FIMS Seminar Series

The FIMS Seminar Series features research presentations from faculty members and graduate students, covering recent advances and work in progress. Bring your lunch and learn about research at FIMS. These lectures take place on Wednesdays at lunchtime and will be presented via Zoom.

Past Seminars

2021 - 2022

The Discourses of Drag Queen Story Time Challengers and Supporters
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Presented by Roger Chabot and Davin Helkenberg

Abstract: Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) is a relatively novel public library program where drag queens lead a story time for children and families. Libraries advertise this program as one that brings families together to celebrate diversity, difference, and being true to oneself. For hosting libraries, however, the program can also invite an onslaught of political warfare against gender and sexuality non-conformity, often prompting controversy that threatens to influence library policies (or law) to restrict intellectual freedom.

Similar to Emily Knox’s (2014) work on the discourse of book challengers, this study analyzes the arguments of DQST challengers and supporters to better understand the motivations behind both negative and positive responses to this polarizing program. The study examines 406 publicly available letters written by community members, professionals, and vested organizations expressing opposition (261 letters) or support (145 letters) for a DQST that was hosted in a large library system in Canada in 2019.

Higher education, "diversity," and information literacy
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Presented by Karen Nicholson

Abstract: In the global knowledge economy, universities function as privileged sites for the reproduction of human capital—the knowledge, skills, competences, and other attributes embodied in individuals that are relevant to economic activity. Developing students’ skills, such as teamwork and information literacy, is an important focus of higher education, and discourses of excellence, diversity, leadership, and skills are now core to universities’ recruitment and marketing efforts.

It is in this context of this neoliberal “skills agenda” for higher education that information literacy emerged in the 1980s as a mission critical activity for the academic library. It is also in this context that we witness the emergence of corporate diversity models in higher education, which rationalize racial inclusion on the grounds that it brings instrumental pay-offs such as better learning and marketable skills, and an accompanying shift away from the affirmative action and equal employment opportunity movements of the 1970s and 1980s. While both information literacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion have been well studied in the LIS literature, and information literacy has been examined in the context of the neoliberal turn in higher education, the same cannot be said for diversity. In this conceptual talk then, I will provide a brief overview of diversity paradigms in higher education, primarily with a focus on the American context, with the intent of drawing parallels with approaches to information literacy.

Mapping Canadian Government Uses of AI for Social Services
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Presented by Joanna Redden and Sananda Sahoo

Abstract: This presentation details our efforts to produce a registry of government uses of AI and Automated Decision Systems (ADS) in Canada. We present early findings, discuss our counter-mapping methodology, put forward ideas for how to make our findings publicly accessible and suggest steps to advance more civic participation in this area. The central premises of the project are: a) that registries of government uses of AI and ADS systems are necessary to enable more public debate about where and how these systems should be used in public services, b) that more meaningful debate will help broaden discussion of the impact and complexity of these systems and c) provide a chance to avoid the harms and economic and social costs seen in places where AI and ADS systems have been implemented too hastily. A registry of this type does not exist in Canada, but it should. This project builds upon widespread calls for governments to produce AI and ADS registries and previous research mapping and analysing government uses of these systems in Canada and internationally.

Inheritance and Lamination in the Representation of Bibliographic Relationships
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Presented by Alex Mayhew and Grant Campbell

Abstract: The term “discovery layer” implies a concept of lamination, which we use to explore how domain knowledge could be applied to large federated search environments. Using the publishing history of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as a case study, we use bibliographic scholarship in the English literary studies community to establish lines of inheritance on all four levels of the FRBR paradigm: work, expression, manifestation and item. We created a small demonstration of a visualization generated from linked data extracted from the scholarly literature, to show how literary scholarship, when encoded as linked data, can create lines of inheritance and influence that enable users to fulfil the fifth user task of the new Library Reference Model: exploration.

Forest City Memories: A Critical Mapping and Visualization of the Past across London's Cityscape
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Presented by Basil Chiasson

Abstract: This presentation describes our on-going research project as that examines the use of the City of London’s civic landscape to re-construct the past and produce collective memories for both residents and visitors. With this project, we have been mapping existing sites, both commemorative and memorial in nature, in order to (a) create a digital and pictorial visualization of the historical artefacts and narratives that are currently on display, (b) identify historical silences that are eliding nevertheless real and significant pasts, and (c) critically appraise those existing artefacts and narratives and re-inscribe those silences into the civic landscape. This three-pronged approach aims to: better apprehend how the city and key stakeholders are depicting the city along with how residents and visitors are experiencing and understanding it; consider how we might adjust and even rethink the depiction of the city; and contemplate how we might enlist different voices and stakeholders to critique and adjust existing narratives but also introduce new histories and memories into an ever-changing cityscape. Case studies for this project range from Indigenous, Black, and Asian histories, to women’s histories, to LGBTQ+ histories, to worker’s histories across London, and from statues and plaques, to street art and murals, to street signs and building facades. The presentation will elaborate a small selection of case studies from this list.

