Saturday, January 27, 2007

Feminist speak up

Another good link: Feminists for Free Expression. It's from the U.S., but free expression is free expression no matter where you are. They are feminist 'working to preserve the individual's right to see, hear and produce materials of her choice without the intervention of the state "for her own good."'

Google Earth does good

To many, Google Earth may be nothing but a mapping tool or a fun toy that shows aerial pictures of your house, but to others it's a tool that's essential for Social Activism. Michael Zimmer posted about how Google Earth can help social acivists. It's a couple months old, but interesting nonetheless.

Delete Censorship

This seemed like an appropriate link to fire out what with Freedom to Read week coming up and all: It's a site dedicated to freedom of speech and freedom of press.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

RSS feed for FLIF

Someone asked if we had an RSS feed (we do), so my big task for the night was to login and ad the link to the blog so that everyone who wants to subscribe to us via RSS could just sit back and let their computer do all the checking. And yet, I can't find a quick and dirty means of doing this. I assumed that as RSS is so cool and Google (who runs this blog program) is so with it, it would simply involve adding a page element, choosing a button location, and clicking "OK". Apparently I have to actually make an effort here and ad the button and link myself (sheesh). So, I am going to try and work this out, but in the meantime, if you'd like to subscribe to us, here's the URL my feed aggregator uses:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Challenged Books in Canada

Freedom to Read Week is just around a month away, and before it arrives you might want to check out (or even read) some books that have been challenged, removed from shelves, and even shredded in Canada.

There are some extremely interesting, provocative, and even surprisingly familiar titles on the list. The list compiler(s) also did an excellent job of providing dates, contextual background, and case-specific details about the "objectionable content" in each book.

And now (for your amusement), Buttercup's Gut Reactions:

Most dubious disbursement of police spending:
Friday, Nancy. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Sexual Fantasies.
In brief: Several metropolitan libraries were searched for this book in two different police raids in two different provinces after the complaint of an anonymous radio talk-show caller makes its way to the Crown attorney’s office!

Unread title that inspired the most "unhealthy" curiousity (for this blogger, in any case):
LeBlanc, Pierre, and Robin Konstabaris. Scrambled Brains.
In brief: “The book includes recipes such as “Exploding Jesus Cake,” a section called “Cooking with Weed,” and one illustration in which a semi-naked man displays an intimate interpretation of roulade, a rolled meat dish usually stuffed with a pickle.”

Suspected of the “censor first, read later” approach:
Sernine, Daniel. Les envoƻtements.
In brief: Although the narrative exposes the “bewitchments” as fraudulent, the book is charged with “promoting occultism.”

Most ironic challenge:
Dworkin, Andrea. Pornography: Men Possessing Women and Woman Hating.
In brief: The very book referenced by the Supreme Court of Canada in its interpretation of the landmark Butler/Obscenity case is detained by Canada Customs due to the conflicting interpretations of the judges.

Source: Buttercup, MLIS student

Monday, January 22, 2007

Protest censorship from the comfort of your own blog

You may have noticed that just to the right at the top of this page is a text box labeled "IRREPRESSIBLE.INFO". It's an Amnesty International initiative that lets people add censored material to their blog or web-site as a means of protesting censorship. As they put it:
"Undermine censorship by publishing irrepressible fragments of censored material on your own site."

If you'd like to add the box to your blog/site, go here and choose the size/shape you want, copy the html, and past it in. While there, sign the pledge on Internet Freedom.

If you need help with this, let us know ... I'm sure we can figure it out ... or find someone to figure it out for you :)

Hrant Dink murdered

Here's an Amnesty International news release that discusses the murder of the prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, (editor of the newspaper Agos and contributor to the influential daily Zaman). He was shot in Istanbul on Friday.

Amnesty International believes that "he was targeted because of his work as a journalist who championed freedom of expression."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The net and you

I thought that some of you might be interested to know that there is a newsletter about the net: "NetFuture: Technology and Human Responsibility". I haven't actually had a chance to do much more then browse through some, but it sounds good:

NetFuture is an electronic newsletter with postings every two-to-four weeks or so. It looks beyond the generally recognized "risks" of computer use such as privacy violations, unequal access, censorship, and dangerous computer glitches. It seeks especially to address those deep levels at which we half-consciously shape technology and are shaped by it. What is half-conscious can, after all, be made fully conscious, and we can take responsibility for it.
Granted, it's been on a rather long hiatus, but hopefully, now that it's finally back, it will publish more regularly.

