June 30, 2005

Focus on Urban Aboriginal People

The recently-released Statistics Canada Report, Aboriginal People Living in Metropolitan Areas reveals that there have been significant gains made by Aboriginal people living in Canada's cities (for a more thorough discussion see the recent IUS blog entry). In light of this report -- and to support interest and research in this increasingly important topic area -- IUS would like to highlight items in its collection, as well as key online sources.


In 2003, the Policy Research Initiative published Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. (The full text of the book is also available online). Topics covered by this book include, mobility and migration, challenges facing urban Aboriginal women, urban Aboriginal economic development and urban governance issues.

One of the authors, Dr. Eveyn Peters of the University of Saskatchewan, is the Canada Research Chair in Identity and Diversity: The Aboriginal Experience at the U of S. Among her other recent contributions to this important topic are two chapters in books held at IUS: "Urban Aboriginal People in Urban Areas", chapter two in Urban Affairs: Back on the Policy Agenda (2002);
Urban Affairs.gif
and "'Urban' and "Aboriginal': an Impossible Contradiction?", chapter three in City Lives & City Forms: Critical Research & Canadian Urbanism. The first is an examination of "how [academics, herself included] have conceptualized the situation of urban Aboriginal people, what some of the implications have been, and what are some possible ways forward." The latter chapter reviews key literature from the last 35 years concerning Aboriginal people in urban settings and concludes that "Aboriginal people are confronted again and again with explicit or implicit messages that cities are not where they belong as people with vibrant and living cultures."

Along with Oksana Starchenko, Peters is responsible for an excellent online Atlas of Urban Aboriginal Peoples. Featured cities include Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg, with Prince Albert, Edmonton and Calgary coming soon. The Atlas includes a discussion of the Challenges of Defining Aboriginal Populations; Definitions of Aboriginal Used in the Atlas; Census Geographies Used in the Atlas; a Glossary; and a Bibliography. Detailed socio-demographic information is analyzed between 1971 and 2001.

A detailed "environmental scan" of the Aboriginal community in Winnipeg is available in Eagle's Eye View from the United Way. According to their website, 'It is presented without analysis or interpretation so that it may be used to build knowledge, understanding, trust, connections and relationships.” The Eagle's Eye View looks at the Aboriginal Community from holistic perspectives, including: cultural; social; economic; and political, etc. 'So much has been written about the Aboriginal Community – but it exists in hundreds of separate publications and tends to focus on the challenges facing Aboriginal peoples, not their successes and capabilities,' says Bartlett. 'The Eagle's Eye View takes a different approach - compiling existing information as well as providing balanced information.' It is also available as a PDF.

For some recent examples of research based at the University of Winnipeg, check out Community Pathways of Aboriginal Youth Leaders by the U of W's Dr. Annabelle Mays and Dr. Heather Hunter; as well as the recent IUS report, First Nations/Métis/Inuit Mobility Study.

As Canada's Aboriginal people experience more urbanization in the coming years, they are going to be making ever more significant contributions to city life. Publications and library resources will need to keep pace with this rapidly changing field.

Posted by Michael Dudley at 2:26 PM

June 23, 2005

Memory of the World Register

A three-millennium-old Phoenician inscription from Lebanon, a sixth-century Albanian codex, medieval manuscripts on medicine and pharmacy from Azerbaijan, and Austrian Gothic architectural drawings are among 29 documentary collections in 24 countries newly earmarked for United Nations help in preservation.

The collections have been inscribed on the Memory of the World Register of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), bringing to 120 the total number of inscriptions on the Register to date. The Programme, set up in 1992 to preserve and promote documentary heritage, much of which is endangered, helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material.

sarcophagus_of_ahiram.jpg Some of the collections are almost as old as recorded history itself, like the sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos in Lebanon, whose Phoenician inscription is the earliest known example of alphabetical writing. Others are as modern as the newly inscribed Astrid Lindgren Archives in Sweden, containing nearly all the original manuscripts of the author of the Pippi Longstocking series.