Inscribing creditability: finance, letter-writing manuals, and the rise of a plausible public 'self' in the long 18th century
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Presented by Alison Hearn

Abstract: This presentation comprises the first chapter of a book project entitled Reputational Capital: An episodic history, which focuses on the ways mediated forms of self-presentation and reputation-seeking have functioned within, against, and as foundational to capitalist economies of credit and debt over the past three centuries. The talk provides a pre-history to our current economic moment, where perpetual networking and self-promotion have become compulsory, enforced as “a survival discipline” (Gilligan & Vischmidt 2015), in the context of deepening economic precariousness and data-extractive platform capitalism (Srnicek 2017, Zuboff 2019), by examining the role of personal and commercial letters informed by didactic letter-writing manuals in Europe and North America during the long 18th century. Commerical letters, and the manuals that informed them, acted as crucial mediators of trust central to the emerging cultures of financialization, trade, credit, and debt at this time. By doing so, they inscribed the performative contours of a deeply gendered and raced (as white) public persona that remains with us to this day - that of the 'honourable merchant' or businessman. Then as now, personal creditability must be carefully crafted and consistently, assiduously performed.

Selling 'Silence' in Contemporary Horror
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Presented by Selma Purac

Abstract: While John Krasinski’s 2018 film A Quiet Place was celebrated by many for its unconventional silence, the film is in fact rooted in horror cinema’s long-standing experimentation with sound, stretching as far back as the silent era. The film’s initial script and its marketing, however, prove to be less traditional than the movie itself. Ultimately, these unique paratexts succeed in selling – first to producers and then to the public – what was otherwise a conventional, albeit intriguing film, and they do so through their own sonic experimentation. My talk will consider the film’s script and its marketing, which represent the difficulty of telling a story, and of selling it, when quiet is key.

Sing for the competition and go to prison: The juridical dimension of entertainment industry contracting
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Presented by Matt Stahl

Abstract: The court-ordered injunction is a contractual enforcement mechanism that backs up entrepreneurs’ power to enforce exclusivity clauses and non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with the threat of criminal charges. This is more a juridical than an economic power, and it hinges on the promise to labor rather than the value of the labor. The injunction defines the worker as a seller of labor power, the entrepreneur as a buyer, and the buyer’s right in the purchased labor power as a property right: money alone cannot force an owner to sell their property, i.e. to release a worker from her promise. This presentation argues that the commodification of labor accomplished or registered by injunctive power originated as a byproduct of entrepreneurs’ demands for juridical protection from competition. It contextualizes the injunction as a non-economic instrument of contract enforcement, showing how it arose in Victorian-era cultural industries and how it remains central to entertainment and tech industry contracting.

2020 - 2021

Game Play and Game Design for Library Education
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Presented by Arielle VanderSchans, Alex Mayhew and Sarah Cornwell

Abstract: Our LIS Careers looks at the use of game play through a blend of table top and role play game mechanics as a method for teaching students about the field of library and information science. Players work together to create enough impact through advocacy, reach, and credibility (ARC points) to overcome encounters they face in each year of their career. Encounters are overcome when their impact score is reduced to zero. Through their career players get promotions, enabling them to overcome higher encounters. The game ends when the card deck is complete. Roleplay to discuss various issues facing librarianship is encouraged!

This panel will bring together the original game designers and testers who have created a new expansion of the concept and gameplay. The panel will also discuss the mechanics and development of the game as well as teach the audience how to play the game.

 Repair Stories: Why a Right to Repair matters for our things, for ourselves, and for our world
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Presented by Alissa Centivany

Abstract: Everything breaks, deteriorates, and falls apart eventually. This is not a condemnation, a failure, or a fluke but rather a simple, inescapable fact of existence. Within cycles of creation and destruction, repair is nestled like a dormant little balloon – if we breathe life into it, we can expand and prolong the cycle, keep things aloft a little longer and, perhaps, make the landings a little gentler. Repair is a response to, an effort to resist, and possibly even reverse (for a time) the ineluctable gravity of breakdown. But our ability to engage in repair work is increasingly under threat. This talk will identify and discuss contemporary impediments to repair and the “right to repair” movement that has emerged in response. Drawing also upon repair stories gathered through qualitative interviews, this talk will illustrate why the right to repair is critical ... for our things, for ourselves, and for our world.

