Chronology of Canadian Tories' war on science libraries


The CBC’s Fifth Estate aired Silence of the Labs last night.
Quoting the blurb:
With massive cuts by Ottawa to everything from food inspections to water quality and climate change and the dismissal of more than 2,000 federal scientists and researchers, some scientists have become unlikely radicals – denouncing what they call a politically-driven war on knowledge. In Silence of the Labs, Linden MacIntyre tells their story - and what is at stake for Canadians - from Nova Scotia to the B.C. Pacific Coast and the far Arctic Circle.

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I don’t understand the fear – without nurturing the sciences, an entire system weakens intellectually, physically, socially, psychologically, morally, and economically. Thank you for the link…

Bob Altemeyer wrote a book, The Authoritarians, which might shed light on why - it’s a free d/l. From his page: “… experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence…”

They just don’t see the value in science.


Was it you posted the link to that on here a few months back as well? I have been relentlessly foisting that book on people for weeks now.

Silly Billy: a single research paper has proven that liberals are more anti-science than conservatives, or they’re the same, or we can’t tell, or something. Why do you hate science?

The central pushback to claims of “libricide” appear to be that nobody can prove that any materials were destroyed, damaged, or lost. I’m a librarian and I manage our library’s central information system (the ILS, or Integrated Library System/Database) and given its reporting capacity I can give pretty exact figures for what’s going on in the corpus of our stacks (hmm, “corpus of our stacks” seems redundant, but I like the word corpus so fuckit). What I don’t understand is that these heavy-duty research libraries would certainly have similarly capable ILS systems, so they should be able to kick out a report showing the numbers and bibliographic data of unique material sent to other libraries as well as the same data for duplicate/weeded/removed items. While correlating that data with other library data to show particular unique/duplicate status would take a touch more effort, it’s still trivial to provide this data and I’m baffled that nobody has come forward to suggest it and even further baffled that the Canadian Government (or the libraries themselves) has not provided it, given the uproar surrounding this story.

Mind you, it depends on how the study was conducted. I have known my share of Left-Leaners who shun science for quackery…

It was Cory who posted the original link to the book, in late 2009. It’s a breezy read, especially for an academic book.

Multiple studies, Alexandra.

Oh, you can score high on the authoritarian scale AND believe Crunchy bollocks, not Glenbeckian bollocks. He goes in to that in the book. It’s well worth a read.

It doesn’t always matter if it is multiple studies if they all use the same underlying assumptions and go in with the preset stereotypes.

It’s like the nature-nurture debate – it is always funny how those who believe in it is all in the genes almost always find those results and those who believe it is all in the environment find the opposite.

I love my science and experiments, but I have been around the block long enough to know not to see the results of experiments as the Word of God…

Always make sure any information in government hands is also mirrored outside of government.

I believe they fired the librarians first. If you were locked out of the building you might have trouble accessing the ILS database.

Well, no, because networked software. In addition, due to the FUCKING EXORBITANT cost of most modern ILS systems many libraries (public, private, and otherwise) enter into consortiums whereby they share one central ILS system among the group and compartmentalize the data such that one library’s patrons only see the items held by that library and not items held by the other consortium members.
Bibliographic data in libraries is for the most part kept in the MARC format (which is old and creaky but whatevs) and for every item in the database a record like the following is available for whatever data manipulation you care to whip it with:

=LDR 02390cam 2200433Ia 4500 =001 ocn438193593 =003 OCoLC =005 20130905234144.0 =006 m\\\\\o\\d\\\\\\\\ =007 cr\cnu---unuuu =008 090923r20072005njua\\\\ob\\\\001\0\eng\d =040 \\$aN{dollar}T$beng$cN{dollar}T$dOCLCQ$dEBLCP$dIDEBK$dOCLCQ$dMHW$dOCLCQ =020 \\$a9781400826773 (electronic bk.) =020 \\$a1400826772 (electronic bk.) =035 \\$a(OCoLC)438193593 =043 \\$an-us--- =082 04$a179.7$222 =100 1\$aLavi, Shai Joshua. =245 14$aThe modern art of dying$h[ebook] :$ba history of euthanasia in the United States /$cShai J. Lavi. =260 \\$aPrinceton, N.J. ;$aWoodstock :$bPrinceton University Press,$c2007. =300 \\$a1 online resource (x, 226 p.) :$btables. =500 \\$aOriginally published: 2005. =504 \\$aIncludes bibliographical references and index. =520 \\$aHow we die reveals much about how we live. In this provocative book, Shai Lavi traces the history of euthanasia in the United States to show how changing attitudes toward death reflect new and troubling ways of experiencing pain, hope, and freedom. Lavi begins with the historical meaning of euthanasia as signifying an "easeful death." Over time, he shows, the term came to mean a death blessed by the grace of God, and later, medical hastening of death. Lavi illustrates these changes with compelling accounts of changes at the deathbed. =588 \\$aDescription based on print version record. =650 \0$aEuthanasia$zUnited States$xHistory. =655 \4$aElectronic books. =856 40$yFULL TEXT ONLINE$u

So for every item contained in those libraries there is a corresponding record available in the database that can potentially encode all sorts of information such as when it was purchased, when it was removed and by whom, etc. etc. That data is, or should be, readily available to the database admin, and it does not go away once the item itself has been destroyed (natch). Which makes me wonder why the Canadian Government hasn’t offered it up (or offered a breakdown of such) to prove their statements of duplicates removed and unique items transferred and no book burning whatsoever.
And if I might go a touch further, as an admin myself, if my boss came to me tomorrow and told me to delete the entire bibliographic database, it would be trivial to dump this information (i.e. a list of every item contained in the library) to a large text file for use or storage elsewhere. My library is a small one (~50K volumes) and the corpus of our DB in the compressed MARC format takes up about 15MB.

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