Ah the memories

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

I found this Motherboard article about the advent of encyclopedias on cd-roms in my RSS feed last week and instantly I was transported back to library school nearly 30 years ago.   Picture it. Fall of 1988 and I’m one of the youngest students in the first term “reference sources” class at SLIS, the School of Library and Information Science …

Right to Know Week

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Yippee! It’s Right to Know Week. It’s not exactly up there with ‘pumpkin spice month’ or homecoming week but for a tiny segment of the population – Right to Know is important. What the heck is it, you ask? Well it was created in 2002 at an international gathering of access to information practitioners and has ten core principles: Access …

My volunteer work is such a huge rabbit hole

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To be a good information professional requires doggedness and an insatiable curiosity in the hunt for coherent and accurate information that meets the needs of your clients. That strength is also a bit of an Achilles heel. Let me explain. I’ve been volunteering with the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library for nearly a decade. I love the work because …

Diana, Mother Teresa, porn and the importance of metadata

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20 years ago this week, millions watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales on television. She died in Paris as a result of a car accident/drunk driver/paparazzi/’Charles-The Queen-Camilla did it’ on  August 31 1997. The day before the funeral, iconic international nice person Mother Teresa of Calcutta died. Diana visited with Mother Teresa a few times so their deaths …

More about fake news

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Fake news is still a thing and recently I listened to some very interesting podcasts with new information that I must share – because it’s frightening! First this librarian podcast Circulating Ideas interviewed a Canadian academic librarian, William Badke, about information literacy and fake news. Information literacy is so important and so undervalued. I still remember speaking to a class …

Briefing notes

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Government officials write a lot of briefing notes to their ministers and deputy ministers. For journalists they are a gold mine of information and potential story ideas. For industry they are a gold mine of intelligence. For historians, they are a gold mine…..you get idea. This also means media and industry spend a lot of money in $5 increments ordering …

Infomart

Kirsten Smith My Blog 2 Comments

Minor update: The red flags I mention in the last graf apply to more databases than just Infomart.  Many other newspaper, magazine or scholarly databases use algorithms and scripts instead of humans to clean the data. That situation won’t change so it’s good to keep it in mind when searching. ********************* I  was really sad last month to read that …

Leaks to the media

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People who know things leak information to the media every day. It’s a given. It’s how business gets done in in that weird, symbiotic relationship between the media and the governments they cover. Leaking information to journalists will never go away. Governments will continue to threaten leakers – except the leakers they sanction. Murray Brewster of the CBC talks about …

So you think you’re accountable?

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

I submit a few Access to Information requests every week on behalf of clients. This is a law that allows any Canadian citizen, permanent resident or corporation to ask for records from most federal departments and agencies. The law itself is outdated (it was passed when I was in high school and has yet to see substantive revisions) and riddled …