Transmutation: From Influence to Originality
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Presented by Basil Chiasson

Abstract: This presentation has to do with artistic influence and influence's complex relationship to originality; the aim to introduce myself to colleagues and students at FIMS. The presentation's second part offers a glimpse of some recent work I've done on the British playright Harold Pinter, research and published material which evolves my ongoing concern to better articulate the various ways that originality might be said to emerge from, and thus rely on, artistic influence.

Riot Platforms: Protest, Police, Planet
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Presented by Nick Dyer-Witheford

Abstract: From 2018-2019 the planet was swept by a wave of mass uprisings, running from Paris to Hong Kong, Santiago, Beirut, Quito, to Tehran and Baghdad, and many other locations. These social rebellions have been marked not only by their scale, duration and intensity of confrontations with police, but also by new uses of digital platforms to coordinate and connect wide-area mobile actions, and by fresh digital countermeasures from security forces and reactionary vigilantes. It seemed the Covid 19 pandemic might damp down such incendiary movements, but the 2020 outbreak of the Black Lives Matter revolt in the USA, as well as turmoils in Thailand, Peru, Belarus and Nigeria, show the contrary. The advent of “Riot platforms” thus seems to open another phase of the experimentation in the digital circulation of social struggles ongoing since the turn of the millennium. This talk will discuss an ongoing research project into the rise of “Riot Platforms”, outlining both the study’s overall theoretical perspective and specific case studies it investigates. 

The Effect of COVID-19 on the Performing Arts in Canada: A Preliminary Study of Funding Models in the Wake of the Pandemic

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Presented by Kaitlyn Adams, Albi Nani and Professor Grant Campbell

Abstract: This presentation combines media theory, economic theory and information science in an initial effort to clarify the predicament of the performing arts in Canada in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a dual focus on arts organizations such as theatre festivals and on individual performers, such as musicians, actors and dancers. We explore two potential models of survival: a traditional model of appealing to government support on the grounds of the social and economic value of the performing arts, and an alternative model based on the economics of online gaming communities. We explore the implications of the widespread migration to digital environments, both in terms of artists’ employment prospects and the economic and social impacts of online performance in terms of data analytics.

The Ethics of Emotion in AI Systems
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Presented by Professor Luke Stark

Abstract: I provide a taxonomy of relevant models and proxy data for emotional expression, and outline how the combinations and permutations of these models and data impact AI systems deploying them. We should not take computer scientists at their word that the paradigms for human emotions they have developed internally and adapted from other fields are ground truth; instead, I ask how different conceptualizations of what emotions are, and how they can be sensed, measured and transformed into data, shape the way human values are built into and expressed by automated systems.

2019 - 2020

Knowing Machines: Machine Information Behaviour
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Presented by Michael Ridley

Abstract: Algorithmic decision-making systems are ubiquitous, powerful, sometimes opaque, often invisible, and, most importantly, consequential in our everyday lives. Knowing Machines is an investigation of the information behaviour (IB) of intelligent machines (machines that know) by exploring the nature of those machines, their processes, and the context within which they operate (knowing about machines). The objective is to create a general model of machine information behaviour (MIB) that represents a high-level map of the theories, processes, and factors that constitute information behaviour (i.e. “need, seek, manage, give, and use information in different contexts” (Fisher, Erdelez, & McKechnie, 2005)). General models of human information behaviour (HIB) could offer templates or analogs upon which to build, and contest, possible machine information behaviour (MIB) models.

Declaration of Rights: On Teaching, Racism and Anti-Racism
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Presented by Warren Steele

Abstract: This talk is about what I’ve learned teaching undergraduates about racism. My goal is to synthesize a decade of experience and communicate a teaching philosophy openly socialist in nature. One meant to develop and equip new comrades with the knowledge needed to defeat racism. Hence, it’s about the relationship between teaching and politics, theory and practice, race and class, and starts from the premise that teaching is an inherently political act. As such, I argue that pedagogical approaches to racism must be aggressively anti-racist, and therefore politicized in particular ways for the public good. For if only socialism can fight racism, because only it can accurately describe what race and racism are, a left class politics must be constantly foregrounded to liberate people from both. This approach reveals the scale and the nature of the problem, as well as what’s still to be done, especially in the absence of a strong workers party and an organized working class.

