iSchool @ UToronto Sr. Fellow, Wendy Newman, is the creator and instructor for the iSchool’s first ever MOOC.
Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, evidence, action
Learn how to be a powerful advocate for the values and future of libraries and librarianship. Be informed, strategic, courageous, passionate, and unshushed!
About this Course
How can we strengthen libraries and librarians in the advancement of knowledge, creativity, and literacy in the 21st century? Though libraries have been loved for over 3,600 years, their relevance in the digital age is being questioned, and their economic and social impacts are poorly understood. What is really essential about libraries and librarians, today and tomorrow? How can library members and all who support the mission of 21st-century librarianship raise the profile and support of these timeless values and services, and ensure universal access to the universe of ideas in all our communities? This course is based on what works. We’ll take an inspired, strategic, evidence-based approach to advocacy for the future of strong communities – cities, villages, universities and colleges, research and development centres, businesses, and not-for-profits.
The course will include:
- Values and transformative impacts of libraries and librarianship.
- Research on current perceptions of libraries and librarians.
- Role of relationships in advocacy.
- Principles of influence and their impact on advocacy.
- Strategic thinking and planning in advocacy.
- Effective communication: messages, messengers, and timing.
TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ – Toronto Public Library recently commissioned the Martin Prosperity Institute, part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, to conduct the first Canadian study to measure the library’s economic impact on Toronto. Results clearly demonstrate that Toronto Public Library delivers a strong return on investment through the delivery of library services that enhance Toronto’s competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to a better quality of life for all.
The report is entitled So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library System on the City of Toronto.
Published by The Ottawa Citizen on June 16, 2013.
OTTAWA — It is much harder and more expensive to digitize a national archive than those undertaking the task usually realize, a consultant warned Library and Archives Canada earlier this year.
Éric Méchoulan of the Université de Montréal, hired on a $15,000 contract to advise LAC on issues involving digitization of its collection, produced a report in January outlining the three main challenges it faces:
• Digital images of historic documents aren’t static; they can be “retouched and transformed,” raising new problems of authenticity.
• Keeping pace with “inflation” of archives in an era when computers let data breed like rabbits. It’s now possible to produce in a matter of days as much information as humanity produced in all history up to 2003.
• Changing technology threatens to make digital archives obsolete. In fact, he says, this happens all the time.
Storing a document in digital form “offers no guarantee of its continuity: computers and software quickly become obsolete and hyperlinks to websites that are not regularly updated are often broken and unusable,” Méchoulan writes.
The Citizen broke the news last week that LAC secretly negotiated a deal to let Canadiana.org make digital copies of millions of documents and photos and then charge for access to these images for 10 years. Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin obtained Méchoulan’s analysis through an access to information request.
When the archives of the Stasi — the former East German secret police — came to light 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, no one could read them because both hardware and software had changed so much, Méchoulan writes.
Web pages last an average of 44 days, he notes. Someone looking for pages from the mid-1990s today would have trouble finding most of them.
This raises a problem. As old technologies go the way of VHS tapes, someone has to update again and again the way in which digital archives are preserved, so that digitizing becomes a task that never ends.
And each time technology changes, updating the images may alter them subtly. Each one becomes a copy of a copy of a copy.
The cost may become prohibitive. Méchoulan quotes the British Library as warning that “institutions should not count on the falling cost of storage, as a growing number of items due to migration can easily offset these gains, while the operational costs of some preservation strategies may actually exceed the perceived value of a collection.”
As well, digital archives sometimes disappear: A technician reformatting a hard drive wiped out 800,000 images from Alaska’s state collection. There was a backup, but he reformatted that too.
Meanwhile, LAC’s long-term digitization strategy — also obtained by Rubin — shows different issues.
For instance, some cabinet documents would only be available after an access to information review, and only with approval from the Privy Council Office.
The archives contain an immense amount of material, including 32 million items from the First World War alone, 68 million images now stored on microfilm, 200,000 historic maps, and “possibly millions” of newspaper pages.
“In recent years, LAC has not made any real progress toward mass content digitization,” a summary of the strategy says.
It still needs to resolve issues of “sustainable funding, digital storage, accessibility of images, rights, and resources discovery.”
The strategy says the priority for the first year would be images of the First World War collection, the Canada Gazette, the microfilm collection, orders in council and cabinet conclusions.