Retiring the site

Dear APUO librarians,

I started this site when I was a library representative on the APUO Board of Directors. I haven’t done that job in many years and keeping the site up to date has been a challenge since I’ve moved on. I will keep the content online for a few more months and then retire it.

Thank you for reading!


New Board Members / Library Reps

Your new Board Members are: Susan Mowers (until June 30 2016) and Mish Boutet (until June 30 2015)

What is the role of the Board Member?

  • Be a link between members and the APUO
  • Get members involved
  • Communicate with management on members’ issues in a pro-active way

Contact Susan or Mish if you would like advice with your collective agreement or other workplace issue.

Thanks to Susan and Mish for offering their time and expertise to serving librarians!


The Héritage / Canadian project and why this stinks for access to Canadian history

I am a History librarian. I am other things as well, but in my professional life, I identify mostly with historians, historical materials and history librarianship. I deal day in and out with students and researchers seeking historical documents. Over the past eight years, I have noticed a shameful fact; that while other countries – the U.S., France, Australia, England, Scotland, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, etc.. etc… etc… develop amazing national digital historical treasures to share with the rest of the world, Canada’s national library has done next to nothing by comparison.

Let me be honest though about Canadian documentary history online – the one national source we do have, Early Canadiana Online / Notre mémoire en ligne, is no gold standard and I have never been a fan. It has terrible search and retrieval functions, the metadata is awful, the sources themselves are fairly banal in many cases, and it just generally really underwhelms as an online portal to Canadian history. However, it is what we have, no matter how disappointing.

ECO’s relative uselessness in my opinion, never made it an issue of concern for me, despite intense reaction to the Canadiana / Héritage project secret deal of earlier this spring and summer. I didn’t think it could ever improve to the point where it would be a go-to source for Canadian history. I’ve much preferred and relied on the work of local and provincial archives, scholarly projects and the like.

Michael Geist’s recent blog post changed my mind. Although I still doubt that ECO will ever be terribly useful, the way that LAC and Canadiana have approached Canadian historical documents – as though they were someone’s to own and whose access can be restricted- is cause for concern. I know no one in this country, at least not at the level of the federal government, will put any money forward to do full scale projects like Gallica or Australia’s national newspaper digitization project. Projects of that magnitude are the difference between the Louvre and the National Gallery – one country takes its cultural heritage very seriously and the other just doesn’t get it (no disrespect intended to the National Gallery). But really – releasing only 10% of the documents into the public domain per year – when they are already in the public domain? And charging subscriptions for the rest of the 90% until the 10 year “exclusive” hosting license expires does not sit well with. Surely the explanation is that funding was non-existent and it is more than likely that the people at LAC and Canadiana actually think they are doing Canada a favour by putting these documents online in this way. But unfortunately something that could have demonstrated real goodwill looks like a desperate grab for cash and an attempt to keep documents off the screens of Canadians. Will this project succeed? I suppose only history will tell, but it’s off to a very sad start.

Guide on “Access in the Academy: Bringing ATI and FOI to academic research”

Guide on “Access in the Academy: Bringing ATI and FOI to academic research”

“Access to Information and Freedom of Information  are ‘dual purpose’ devices with complicated  and implications. They operate in the service of transparancy and accountability, and in so doing, as  LaForest notes, they facilitate democracy. But they  also circumscribe the limits of transparency by codifying a range of exemptions and quasi-exemptions that curtail access and legitimize government secrecy.

ATI/FOI mechanisms regulate the interactions between groups with competing interests and reflect what philosopher Sissela Bok refers to as the politics and ethics of concealment and revelation. Some Canadian ATI/FOI regimes are reasonably
effective from a public interest standpoint, while others are so out-of-date or dysfunctional that they can reasonably be described as “broken”. From the standpoint of an academic, though, ATI/FOI mechanisms of all types can be incredibly useful – and
despite growing interest, they remain underutilized by the Canadian scholarly community. 

Individual researchers can use ATI/FOI mechanisms to gain access to otherwise unobtainable “back stage” government records, but in so doing, they – we – also make these records accessible to others and contribute to the broadening of the pool of publicly-accessible information. In this sense, all ATI/FOI research, regardless of whether and in what form the results are published, leaves a mark in the public domain.” 

Rise with the Ranks Workshop

The Edmonton chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) is hosting a
two-day workshop in Edmonton on July 20 and 21 entitled the Rise with the
Ranks Workshop.

The Rise with the Ranks Workshop is predicated on the principle that
library and information workers should not strive to rise from the ranks
but rather rise with the ranks, to paraphrase Eugene Debs.  We believe that
cooperative, non-hierarchical methods of organization are essential to the
social justice ideals embraced by our profession.  Therefore, the purpose
of the Rise with the Ranks Workshop is to:

  • provide a counter to hierarchical, business models of management within the library and information industry;
  • equip participants with the skills and tools needed to affect meaningful change within the industry and wider society;
  • foster a specific worker identity among library and information workers;
  • build a workers’ movement within the library and information industry based on collaboration and solidarity; and
  • encourage the growth of self-management, egalitarianism, and worker empowerment within the library and information industry.

The workshop will consist of skill-share sessions, discussions, training sessions, and more.  For the full program description, please visit

The workshop is being offered free of charge.  However, space is limited so the Edmonton PLG invites all interested information workers to apply for
admission at

Please note that the deadline for registration is *June 21, 2013.*

PLG Edmonton online:<>

Le 1er mai 2013 : solidarité contre l’austérité / May Day 2013: Solidarity Against Austerity

Le 1er mai 2013 : solidarité contre l’austérité

Soyez des nôtres le 1er mai 2013 pour fêter la Journée internationale des travailleurs et travailleuses. Participez à l’une de deux marches avec comme points de départ la terrasse Morisset à l’Université d’Ottawa, ou le parc McNabb. Les deux marches débuteront dès 18h30 et se rejoindront à 20h devant les bureaux du Premier ministre. Apportez drapeaux, bannières, pancartes, ou même des casseroles afin de faire du bruit ! Pour en savoir davantage, contactez, ou consultez ou la page Facebook suivante (


May Day 2013 in Ottawa

Solidarity Against Austerity is gearing up for May Day 2013. This year we plan to celebrate International Workers’ Day with a festive twist. Join us at either of the main marches, uOttawa MRT Terrace being the East march starting point, or McNabb Park for the West starting point. Both of the marches will have a 6pm meet up and depart by 6:30pm. The main rally point will be at the PMO at 8pm. Feel free to bring banners, flags, or even pots and pans. Contact

For more about Solidarity Against Austerity, check our our Facebook page ( or