#MeToo: A review of digital feminist literature
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Presented by Hélène Bigras-Dutrisac, Dennis Ho, Olivia Lake, Kaity Mendez, Darryl Pieber, Anabel Quan-Haase, Kelly Wang

Abstract: The sudden spread of a single hashtag brought international attention to a Twitter movement in 2017 and created a networked community where survivors shared their experiences of sexual misconduct and abuse. The phrase #MeToo was coined by US-based community activist Tarana Burke in 2006 but it garnered international attention as a hashtag 11 years later when American actress Alyssa Milano used the phrase on Twitter. With this project, we present work in progress on our review of the literature and discuss key themes that have emerged in the scholarship on the #MeToo movement. Our goal is to present a comprehensive review covering publications in the social sciences, communications, and gender studies disciplines. We start with an overview of our methodology (synthesis review) and show the strengths of using this approach to inform understandings of digital feminist activism.

Making Things Together: Expressive Culture as Research Practice
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Presented by Lisa Henderson

Abstract: Can we undertake communication scholarship in as broad a range of forms as the field studies? In films, on the internet, in photography, music or computer games? This presentation draws from interviews with distinguished practitioners of multi-modal research—scholars, especially in studies of cultural production, who produce works other than articles and books. They include filmmakers, musicians, computational artists, game designers, community and policy activists, impresarios, novelists and pedagogues. Most collaborate on and off campus, most hold PhDs and all are academically appointed. In the spirit of encouraging more multi-modal scholarship in communication and related fields, the talk offers an illustrated inventory of current practices, along with a conversation about research and cultural value, expressive training, accountability to students, and the institutional investments that can support or hinder multi-modal work.

2018 - 2019

Using Photographic Data to Understand How Men Seek Health Information
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Presented by Brad Hiebert and Alberth Sant'ana Costa Da Silva.

Abstract: Men are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours such as poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption, and are less likely to access healthcare services when compared to women. Such health behaviours are often related to masculinity norms that value men’s physical displays of toughness, stoicism, and avoiding discussions about sensitive issues like their health. Previous research has demonstrated the utility of using photographs to understand how men’s gender performances are related to their health behaviours. This presentation will explain how researcher- and participant-produced photographs aided in understanding how masculinity influenced the health information seeking behaviours of men in two distinct sociocultural contexts – Brazilian construction workers and rural Ontario farmers.

Contemplating Trump: A Form of Resistance?
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Presented by Ajit Pyati.

Abstract: Resistance to the many injustices and daily depredations of the Trump presidency is growing. However, many popular forms of resistance may actually replicate cycles of anger, destruction, and delusion, particularly in a context of media overload and saturation. This talk addresses this potential pitfall by focusing on a largely neglected form of resistance, one that is rooted in a contemplative perspective. Specifically, I draw on the work of Thomas Merton, as well as insights from yogic philosophy to understand how contemplation relates to social action in the age of Trump. I argue that a contemplative approach to resistance takes into account our own contributions to Trumpism and the shadow of American empire, while also offering a way to link inner change with potentially transformative forms of social change.

A Value Theory of Creative Labour? The Disciplining of Performers by the Law and/of Value
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Presented by Matt Stahl.

Abstract: In his Making Capital from Culture (1992) Bill Ryan argued the artistic worker “represents a special case of concrete labour which is ultimately irreducible to abstract value” (44). Many contemporary scholars employ this view in their arguments about ensuring that creative work in the cultural industries is or remains “good” work (Hesmondhalgh and Baker 2011) or more “just” work (Banks 2017). But Ryan’s analysis depends on a transcendental, universalistic conception of labour, not an historical one, and an inherited one-sidedness limits the usefulness of contemporary cultural industries scholarship.

In this presentation, using Diane Elson’s influential 1979 interpretation of Marx’s value theory as a starting point, I examine a consequential 1853 lawsuit between two London opera producers over the exclusive right to the performance services of young Prussian diva. According to Elson, abstract labour “is not an ideological form, a product of our way of looking at things; but a product of the particular form of the determination of labour, of particular relations of production” (165). I argue that the decision in this case amounted to a consequential determination of labour, a momentous development of capitalist cultural industries as particular relations of production. From this perspective, Ryan’s critique and those his contemporary intellectual legatees appear hamstrung by metaphysical conceptions, inadequate to the critical tasks they set themselves. I advocate for an approach to creative labour that places law, history, and abstraction on an equal footing with concerns of class, gender, and race.

How librarians decide: Practice theory and the interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic evidence
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Presented by Kate Johnson, Asen Ivanov (University of Toronto), Samuel Cassady (Western Libraries).

Abstract: With the proliferation of ejournals made available to libraries, alongside unsustainable costs charged for them, librarians are faced with making more and more evidence-based decisions regarding what to acquire and what to discard or cancel. Understanding the context within which these decisions are made and the factors that influence decision-making may help in realizing a more efficient and fair collection development process. One way to explain librarian decision-making is through practice theory. This presentation will describe a project that uses practice theory to understand how librarians make decisions around journal cancellations in the context of the current business model where large commercial publishers have a virtual stranglehold over the scholarly communication system.