Canada neutral about Net Neutrality?

An interesting article about the Canadian perspective with regards to net neutrality: "Canada Sleeps Through War to 'Save the Internet'".

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Securing access for the Canadian intellect... past, present, future?

There seems to be some truth in the idea that, at the present time and in the North American context, digital technology has greatly increased access to information for many.

Now I pose an immediate challenge to that goofy, sweeping declaration: will access remain secure--today, tomorrow, ten, one hundred or one thousand years from now?

One moment. We aren't talking about those fleeting moments of post-apocalyptic speculation that I have every once in a while--particularly when guilty of surrending too much autonomy/affection to an electronic gadget!

We are talking about the threat to human knowledge posed by ever-present changes in tech infrastructure, the vulnerable, transitory nature of digital information, and the challenges to preservation initiated by those who place "digital locks" on documents in the form of digital rights management software (DRM).

Surprisingly, the federal government has taken the first step to ensure that some online publications will be preserved--new regulations have been introduced by Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda. Effective January 1, 2007, these regulations create the legal and procedural process by which digital material will be deposited with Library and Archives Canada.

Michael Geist has an excellent article on this development--he discusses the details of the new regulations, how eligible online publications are defined, and the weaknesses of this new regulatory scheme.

A small, but progressive step in the larger struggle to preserve digital information so that future Canadians may think and learn and grow.

Source: Buttercup, MLIS student

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bloggers vs. radio hosts

Bloggers Take on Talk Radio Hosts
Published: January 15, 2007

'A San Francisco talk radio station pre-empted three hours of programming on Friday in response to a campaign by bloggers who have recorded extreme comments by several hosts and passed on digital copies to advertisers.'

'The comments were also posted on Spocko's Web site, In response, ABC Radio Networks, which owns KSFO and which in turn is owned by the Walt Disney Company, sent letters to the site's service provider, demanding the clips be taken down from its servers. The provider complied, raising the issue of what constitutes fair use of copyrighted material by a critic'

Source: IFLA listserv

Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way

Site to Allow Anonymous Posts of Government Documents

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 15, 2007

' is a Web-based way for people with damning, potentially helpful or just plain embarrassing government documents to make them public without leaving fingerprints. Modeled on the participatory, online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the site is expected to go live within the next two months.'

Source: IFLA listserv

Monday, January 15, 2007

Drug company information: Censorship or Commercial Confidentiality

Here's a link to an interesting article about a legal case involving a wee citizen-journalist trying to make important information regarding a controversial prescription drug (Zyprexa) available and the big money making drug company that makes the drug. The drug company was not impressed with the information leak - likely because they are facing enough problems relating to that drug (the company recently agreed to pay out oodles of money to settle claims relating to Zyprexa, it's best selling drug). You see, along with treating schizophrenia and
bipolar disorder, Zyprexa also has a few nasty side effects, like weight gain, high blood sugar, and diabetes.

You can't censor the truth - it will find its way out somehow.

Something to post?

Found a cool link? Have something to say? Please feel free to send in anything in to be posted.

And, remember, we're all about starting a little controversy, so anything goes.

Welcome! Bienvenue!

Welcome to the Future Librarians for Intellectual Freedom blog. We are a group of Masters of Library and Information Studies students who are interested in intellectual freedom and social responsibility. Our hope is that by keeping you updated and by discussing the issues, we will be able to promote the importance of intellectual freedom and social responsibility both in you personal and professional lives.

We encourage open discussion from FLIF members, fellow students, and anyone else with an interest in intellectual freedom and social responsibility.

If you want more information about what this blog will be about, read the Canadian Library Associations position statement on intellectual freedom.

You can also read Wikipedia’s articles on intellectual freedom and social responsibility. We will add more resources as we can.

We’d like to emphasize that any and all ideas, whether they be in the form of a post or a comment, are not necessarily those held by all FLIF members, our fellow students, our faculty, or our school.

If you’d like to make a submission, please feel free to e-mail FLIF (flifblog at gmail dot com).