The new titles list tells you what's new in York libraries each week. RSS feeds for each subdivision of the Library of Congress classification scheme. The lists are too long to include here but you can follow them separately. The recently added electronic resources RSS feed lists all new e-resources from the last week. It is a long list of titles of new journals, e-books, databases, and other online sources.
June 18, 2013
June 17, 2013
The article is called National Research Council’s new focus ignores how science works. The core issue is that recently the Canadian Federal Government’s National Research Council announced that it would change it’s focus from performing basic, curiosity-driven research to more applied research, preferably sponsored by Canadian industry.
Ladies and gentlemen, we invest in science and technology for two reasons: to create knowledge and to exploit that knowledge for social and economic gain. Unfortunately, all too often the knowledge gained is opportunity lost.
Today, the NRC embarks on an exciting, new journey—a redirection that will strengthen Canada’s research and innovation ecosystem for many years to come. And this refocused NRC, with a business-led innovation mission, is pivotal to the future of Canadian jobs, economic growth and our long-term prosperity.
The NRC will now focus on the identified research needs of Canadian businesses. The refocused NRC will support Canadian business by becoming a research and technology organization, similar to Germany’s very successful Fraunhofer Institute—Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization—which undertakes applied research of direct benefit to private and public enterprise and to society.
Canadian businesses in need of support to bring their ideas to market can now access the specialized technical services, extensive scientific expertise and unique infrastructure through the NRC’s centres that are located in every province across the country.
The NRC is open for business. We are here to support Canadian industries in need of research support. We encourage any business—small, medium or large—to contact the NRC. You have a partner in the NRC.
This CBC article explains the basics quite well: National Research Council move shifts feds’ science role.
Goodyear also pointed out that Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute served as a model for the NRC’s new business-oriented focus. The institute is a series of 66 smaller institutes and research units owned by the German public, the federal state and state-level governments. It undertakes research of benefit to private and public businesses as well as society as a whole.
Council president John McDougall said the NRC will become a more attractive partner for business.
“We have shifted the primary focus of our work at NRC from the traditional emphasis of basic research and discovery science in favour of a more targeted approach to research and development,” McDougall said.
“Impact is the essence of innovation. A new idea or discovery may in fact be interesting, but it doesn’t qualify as innovation until it’s been developed into something that has commercial or societal value.”
NDP science critic Kennedy Stewart called the shift in direction for the NRC “short-sighted” and said it could actually hurt economic growth in the long run, because it scales back the kind of fundamental research that can lead to scientific breakthroughs.
Stewart also warned that some of Canada’s best and brightest minds might be lost to other countries that invest more heavily in pure science.
“The government has been handing pink slips to scores of NRC scientists and researchers, lowering the organization’s research capacity and devastating internal morale,” he said. “It is hard to see how business will get scientific advice from the NRC if they fire all the scientists.”
And now back to Suzuki’s National Research Council’s new focus ignores how science works.
I believe we should support science because curiosity and the ability to ask and answer questions are part of what makes our species unique and helps us find our way in the world. Still, basic research aimed at specific outcomes can lead to game-changing applications, from transistors and pesticides to nuclear bombs, penicillin and oral contraceptives. But how do new applications flow from science?
Many scientists support a mythical notion of what makes science innovative. To be “relevant”, they write grant applications as if their work will lead to cures for cancer, new energy forms or salt-tolerant plants, depending on the priorities of funders and governments. This creates the illusion that science proceeds from experiment A to B to C to solution. But we really have no idea what results an experiment will produce. If we did, there would be no point to the experiment.
It’s more likely that a scientist will do experiment A leading to F then O, while another in a different area will do experiment Z leading to W then L. Maybe the two will meet at a conference or even a pub and, in talking about their respective work, realize that results O and L could lead to a new invention!
Canada’s contribution to science is minuscule compared to countries like the U.S., Britain, Germany and even China. But if our top scientists are as good as any, they become our eyes and ears to cutting-edge science around the world, are invited to speak at top universities and institutes and attend meetings where the latest ideas and discoveries are shared.