From Slump Media to Trump Media
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Presented by James Compton

Abstract: This talk maps a theoretically-informed narrative history from slump media to Trump media. The global financial crisis of 2008 passed from a meltdown of finance capital to a generalized economic recession to an age of austerity. This was the immediate political/economic context in which the right-wing, nativist discourse of Donald Trump gained traction in the public sphere. News media were a crucial, constitutive but contradictory component of this conjuncture. In a provisional attempt to theorize, what I call Trump media, this paper draws on the critical legacy of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (BCCCS), and its analysis of news media as sites of hegemonic struggle and ideological interpellation operating within the determinate constraints of a capitalist political economy.

2017 - 2018

How to Do Things With Dreams
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Sharon Sliwinski

Abstract: Dreams are unusual conveyors of information. These experiences involve private patterns of thought and memory, but they also carry an important kind of social knowledge. My discussion will offer some ideas about how dream-life might be understood as a significant form of political thought and Sliwinski will share some work-in-progress from The Reverie Project, a collaborative venture undertaken with a community of migrants in Geneva.

Strategies That Sell: Revealing Deceptive and Misleading Practices in Digital Media
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Victoria Rubin, Yimin Chen, Sarah Cornwell, Toluwase Asubiaro and Chris Brogly

Abstract: In this team-talk FIMS LiT.RL lab researchers will discuss manipulative components of digital news, from seemingly harmless to potentially misleading and intentionally deceptive. Five sets of questions drive their collaborative research and development:
  • What makes clickbait recognizable? Do people agree on what it is?
  • What do native ads rely on? Are they sufficiently labelled as sponsored content?
  • Does satire ever misfire? How can an algorithm tell a satirical fake news?
  • What are the characteristics of false news (on 2016-2017 U.S. politics)?
  • How can automation help us to verify news? What is the role of critical media literacy in combatting the spread of misinformation and viral deception in digital media?
This talk will share results of several inter-connected studies involving participant interviews, q-sorts, content analysis, text analytics with natural language processing, and machine learning. A newly developed LiT.RL News Verification browser will be demoed, as a proof of concept and work-in-progress.

'Click here': Slacktivism, digital activism, and motivations for participation
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Anabel Quan-Haase and Chandell Gosse

Abstract: Much debate has surrounded the value of online campaigns for social and political activism. On the one hand, networked publics provide alternative means of engaging, reaching out, and keeping activists involved. On the other hand, they are dismissed as 'slacktivism' and simple 'feel good' measures, geared toward short-term, low-risk forms of engagements with no long-lasting impact. We examine three research questions about social and political online campaigns (SPOCs) and build on the theory of networked publics: 1) What are the key motivations and factors influencing participation in SPOCs? 2) What influences non-participation in SPOCs? 3) Do SPOCs mobilize actions beyond the immediate campaign and create a spill-over effect? We conducted an online survey with a total number of 324 respondents. Using a Poisson regression in Stata V.14, we found that awareness and a desire for effecting change were overarching motivations across all SPOCs. Raising awareness was the top motive for participation across all campaigns (312 reports), followed by a desire to see change and being nominated. We also found that a third of participants are very engaged in SPOCS, while 38% did not participate in any form of digital activism whatsoever.

A "peculiar satisfaction": Library classifications, their subjects, and statecraft
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Melissa Adler

Abstract: Reading library classifications as primary historical documents provides a critical lens through which to view the arrangements of subjects on library shelves. This talk will explore some of the ways in which libraries organize objects of study in relation to one another and in relation to projects of statecraft. It will present some of the terms and hierarchies that structure knowledge in systems such as the Library of Congress Classification and Thomas Jefferson’s book classification to consider processes by which epistemic violence becomes systemic. If we understand classifications and their applications to be ever-expanding sets of statements, we begin to see that classification systems frame ongoing narratives about race, sexuality, citizenship, and national identity. The lines of library shelves cross through time and space and institutions and categories, composing and providing the scaffolding that constitute and sustain power relations. Historical studies of classifications offer insights into the social and political functions of hidden infrastructures that organize knowledge in physical spaces like libraries, as well as digital spaces like search engines and social media.

