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Information is unstoppable!

‘The end of the library’ is a catchcry that many studying information studies have had to endure in one form or another over the past five to ten years or so, maybe even longer. Some of the following headlines and related stories point to the continuance of this threat and are an indication that the threat to information provision and libraries is far from over. Clearly, as the articles indicate, this is not specific to Australia but something that is happening in other countries including the United States and the UK.

Libraries fear funding cuts

Libraries fire up over funding cuts

Maroondah Library services cut as funding goes

Councils united in fight against library funding cuts

Funding cuts closing book on all 62 branches in Queens Library

Cuts threaten survival of Michigan Libraries

Michigan Library Community suffers ‘a perfect storm of funding cuts’

Library closure threats spark campaigns across England

In times of economic downturn, it appears that information provision is an easy target. How easy is it for an individual to be complacent within the sphere of the web and accept without question that the internet will provide the information sources without bias and in a timely manner. The corporate imperatives and controls are easily overlooked (I only need to draw your attention to Google as a corporate entity and its expanding control of the cybersphere as an example). Our trust in the altruism of information provision is not wavered, not even for a moment when we are confronted with concepts of privacy invasion, and if it is, we are somewhat apathetic or more realistically paralysed in our attempts to protest. What can we do? Can we refuse to participate? Is this possible? And if it is, then what class in society do we then occupy as a citizen in the information Age that we now reside in?

Choosing to take on the study of Master of Information Studies has been something that I absolutely love and relish. My learning has been immense and it appears this journey is occurring at the right time in consideration of my passions and skills. Right now, my love of all things audiovisual, coupled with my desire and urgency to document all things audiovisual so that we can share this heritage from the past,  now and in the future has been ignited further with my studies. My passion for democratic access to information has been reinforced and my belief in freedom of expression has been reinforced with my belief in participatory culture that is evident in the world of Web 2.o. Beyond this, I believe in a free web, free of controls and surveillance and one that can encapsulate human rights as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These ideals, I have discovered are encapsulated in the ideals of Tim Berner’s Lee and his vision of the World Wide Web. See the following clips for some inspiration.

What is my point in this post, I ask myself (beyond passion!)… I suppose what I am trying to emphasise is that the world of information is not dying. It is part of our DNA (in fact our DNA is an example of information, Gleick (2011.) as it encodes and shapes who we as individuals and as a society are) We are information and the way we relate is information. No matter how we/they try to control, block or divert the information and the sources of information provision, information will find a way to flood and flow. It is not something we can control, divert or suppress…. Even with funding cuts!

Gleick, J, (May, 17 2011, 11am), Mornings with Margaret Throsby, ABC Classic fm accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/stories/s3218973.htm

 

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What do TL’s teach

What do TLs teach? by Joyce Valenza

 

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History as Absence

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
William Cowper

Absence of... By Ky Olsen

When I first started this blog, as a response to starting my Librarian studies, my mind traveled to the library moments that were defining to my love of all things library. In my first post Hatching, I discussed a childhood experience of volunteering at a local sub-branch of Marrickville library called “The Warren”. I used to spend many afternoons there, after school, as both my parents worked late and I had no-one to answer to. My choice as a child was to go to the library until it closed. After writing that initial post, spurred by an early memory, I decided to investigate further and find out what ever happened to this sub-branch of Marrickville library. Who to ask was easy “Ask a Librarian”. I looked up Marrickville Library and on their website I came across a History Services link. After trawling through the history archives online, I realised my search was futile as there appeared to be no mention of the sub-branch called “The Warren” anywhere. I tried their search with “Warren”, “sub-branch” and other configurations but proved unsuccessful. Was this a figment of my imagination? I am sure this is not a made-up memory. Is this how I imagined my ideal childhood, spent at the library amongst books, every afternoon and sometimes on Saturday mornings? I needed to further my investigations so I sent an email to Marrickville Library, explaining I was trying to locate some historical information, based on a childhood memory, of a sub-branch that I frequented? Could they help me with information, photos, details of the branch etc…. Below is the response I received.

“Thank you for your enquiry regarding ‘The Warren Library’. Surprisingly, there is very little information on this branch and its history.

The Warren Library was indeed a small children’s library and was open each afternoon for several hours. In one of our books published by our previous historian, there is a small mention of the dates that the branch was open, from September 25, 1965 and was then subsequently closed in 1985 (no exact date given). It also mentioned a couple other smaller branches closed in the same year, but there is no mention as to why.

Unfortunately, there was no other information available in any of our local history files or local history collection.

Thank you again for your enquiry, alas that we could not find more information for you.

Kind regards,

Jo Stacey Acting Local Studies Officer | Marrickville Library & History Services

Marrickville Council I PO Box 79 Marrickville NSW 1475 I www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au

P 02 9335 2167 | F 02 9596 2829 | E libassist02@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

Now, in considering this information, my topic broadens and I start musing on concepts of ‘Absence’ and the connection to storying in Hi”story”. Why was this information on this branch deemed not important enough to be archived? How are such decisions made? What is the criteria in place and what values are in operation in making decisions to enable ‘absence’ at a later point in time? In essence, how do we decide what is important historically and what perspectives end up getting lost, made absent and hence inaccessible. How is value determined of historical existence and what is missing from our narratives as time travels?

Many other ideas are inter-related of course. For instance, Ruby Langford Ginibi, argued strongly years ago about her book “Don’t take you love to town” needing to be included as an historical text in the History curriculum of NSW.  Being an autobiography, it is reasoned that it is a primary source of her account as dispossession and displacement in the history  of Australia and our post-colonial past. It has not been accepted as an historical text, and the question applies here too, why not? Why is it not perceived or valued as a primary source? An account exploring these ideas is captured by Carole Ferrier.

As another extension of the idea, a few years back I read “The Orchard” by Drusilla Modjeska and within this book I came across a passage beautifully written that linked erasure of female identity to erasure of female name. The premise is, if naming throughout time, in the western tradition, is based on the women receiving the fathers surname on birth, then the maternal link to heritage is broken. Furthermore, if a woman then takes the husbands surname upon marriage, then there is a further break with history of women. Hence, ‘absence’ of women through “his”tory.

‘Absence’ is a powerful concept when we consider how our storying of existence takes shape.

I love Marrickville

I love Marrickville cc licensed and shared by Lachlan Hardy

 

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Paradigm Shift

Thankyou Vivian for sharing this video

 

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