If we’re serious about creating partnerships between science and business, we have to support the best scientists so they are competitive with any around the world. We also have to recognize that innovation and discoveries don’t always come from market-driven research. We should recognize truly internationally groundbreaking work to inspire young people who will grow up knowing they can be as good as scientists anywhere. This takes commitment from governments, more generous grants and long-term support.
There’s nothing wrong with applied research. The reality is that Canadian businesses are lagging behind in R&D spending. But the solution to that problem isn’t for the government to use public resources to do it for them. The solution is for private businesses to invest in the R&D they need to do themselves. The government should focus on the kind of research that businesses can’t and won’t do — basic, long-term, curiousity-driven research, the work that doesn’t have the immediate pay-off that businesses need to stay healthy and competitive. Sometimes basic research results in commercially-viable innovations, but mostly it doesn’t. And when it does, it tends to take a long time with countless research teams each playing a small role in coming up with the breakthrough that leads to the product.
Business and government should each play their most appropriate role in the science ecosystem. It isn’t government’s role to risk public money to try and pick commercial R&D winners.
Some previous posts of mine that focus on Canadian science policy:
- The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment
- Scientific discovery is not valuable unless it has commercial value
- Reading Diary: Keystone XL: Down the Line by Steven Mufson
- The Canadian war on public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information
- The Canadian War on Science: Ottawa’s dangerous unscientific revolution
- Around the Web: The Canadian War on Library and Archives Canada
- An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada
- Controversy at the recent Canadian Library Association conference
- York University Faculty Association (YUFA) Library Chapter letters to Minister James Moore in protest of the cuts to Library and Archives Canada
- The Canadian War on Science: Stop muzzling Canadian scientists!
- The Canadian War on Science: Environmental rules should be better, not easier
- The Canadian War on Science: Environmental rules should be better, not easier
- The Canadian War on …
- Whither CISTI and the Canadian War on Science
- NRC-CISTI’s announces new public-private partnership with Infotrieve
- Q&A with NRC-CISTI about their new public-private partnership with Infotrieve
- Is Barak Obama good news for science in Canada?
7 new acquisitions in Osgoode Hall Law School Library, including 3 from 2013:
The government and the economy, 1783-1861 / edited by Carter Goodrich.
Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill, 1967
xlii, 544 p. ; 21 cm.
Written advocacy / James C. Morton.
Markham : LexisNexis Canada, 2013
viii, 106 p. ; 23 cm.
The law of privacy / Michael Power.
No publisher information available
xxviii, 311 pages ; 24 cm.
International law : a South African perspective / John Dugard ; with contributions by Max du Plessis, Anton Katz, and Arnold Pronto.
Cape Town : Juta, 2011
liii, 583 p. ; 25 cm.
The democratic dilemma : reforming Canada's Supreme Court / edited by Nadia Verrelli.
Kingston, Ont. : Montreal : Intergovernmental Relations, School of Policy Studies, Queen's University ; 2013
McGill-Queen's University Press,
xiii, 291 p. ; 23 cm.
Learning Canadian criminal law / [compiled] by Don Stuart and Steve Coughlan and Ronald Joseph Delisle.
Toronto, Ont. : Carswell, 2012
xxxi, 1227 p. ; 25 cm.
Learning Canadian criminal procedure / by Don Stuart, Tim Quigley, Ronald Joseph Delisle.
Toronto, Ont. : Carswell, 2013
xxvii, 1107 p. ; 25 cm.
All other data © Osgoode Hall Law School.
June 14, 2013
We have recently purchased Early European Books Collections 1 -3 from ProQuest.
Early European Books provides scholars with access to the printed record of early modern Europe, drawing together an array of printed sources from the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.
Collection 1 offers a survey of the Royal Library’s holdings of items listed in Lauritz Nielsen’s Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 and its supplement (1919–1996). The Royal Library’s Danish and Icelandic imprints produced in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are included, from the earliest works printed in Denmark – Breviarium Ottoniense (Odense Breviary) and Guillaume Caoursin’s De obsidione et bello Rhodiano (‘On the siege and war of Rhodes’), both printed by Johann Snell in Odense in 1482 (Lauritz Nielsen 29 and 39 respectively) – through to works by the astronomer and alchemist Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) issued from his private press at Uranienborg, on the island of Hven, before 1597. Other works of Tycho in this collection include his De nova et nullius ævi memoria prius visa stella (‘On the new and never previously seen star’), published in Copenhagen in 1573 (Lauritz Nielsen 429).