Promotional Culture and the New Persona: How Advertising’s history relates to Contemporary (online) public identity and subjectivity
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
P. David Marshall, Professor & Personal Chair in New Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, Deakin University, Australia

Abstract: A defining feature of the contemporary moment is that we are in the midst of a tectonic-like shift about our notions of individual and collective identity. This transformation of identity is linked to the incorporation of a promotional ethos; but equally, the emerging online persona and its strategic daily labour in producing/sharing a public self that helps us move between this shifting collective and normatively-rising individual identity. This presentation presents our forthcoming book, Advertising and Promotional Culture: Case Histories (co-authored: Joanne Morreale, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) as a way to identify one longer historical path for this emerging identity and subjectivity by linking it to these continuities and discontinuities of public identity formation. It concludes with how this work informs our reading of the contemporary persona and its “industrial agency”, “privlic” status, and “presentational culture” in our online promotion and attention-driven reconstruction of the world.

Showing Myself: Sharing Photographs on Social Media
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Jacquelyn Burkell

Abstract: Photographs are among the most commonly shared material on social media. Even with activating security settings or limiting access to one’s profile, these shared photos are visible to a wide variety of people and very often reveal a great deal of information about a person’s life. This talk investigates the types of photographs social media users are most and least willing to post and share with their social networks as a way to understand subjective perspectives on privacy.

Collaboration Between Traditional and Orthodox Medical Pracitioners in Rural Communities of Nigeria
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Janet Adekannbi

Abstract: Since 1976 when traditional medicine was incorporated into its program, the World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to emphasize the need for governments to engage different categories of health workers including traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) in primary health care programs. These are expected to be suitably trained, socially and technically to work as a health team and to respond to the expressed health needs of the community. While this is yet to be officially done by the Federal Government of Nigeria, this research presents findings on the collaboration between TMPs and orthodox medical practitioners in selected rural communities in South-West Nigeria and the perceived implication of such collaboration on transmission of traditional medical knowledge. Findings are presented based on self-reports by the TMPs.

2016 - 2017

Dickens, Cholera and Big Data
April 5, 2017
Grant Campbell

Abstract: Steven Johnson, in The Ghost Walk, celebrates the work of John Snow in tracing the origins of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854, arguing that Snow practiced methods of information visualization and data analysis that now occupy a central place in today's information environment.  This presentation will contrast Snow's insights with the insights of Charles Dickens in Bleak House, published 2 years before the outbreak.  Dickens, like Snow, was deeply concerned with issues of public health, water quality and sanitation; furthermore, Bleak House also deals with data and information issues that have since become prominent, including predictive analytics and face recognition.  But Dickens's conclusions, unlike the conclusions Johnson draws from Snow, are more complex, and offer a cautionary annotation to current big data narratives.

The Theory and Practice of Kinetic Publishing
March 8, 2017
Robert Glushko

Abstract: In the past decade, although scholarly publishing diversified to offer multiple forms of knowledge dissemination, most publishing remains unchanged, with the most influential venues taking the form of traditional journals: groups of articles bound in periodic, space restricted, issues. Scholarly publishing in the digital age is often a transformation of physical forms and norms into digital media: an easy and familiar solution that fails to adapt to the realities of the new medium.  As a remedy, we propose Kinetic Publishing, a new model of scholarly thought, discussion, and dissemination.

Understanding Sociotechnical Transformation: The Story of HathiTrust
February 8, 2017
Alissa Centivany

Abstract: This research explores the ways values, power, and politics shape and are shaped by digital infrastructure development through an in-depth study of HathiTrust’s “dark history,” the period of years leading up to its public launch.  This research identifies and traces the emerging and iterative ways that values were surfaced and negotiated, decision-making approaches were strategically modified, and relationships were strengthened, reconfigured, and sometimes abandoning through the process of generating a viable, robust and sustainable collaborative digital infrastructure.  Through this history, we gain deeper understandings and appreciations of the various and sometimes surprising ways that values, power, and politics are implicated in digital infrastructure development.  Shedding light on this history enables us to better contextualize and understand the affordances, limitations, and challenges of the HathiTrust we know today, better envision its range of possible futures, and develop richer appreciations for digital infrastructure development more broadly.

Energizing librarians and library users through critical disability theory
November 9, 2016
Claire Burrows

Abstract: Accessibility is increasingly a topic of focus in the LIS community. However, LIS research on accessibility remains limited in scope, which has practical implications for inclusion in a valuable community resource. This paper discusses research approaches to accessibility, as well as how critical disability theory can contribute to this field. As community institutions with a central mandate of providing information services to all citizens, libraries are especially suited to engaging with these theories in practice.

Information access and the purge of homosexuals from the Canadian federal civil service during the Cold War
October 12, 2016
Catherine Johnson

Abstract: In 1960, in the middle of a stellar career, David Moffat Johnson disappeared from the ranks of Foreign Service Officers in the Department of External Affairs. He was just one of hundreds of victims of the RCMP campaign to remove homosexuals from the federal civil service during the Cold War.  This presentation reports on efforts to learn about his departure from External Affairs and the efficacy of the Access to Information Act in gaining access to relevant government documents.

