Yet another reason I’m glad that Kindle was not my choice of ereader. This is part of their actual explanation for what constitutes “offensive materials,” which they can choose to remove or not make available: “What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect, ” which is about as circular, nondescript, and vague a definition as I can imagine. What is particularly strange is that the print versions of some of these removed items are available, at least via the Amazon.ca site. Is the digital version considered to be more offensive? Is it simply easier to pull a digital book off the virtual shelf? Are different people involved in making these decisions?
A poignant piece in the Globe and Mail today about the continuing decline in the numbers of school librarians and teacher librarians (the article does not distinguish between the two, unfortunately). Although the focus is on Ontario, it is reflective of a trend throughout Canada. As a former high school teacher, I can attest to the importance of school librarians in the development of students’ information literacy; as the article points out, this need is increased by the growth of technology, not decreased. We often see the result of this lack of information literacy in the students who go to university; even by the time they get to us in graduate programmes, many students still lack adequate skills, not to mention an understanding of the principles of academic integrity.
The Supreme Court of Canada will decide on Friday whether the public should have access to the prime minister’s schedule and agenda books. All requests for this information, under the Freedom of Information Act, have been rejected by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the grounds that this information is protected by exemptions in this Act and the Privacy Act. Judges arbitrating appeals to these decisions have differed in their rulings, with some stating that the exemptions did not apply, and others supporting fully the PMO’s decision. This decision by the Supreme Court should make for an interesting case study for my Records Management class. I must admit that it’s not very clear to me why all such information should be exempt; while I can certainly understand the PMO not wishing to reveal information about meetings that may have security or diplomatic implications, but what about a great deal of the PM’s day-to-day business – how contentious could this be?
As a fan of the science-fiction genre (oddly only in film and TV, rather than literature) , I couldn’t help having a Star Trek and Stargate moment when I read this article today. A NASA probe has confirmed that:
- The Earth’s mass does warp space and time, which are interlinked, and
- The Earth does drag space-time with it as it rotates, as predicted.
Images of wormholes and changes in the space-time continuum are running rampant.
This article points to a phenomenon with which anyone working in a university is well familiar. The article argues that “The bachelor of arts was once a distinction that opened the gates to myriad options and rewarding jobs. But the BA’s sheen has worn away, to the point where even many of those who choose to complete one see it only as a stepping stone to the degree they really need.” Between 1999 and 2009, undergraduate enrolment increased by 40%, versus 70% for graduate programs. As universities struggle with increasing financial cutbacks and pressures to maintain high enrolment figures (at the possible expense of high-quality education), the question arises as to whether admissions standards are slipping for undergraduate programs. A growing trend that many of us are witnessing is the increasing focus on multiple-choice tests and exams as ways to assess learning, rather than course work and papers; given the increasing student-to-faculty ratios that are occurring in many programs, this trend is hardly surprising. To those of us who teach in graduate programs, however, we often see the impact of this trend on the quality of student writing, their lack of understanding of how to structure papers, and formulate and defend arguments, as well as the rules concerning academic integrity and proper citation of sources consulted. To quote from the article:” We may be ready for a big, big conversation in universities about how we deliver undergraduate education.”
This is a rather amusing look at what I like to call social media addiction. A Dean and Columbia University is such a prolific poster to social media sites, that a fundraising campaign has been set up that asks his followers to give a monetary donation to not hear from him for 24 hours:
“So a Silence Sree web page was set up and if 200 people donate $5 or more, Sreenivasan’s 4,999 Facebook friends and 19,400 Twitter followers will not hear from him for 24 hours. Columbia students who donate cash can give as little as $1. If fewer than 200 people donate, the silence will last for a comparable portion of the day. All the money will go to charity: 85% to scholarships for Columbia journalism students and 15% to earthquake/tsunami relief in Japan.”
I am nowhere near this man’s social media weight class.
In keeping with our recent Lunch & Learn sessions about the use of social media in organizations, comes this timely article about the growing impact of these media on business operations.
“Print advertising is down, digital advertising is up and social media is emerging as the hottest hot spot in online marketing.”
“The stakes in this market are growing. U.S. advertisers will spend more than $2 billion on social media sites this year, up 24% from 2010, according to research firm eMarketer. It’s a small but fast-growing slice of total spending, compared with magazine and newspaper spending in the U.S. pegged at $38 billion and all forms of online advertising totaling $28 billion last year, according to Winterberry Group figures.”
The challenge lies in monitoring and responding to the various social media fora for customer feedback. This article discusses some new tools being developed and used for this purpose.