Learn more by reading the official press release.

Thanks to Library retiree Paul Nielson for this story.

Posted by Dobson-J at 9:27 AM

June 22, 2005

Historical Dictionary of the Inuit

REF E 99 E7S825
This work presents an overview of the Inuit peoples of the Circumpolar North. Unlike other works that focus on traditional Inuit cultures, this work documents the social, political, and economic history of Inuit as part of a globalized world.

The work contains information on traditional Inuit cultures, but special emphasis is placed on the recent history of Inuit communities. More than 450 dictionary entries cover issues of society, economy, and politics; influential educators and writers, environmentalists, and politicians; and the many voluntary associations and governmental agencies that have played a role in Inuit history. The introductory essay, chronology, and well-developed bibliography make this an ideal reference source for the researcher or student. (from Scarecrow Press, Inc. website)

Posted by Cramb-A at 1:45 PM

Focus: Peak Oil

With oil prices approaching $60.00 a barrel, it's no surprise that the publishing world has seen a number of high-profile books hitting the shelves that deal with the issue of "peak oil." Many of these are available (or on order) at either the University of Winnipeg Library or the Institute of Urban Studies.

Linda McQuaig's It's the Crude, Dude approaches the issue in terms of geopolitics -- particularly the power of the oil lobby -- climate change and the real reasons for the war in Iraq.

Paul Roberts, in The End of Oil takes a global look at the economics of energy and warns that if we fail to seek alternatives to oil, violence and chaos are certain.

Another dimension to this impending crisis is a shortfall in natural gas, which is widely used for heating, electricity generation and the production of fertilizers. Julian Darley's High Noon for Natural Gas discusses these and other factors, highlighting the environmental, political, and economic consequences of the end of cheap natural gas.

James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency (on order for U of W and IUS) picks up on the notion of this perilous future and explores in frightening detail what the post-oil world might look like.

For a quick introduction to some of his thoughts on what this will mean for our society -- particularly our cities -- check out The End of Suburbia, a DVD in which Kunstler is a featured speaker.

Another figure prominently featured in this DVD is Matthew Simmons, whose new book Twilight in the Desert is being described as a "bombshell" in that he's saying the oil reserves the Saudis have for so long reported -- and on which all projections are based -- are flawed. As Michael T. Klare (author of Blood and Oil) writes:

"But now, from an unexpected source, comes a devastating challenge to this powerful dogma: In a newly-released book, investment banker Matthew R. Simmons convincingly demonstrates that, far from being capable of increasing its output, Saudi Arabia is about to face the exhaustion of its giant fields and, in the relatively near future, will probably experience a sharp decline in output. "There is only a small probability that Saudi Arabia will ever deliver the quantities of petroleum that are assigned to it in all the major forecasts of world oil production and consumption," he writes in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. "Saudi Arabian production," he adds, italicizing his claims to drive home his point, "is at or very near its peak sustainable volume . . . and it is likely to go into decline in the very foreseeable future."

In addition, there is little chance that Saudi Arabia will ever discover new fields that can take up the slack from those now in decline. "Saudi Arabia's exploration efforts over the last three decades were more intense than most observers have assumed," Simmons asserts. "The results of these efforts were modest at best."

If Simmons is right about Saudi Arabian oil production -- and the official dogma is wrong -- we can kiss the era of abundant petroleum goodbye forever. This is so for a simple reason: Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil producer, and there is no other major supplier (or combination of suppliers) capable of making up for the loss in Saudi production if its output falters. This means that if the Saudi Arabia mantra proves deceptive, we will find ourselves in an entirely new world -- the "twilight age" of petroleum, as Simmons puts it. It will not be a happy place."


Posted by Michael Dudley at 8:59 AM

June 21, 2005

National Graduates Survey: Manitoba graduates

According to a new report, graduates from Manitoba's postsecondary institutions were just as likely to be employed as graduates in the rest of the country. However, they tended to earn lower incomes, a reflection of the province's labour market.