2015 - 2016

The Blurry Staves: Music and interdisciplinary Copyright and Intellectual Property fallout from the ‘Blurred Lines’ case
April 6, 2016
Scott A. MacDonald

Abstract: The 2014 “Blurred Lines” case was a major blow the music industry.  What precedents could this set?  How does this effect other composers or musicians?  How does the ruling affect jazz musicians or contemporary musicians who utilize improvisation?   How does the audience’s perception of what they heard affect alleged “musical thievery”?  Jazz improvisation, like creating a new chemical compound or drug, creates something new from an existing tune or base formula.  Following the judgement of the court could both be construed as copyright infringement?

"Every single one is my favourite” (Theo, 4 years): Children’s Experiences and Perceptions of E-Book Reading
March 23, 2016
Lynne McKechnie and Kathleen Schreurs

Abstract: Children are tech savvy: they watch videos, play games, and read e-books.  This is not surprising as there are over 70 billion apps available for download and a substantial number of those are made for children. Many studies have examined children reading ebooks, but most are from the point of view of adults. Our study, supported by an OCLC/ALISE Library & Information Science Research Grant, explores what children themselves think about e-books. The findings will be shared in this presentation along with implications and advice for parents, librarians and others who work with children.

Fifteen Billion and Counting: Cigarettes, Canadian Courts, and Historical Evidence
March 9, 2016
Daniel Robinson

Abstract: The presentation will discuss the role of historical evidence in recent and ongoing court cases involving Canadian tobacco companies, including the Blais-Letourneau case in Quebec, which recently awarded $15 billion to class-action plaintiffs suing tobacco makers for nicotine addiction and lung cancer. The presentation will discuss how historical opinion polls, cigarette advertising, print and broadcast media stories, and industry documents have factored in these trials.

Almost against information ethics, with lessons from Caputo’s obligation and Foucault’s ethics of freedom
March 2, 2016
Bernd Frohmann

Abstract: John Caputo’s deconstructionist “ethics without ethics” replaces ethics with obligation. He champions a poetics of obligation rather than a philosophy of ethics. His work in Against ethics: contributions to a poetics of obligation with constant reference to deconstruction and in “Against principles: a sketch of an ethics without an ethics” have productive intersections with our contemporary mediascape, information ethics, and with Foucault’s turn to ethics in his late period, especially in connection to his conception of an ethics of freedom. The aim of the presentation is to generate meaningful questions for thinking about the fate of the force of obligation in contemporary media and information culture.

Use of Implicature in Provision of Information Services in Dementia Care
January 2016
Grant Campbell

Abstract: The theory of implicature, formulated by the philosopher Paul Grice, has been used in health care settings to understand the implications behind what people say. This presentation will offer initial thoughts on the application of the theory of implicature to the provision of information services in dementia care: by using the theory to extract patterns of implication in the communications of individuals with dementia, and linking those patterns to the syndetic practices of information organization, we might be able to enhance and prolong meaningful communication between caregivers and individuals with dementia, and provide better means of keeping both individuals with dementia and their caregivers with the necessary information supports.

Using time as a critical lens to examine information literacy as a key skill for the Knowledge Economy
December 2, 2015
Karen Nicholson

Abstract: Using time as a lens affords new ways of understanding information literacy (IL) as a political agenda and a situated practice in the neoliberal university. To date, however, with a few notable exceptions, LIS researchers have largely ignored the concept of time in relation to information literacy. In this presentation, I will explore some of the ways that time can be used to undertake a critical examination of information literacy theory and practice.

In the Shadows of the Upload: Filipino Commercial Content Moderators and the Globalized Digital Media Production Chain
November 18, 2015
Sarah Roberts and Andrew Dicks

Abstract: Commercial content moderation is a globalized, around the clock set of practices in which workers view and adjudicate massive amount of(Roberts, 2014), offering a comparative extension of that work into the Philippines, a high-tech mecca in a previously colonized country where, much like call center tasks, content flows in and flows out, destined for American markets (Mirchandani, 2012; Poster, 2007). This paper represents preliminary results from the first empirical academic study of CCM workers living and working in the Philippines, now the(D. Lee, 2015). Based on in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with CCM workers from the business parks of Manila, this research unveils a complex and often paradoxical role occupied by CCM workers. While CCM work can offer, on the one hand, a much more elevated socioeconomic status than would be possible in other sectors, it comes with risks to workers whose long-term effects remain unknown.

