of one of the first ALA Presidential Citations on Innovation in International Librarianship in 2008.

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41. Canadian citizen reportedly arrested in Iran

There has been some speculation online (from credible sources like The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, or, closest to home, Kate Heartfield’s excellent blog for the Ottawa Citizen) that Hossein Derakhshan, a Canadian citizen, has been arrested in Iran (for spying for Israel, purportedly), and might face the death penalty.

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42. Quebec publisher hit by a SLAPP

At a talk given by Howard Zinn tonight at UQAM, I was reminded of this piece of news that I saw a while back (because the proceeds of the talk were being given to help fight this case). The Québec publisher Écosociété is being sued for libel by two Canadian mining companies for publishing a book about abuses in Africa by mining companies. This website gives more information:

Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique brings together and analyses national and international documents already available to the public (reports, books, documentaries…), concerning various abuses from several Canadian companies working in Africa, in particular in the mining and oil areas. It also deals with the supports these corporations benefit on behalf of the Canadian government. The debate the book wishes to make public is all the more legitimate given that Canadians’ assets (retirement funds, RRSP, public funds) are often indirectly invested in these corporations through the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Following the publication of Noir Canada, Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer is suing the small non-profit Quebec publisher and the authors of Noir Canada for $5 millions in damages, as well as one million on account of exemplary damages, a sum that represents 25 times Écosociété’s annual revenue.

They also give several ways to help the authors and the publisher, including signing a petition for an anti-SLAPP law (Strategic lawsuit against public participation).

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43. Upcoming CRTC decision on Bell throttling case

On Thursday November 20, the CRTC will finally give its ruling on the Bell throttling case. (Last spring, Bell started throttling internet service to its wholesale customers, after having done it since October 2007 to its Sympatico customers). Although the ruling will only look at whether this throttling of wholesale customers violates the Telecommunications Act, it will no doubt bring about much larger discussions on Net Neutrality in general. The CBC has a good article describing the issue. Bell has also recently put up a page describing its throttling practices.

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44. Net Neutrality talking points

SaveOurNet.ca has published a Net Neutrality report called “Net Neutrality: Fact vs Fiction.” It provides a very clear overview of the wool that telecommunications companies tries to pull over consumer (and government!) eyes when it comes to net neutrality. According to the press release, here are some of the fallacies that are debunked in the report:

  • the industry has not needed regulation in the past and does not need it now
  • net neutrality legislation prevents corporations from making their networks more efficient
  • corporations need to manage traffic on their networks in order to prevent congestion
  • throttling internet traffic does not affect a consumer’s enjoyment of the internet

Speaking of talking points, the CLA is making use of an election widget. By entering your address and contact information, it sends an email to all candidates in your riding with five issues that are mentioned in CLA’s election kit: copyright, literacy, the Library Book Rate, the CAP programme (Community Access Program - which subsidizes Internet connections for schools and public libraries), and net neutrality.

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45. Jumpstarting the Public Sphere

If you plan on being in Vancouver on October 23 - 24, you should think of attending what looks like a very interesting conference put together by the BCLA Information Policy Committee: Jumpstarting the Public Sphere: Information Policy Issues for the 21st Century. The issues convered include net neutrality, media concentration, telecommunications policy, TILMA, access to information, and intellectual property. For a very cheap price, you’ll get to hear some fascinating speakers. Thanks to the committee for organizing this!!

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46. Where do the Conservatives stand on Media and Culture?

… no where, it seems. Campaign for Democratic Media sent a series of questions to the five major federal parties to asses their stand on media and cultural issues. The Conservatives are the only party that did not replied. If you are as worried as I am with the non existant party platform that the Conservatives ran on (and for which about 20% of the total population of Canadians actually voted for), perhaps this list of non-anwers should make us worry even more about the future of media and culture in Canada.

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47. Library Juice Press now in Amazon

Thanks to Library Juice for letting us know that books published by Library Juice Press are now available for purchase through Amazon and Chapters.

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48. Google not protecting your privacy

Perhaps this has been around already, but there’s a great video put out by Consumer Watchdog explaining how Google is keeping track of every search that you make online. They offer a petition to sign and send to Google, asking to protect consumer privacy.

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49. Obama and net neutrality

According to this article in CNN Money, “Industry observers believe Obama will push for net neutrality in small steps” and “Under the Obama administration, “net neutrality will begin to be expressed in more definitive terms,” predicted Douglas Jarrett, an FCC attorney with the law firm Keller and Heckman.” Hopefully, this will influence policy north of the border!

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50. Obama and EPA libraries

In October, Obama sent out letters to a few US Agencies addressing concerns and issues that the President of the American Federation of Government Employees (John Cage) had inquired about. Concerning the letter to the EPA, Obama states:

I strongly oppose attempts by the Bush Administration to thwart publication of EPA researchers’ scientific findings, as well as the attempt to eliminate the agency’s library system. In an Obama Administration, the principle of scientific integrity will be an absolute, and I will never sanction any attempt to subvert the work of scientists.

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