Statistics Canada: The Daily

In addition, Manitoba's graduates were less likely to have incurred debt during their studies than graduates elsewhere in Canada and their average debt was lower.

This report used data from the National Graduates Survey (Class of 2000) conducted in 2002. It provides a statistical portrait of the graduates of Manitoba's universities and colleges, what they do after graduation and how well they integrate into the labour market. It also includes an analysis of Aboriginal graduates.

In 2000, an estimated 7,700 students graduated from postsecondary college and university programs in Manitoba. They represented 3% of the nearly 270,000 graduates across the country.

Graduates from the province had many characteristics in common with graduates from the rest of Canada. But there were a few notable differences.

Graduates from Manitoba were more likely to be of Aboriginal origin. However, they were less diverse in terms of visible minority status, citizenship and mother tongue.

A higher proportion of them completed a bachelor degree and they generally took longer to complete their program. Furthermore, college graduates in Manitoba were more likely to have delayed entry into postsecondary education.

Most Manitoba graduates from the Class of 2000 stayed in the province after graduation. However, Manitoba lost more students and graduates than it gained because they were attracted to educational institutions or labour markets outside the province.

Manitoban graduates were just as likely to find employment as graduates in the rest of the country. However, they tended to have lower incomes.

In 2002, the estimated gross annual earnings for a Manitoba graduate who left university with a bachelor's degree in 2000 was $35,100, compared with the national median of $39,000 for all bachelor's graduates.

A lower proportion of Manitoba graduates incurred debt during their studies than the average Canadian graduate.

In 2000, a bachelor's graduate in Manitoba owed an average of $19,100 in debts to all sources, compared with the average of $20,500 for all graduates with a bachelor's degree nationally.

The proportion of Aboriginal graduates with a college diploma reflected roughly the proportion of Aboriginal people in the general population. In contrast, Aboriginal people were under-represented at the bachelor level, and hardly represented at higher levels of study.

Posted by hunt-k at 2:05 PM

Mac Write-N-Cite


We are pleased to announce a version of Write-N-Cite for the Mac.

Write-N-Cite is a utility that allows users to run an abbreviated version of RefWorks in MS Word.

With Write-N-Cite, you can cite references in a manuscript with the click of a button. Write-N-Cite can be downloaded from within the RefWorks Tools area.

Posted by hunt-k at 1:34 PM

Routledge Urban Reader Series at IUS

The Institute of Urban Studies Library (at 520 Portage, across the street from the main campus) has received the latest title in Routledge's "Urban Reader" series, the Urban Geography Reader. This series is a landmark effort to compile the best classic and contemporary interdisciplinary readings by both theoreticians and practitioners concerning cities, the issues facing them, and the social theories with which they may be better understood. Other titles in the series (also available at IUS), include The Cybercities Reader, The Sustainable Urban Development Reader, The City Cultures Reader, and The City Reader [3rd ed].

Posted by Michael Dudley at 12:14 PM

June 14, 2005

Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd edition


One of the newest additions to the Library collection, this 5-volume set will be an important reference source for researchers in many disciplines.

"This edition is a complete revision of the Dartmouth Medal-winning set first published in 1995. Covering a wealth of topics on the ethics of health professions, animal research, population control and the environment, the set helps researchers to consider the impact of new scientific knowledge and its potential to harm or benefit present and future generations. All bibliographies have been updated and new entries added -- from cloning, to issues of privacy or censorship on the Web, cell-stem research, same-sex marriage, privatization of water access, animal rights and much more." (from Macmillan Reference USA website)

