Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Librarians Protest Canada Cutbacks; Chronicle of Higher Education via New York Times, 1/26/14

Karen Birchard and Jennifer Lewington, Chronicle of Higher Education via New York Times; Librarians Protest Canada Cutbacks:
"A move by the Canadian government to shrink the number of its departmental research libraries is drawing fire from some academics, who fear a loss of data and trained personnel and damage to the country’s ability to carry out research.
The closing of seven regional libraries in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the quiet elimination of more than two dozen libraries in other departments, might otherwise have passed largely unnoticed, given the modest cost savings...
Gail Shea, head of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or D.F.O., adamantly denied any book burning. “Our government values these collections and will continue to strongly support it by continuing to add new material on an ongoing basis,” she said in a statement. “All materials for which D.F.O. has copyright will be preserved by the department.”
Despite such assurances, some academic researchers and librarians remain skeptical.
“My overwhelming feeling is that we don’t know exactly what some of the ramifications are for my future research or other people’s research because of the nonsystematic way it has been done,” said John Reynolds, a professor of aquatic ecology at Simon Fraser University who uses federal government fisheries data on British Columbia streams for his study of salmon sustainability.
He questioned why the government had failed to publish an inventory of library materials before and after the downsizing, including documents not covered by copyright."

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