Implications of Open Access for librarians
October 14, 2015
Paul St. Pierre

Abstract: If Open Access scholarly publishing becomes ubiquitous, major intermediary roles of librarians - journal selection, acquisitions, and subscription management - could be eliminated. This talk will look at alternative ways in which librarians might participate in scholarly communication processes in order to maintain, or even enhance, our status within the academy.

Contemplative Pedagogy and its Relevance for FIMS
November 4, 2015
Ajit Pyati

Abstract: Contemplative pedagogy is a small but growing movement within higher education. At the heart of a contemplative and integrative approach is a focus on the whole person, which addresses the mind, heart, and spirit of students.  Contemplative approaches place students in the center of their learning so they can better connect their inner worlds to the outer world. Mindfulness and meditative practices form a core part of contemplative education, helping students cultivate present-minded and non-judgmental awareness.  This talk explores how contemplative techniques can be applied to learning at FIMS, through both discussion and hands-on practices.

The Online Vaccination Debate - Understanding Anti and Pro Vaccination Advocacy Groups Exposure on the Web
October 7, 2015
Anton Ninkov and Liwen Vaughan

Abstract: Vaccinations are an achievement in public health. The introduction of vaccines in our society has contributed to the decline in morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases as well as having been ranked as one of the top ten achievements of public health in the 20th century (CDC, 1999). However, in spite of the overwhelming scientific evidence that is available supporting this conclusion, there is an alarming presence of information on the Internet that suggest the practice of vaccination is harmful and advocate for vaccination choice. This study examines webometric data describing the various vaccination advocacy groups’ web presence as well as a content analysis of a sample of the in-links to these various groups’ domains.

Know what I mean? Reflections on valuing the social relations of knowledge producers
September 9, 2015
Datejie Green

Abstract: The global drive toward digitization as the apogee of human communication presents knowledge workers with a fundamental conundrum. In a time where our work is ever more required, desired and consumed, why are we, our expertise and the meanings within our crafts so devalued?

In this seminar I will draw on my experiences as a contingent union member-organizer during three pivotal moments of socio-economic-technological restructuring: The 2005 CBC lockout of CMG union members, the 2008-09 strike of CUPE 3903 contingent teaching staff at York University, and CMG and CWA union recruitment of freelancers across North America from 2010. Through stories I will illustrate commonalities across sectors, identify trends and articulate strategies for critical analysis and praxis.

2014 - 2015

Picturing Dementia: Facilitating a Passionate Engagement
March 4, 2015
Sharon Sliwinski and Grant Campbell

Abstract: Our understanding of dementia in Canada and elsewhere suffers from the results of being "hidden," as well as the effects of dementia on a patient's ability to use words in self-expression.  In this presentation, Dr. Sharon Sliwinski discusses with Dr. Grant Campbell her research on what she calls "our passionate engagement with pictures," and the possibility that such engagement might lead us into a greater commitment to connect with those with dementia and to address with compassion the urgent problems raised by dementia.

Evidence-based healthcare and arts-based research: Richer perspectives for adolescent health
December 3, 2014
Eugenia Canas

Abstract: This talk describes the positioning of arts-based knowledge generation in relationship to evidence-based healthcare (EBHC), as applies to the field of adolescent health. Through a discussion of current literature, I describe the attributes of EBHC, as well as the complementing ways that arts-based health research can expand and enrich epidemiological, scientific models.

Library as "Third Place" in the History of the Rwandan Genocide
November 5, 2014
Martin Nord

Abstract: Groups active in building Rwanda’s first public library identify the 1994 Rwandan genocide as motive for viewing libraries as third place or public sphere. This paper investigates the integrity of that claim. If correct, then access to libraries might have counter-acted antecedents to the genocide. Though libraries alone cannot prevent genocides, many Rwandans believe that libraries—and the citizen-building processes they represent and offer—are indicators of a nation’s health. This idea opens new avenues for research in historical genocides as well as possible concrete steps that can be taken for the prevention of genocide and the reconciliation that follows.

Beyond traditional publishing models: An examination of the relationships between authors, readers, and publishers
October 22, 2014
Heather Hill

Abstract: The genealogy of 50 Shades of Grey is traced. Using Darnton's (1982) model of the communications circuit as a base, we map out an altered communications for works originating as fanfiction and self-published materials.

Music and Dementia: a Conversation
November 26, 2014
Norma Coates and Grant Campbell

Abstract: Cognitive neuroscientists, together with health care specialists, are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of music on patients suffering from dementia.  But anecdotal evidence suggests that musical associations are embedded in a variety of social, cultural and contextual factors.  This conversation explores how an understanding of the history of popular music can be brought to bear on understanding the potentially beneficial effects of music on persons with dementia.