Posted by Cramb-A at 9:32 AM

June 13, 2005

Censorship: A World Encylopedia


Reference Z 657 C39 2001

Our new four volume Censorship: A World Encyclopedia includes an introduction by Doris Lessing, who writes: "Direct and unambiguous censorship, as part of state control, is easier to combat than the indirect results of it. Books, works of art, and their authors, may be banned, reviled, made non-books and non-people, but what is hard to see is the prevailing wind of opinion". (page vii)

"This work provides a wide-ranging view of censorship, spanning ancient Egypt to present times and covering art, literature, music, newspapers and broadcasting, and the visual arts, among many other topics. In addition, the work provides country surveys and discussions of major controversies for specific movies, books, and television shows. Some 1,550 entries, arranged in alphabetical order by subject, were written by about 600 contributors from 50 countries. Entries are enhanced by occasional illustrations, a name-subject index, and an alphabetical and thematic list of entries at the beginning of each volume."From Booklist

Censorship: A World Encyclopedia

Mary Ellen Quinn. The Booklist. Chicago: May 15, 2002. Vol. 98, Iss. 18; p. 1626 (1 page)

Posted by hunt-k at 2:13 PM

June 6, 2005

Hard Times for American Public Libraries

In the past week, several articles have appeared on the Internet and in the alternative media that have highlighted some of the political and financial pressures facing libraries in the United States. Just days ago we posted a story about the list of the "Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries" (this story has created quite a firestorm on the Internet: a quick search on Google shows over 57,000 hits!) Now we read in the current issue of the alternative press publication Yes! a Journal of Positive Futures (Summer 2005) on its "The Page that Counts" (similar to the stats that run in the Harper's Index) that:

Number of people threatened with loss of all public library access in Salinas, California: 150,000

Cumulative loss of funding for libraries across America in the past year and a half: $111.5 million

Percent of Americans who agreed with the statement that libraries and librarians play an essential role in our democracy and are “needed now more than ever”: 83

Number of libraries that were asked by law enforcement officials, under the USA PATRIOT Act, for records of the patrons’ reading habits in 2002: 444

Number of libraries that refused the request for records: 225

Percent of librarians who say they would challenge a court order asking them to provide information secretly about a patron: 21.7

Considering the widespread opposition to this provision (opposition that includes the American Library Association) what's most surprising about these statistics is not that the US government considers reading to be so subversive but that only slightly more than half of the libraries facing PATRIOT Act requests declined, and that only 21% would challenge a court order.

On the brigher side, however, President Bush in February of this year announced a large increase in spending on America's libraries. This funding is a part of the otherwise controversial No Child Left Behind" Act, and is surely to be welcome news, considering the state of so many of American's school libraries.

For instance, Bill Moyers, speaking at a conference entitled "Take Back America" about the atrocious state of public school libraries and how it is contributing to the yawning gulf between the wealthy and the poor:

"The Times reported on a school in nearby Mount Vernon, just across the city line, with a student body that is 97% black. It is the poorest school in the town: Nine out of ten children qualify for free lunches; one out of ten lives in a homeless shelter. During black history month this past February a sixth-grader who wanted to write a report on the poet Langston Hughes could not find a single book about Hughes in the library — not one. There is only one book in the library on Frederick Douglass. None on Rosa Parks, Josephine Baker, Leontyne Price, or other path breakers like them in the modern era. Except for a couple of Newbery Award books bought by the librarian with her own money, the books are largely from the 1950s and 1960s, when all the students were white. A child's primer on work begins with a youngster learning how to be a telegraph delivery boy. There's a 1967 book about telephones with the instruction: 'When you phone you usually dial the number. But on some new phones you can push buttons.' The newest encyclopedia dates from 1991, with two volumes missing."

And in the aforementioned Salinas, California, it seems that a grassroots struggle was recently waged by the community to save the library from closing:

"Salinas is one of the poorest communities in the state, within one of the richest counties in the country, the locale of so many of Steinbeck's great novels: Think farm workers, fields of artichokes, garlic, faded stucco houses stained with dirt, ticky-tacky housing tracts, John Ford, James Dean's face in ''East of Eden," strawberry fields, and old gas stations.

"Now think about closing the libraries there, closing the buildings that hold the town's books, all those bound stories about people and wisdom and justice and life and silliness and laborers bending low to pick the strawberries. You'd have to be crazy to bring such obvious karmic repercussions down on yourself. So in early April, a group of writers and actors fought back, showing up in Salinas for a 24-hour ''emergency read-in.

"My sad '60s heart soared like an eagle at the very name: an emergency read-in. George W. Bush and John Ashcroft tried for three years to create a country that the East Germans could only dream about, empowering the government to keep track of the books we checked out or bought, all in the name of national security. But they hadn't counted on how passionately we writers feel about saving the world, or at any rate, the worlds contained in the skinny, silent spines of books.

"We came together because we started out as children who were saved by stories, stories read to us at night when we were little, stories we read by ourselves, in which we could get lost, and thereby, found. Some of us had grown to become people with loud voices, which the farm workers and their children of this community all of a sudden needed. And we were mad. Show a bunch of writers a sealed library, and they see red. Perhaps they are a little sensitive, or overwrought, but they see a one-way tunnel into the dark. They see the beginnings of fascism."

It is disquieting how often the "F" word is beginning to creep into public discourse in America, but at the same time inspiring how often libraries -- and the people who are passionate about preserving them -- are doing what they can to hold that darkness at bay.

For more information on American libraries and the effects of the USA PATRIOT Act, see the American Library Association's webpage "USA PATRIOT Act and Intellectual Freedom."

Posted by Michael Dudley at 3:45 PM

June 3, 2005

Conservative "scholars" release list of Ten Most Harmful Books


The conservative magazine Human Events engaged a "panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders" to come up with a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The ten works were scored from 0 to 150. The only credible inclusion on the list is Hitler's Mein Kampf, but at only 41 points it is ranked far lower for harmfulness than The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, at only 74 points. Predictably, the list consists mostly of libertarian and feminist texts such as John Dewey’ Democracy and Education, Alfred Kinsey’s The Kinsey Report, and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. The explanations for the works’ supposed harmfulness is generally jejune and self-serving. Das Kapital by Marx (again) is accused of failing to predict “21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.” Right. And Democracy and Education (1916) by the (eminent) educational theorist John Dewey is chided for disparaging “schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge” in preference for “the teaching of thinking ‘skills’.” Yes, that last word is placed in quotation marks. When these “scholars” have nothing specific to say against the works, they attack the authors. The atheism of Auguste Comte, author of The Course of Positive Philosophy, is portrayed as particularly contemptible because he “turned his back” on the heritage of his “Catholic family,” Betty Friedan is castigated for having an extra-marital affair, and Kinsey is ludicrously accused of having advocated “sex between adults and children.”

For those who like to decide such things for themselves, see the rest of the story for our list of the ten works in question, with U. of W. Library call numbers.

Thanks to Michael Dudley at the Institute of Urban Studies for bringing this story to our attention.

The ten works (including, for the sake of completeness, Mein Kampf), with U. of W. Library call numbers (only the main part of the number is given, as there are generally various editions available):

  1. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels (1848); HX 276 M3
  2. Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler (1925-26); DD 247 H5A322
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao, by Mao Zedong (1966); DS 778 M3A51553
  4. The Kinsey Report [i.e. Sexual behavior in the human male] by Alfred Kinsey (1948); HQ 18 U5K5
  5. Democracy and Education, by John Dewey (1916); LB 875 D35
  6. Das Kapital, by Karl Marx (1867); HB 501 M36
  7. The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan (1963); HQ 1420 F7
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy, by Auguste Comte (1830); included in B 2223 E5M3 1896
  9. Beyond Good and Evil, by Freidrich Nietzsche (1886); B 3313 J43E5
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, by John Maynard Keynes (1936); HB 171 K45
Posted by Dobson-J at 12:43 PM