Collection 2 contains early printed volumes from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (National Central Library of Florence). The selection of works focuses on four collections: The Nencini Aldine Collection, Marginalia, Incunabula, and Sacred Representations.
Collection 3 contains 3 million pages in total, from more than 10,000 volumes scanned at four different libraries. It encompasses works in major European languages, printed in the cities which led the explosion of the print industry in the early modern era, such as Nuremberg, Basel, Leiden, Paris and Venice. The collection contains the founding works of modern sciences such as botany, anatomy and astrology, together with accounts of travel, exploration and warfare, and influential works of literature, philosophy and humanist thought. In the field of religion, users will find editions of the works of the Church Fathers, early Bible editions in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and vernacular translations, missals, psalters and breviaries, Protestant sermons and tracts, and Counter-Reformation publications of the Catholic Church.
For more information about this resource take a look at the following demo: http://eeb.chadwyck.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/info/demo.do
June 13, 2013
CAUSA prepares for BAXTER& intervention at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden . . . & . . .
. . . & . . . CAUSA continues to prepare for it's forthcoming BAXTER& intervention at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, to be held in parallel with the Venice Biennale . . . & . . . :
. . . & . . . more information to follow . . . & . . .
. . . & . . .
image: "Detail – Inscription on Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Monument [Granite Plinth with Portrait Bust], Vancouver." Photo: M. Cynog Evans, CAUSA Archives, 2013.
Dark, Suzhou, 12 midnight CST (China Standard Time) / 9 a.m. PDT (Pacific Daylight Time), Vancouver, Light.
So ThunderBolt began cutting holes, one each day. On the seventh day, PrimalDark was dead.
[c. 365-290 B.C.E.]
. . . & . . . visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden website for more information about the forthcoming CAUSA/BAXTER& project . . . & . . . :
. . . & . . .
“the future is &”
June 12, 2013
The following is an extended passage taken from the wonderfully cranky and pedantic book The King’s English by the wonderfully cranky and pedantic Kingsley Amis. Intended as a highly subjective and opinionated “guide to modern usage”, the passage below is taken from the entry on “Capitals and full stops”. It should be noted that in British parlance, a full stop is what most Canadians would know as a period.
“Once upon a time everything was straightforward and everything was the same, and you wrote of the R.A.F. and the B.B.C. and the U.S.A. under principles that needed no defining, only demonstration. Then bit by bit modernity started arriving and the full stops started disappearing, but at different speeds and with different degrees of completeness. At one stage it looked as if collections of capital initials that could be and often were pronounced as a word, acronyms as there were very often called, consistently lost their full stops, and we wrote NATO and UNO and NASA, and said Nato and Uno and Nasa, and often-used abbreviations lost their stops too and we go ie and eg and even rsm (in The Times), and it seemed as if we were within reach of consistency, that grammarian’s dream of perfection. But then some of us noticed that to write RAF suggested, often wrongly and perhaps annoyingly, that the writer said Raf, and that nobody said Ira, and that although everybody was writing USA nobody ever said Ooza or Yooza even in fun, and what about people’s initials? Consistency, even as a rough rule of thumb, seemed and still seems as far off as ever.
There is luckily an easy way out of this not very pressing problem. It consists of heeding the fact that nobody cares much or even observes what you write in your own fist – in a personal letter, say – and more importantly as regards matter to be published no personal system of uniformity has a chance of surviving translation into print. ‘House style’ will take care of everything. So go ahead and write U.S.A. or USA or even usa and it will come out the way They want it.” (pp. 29-30)
Except not quite. In a discussion that stemmed from a recent Slaw post that deals with the new directive from the British Columbia Court of Appeal on legal citation, my colleagues and I mused that while citation certainly matters from the perspective of producing proper legal writing, what of legal research? In other words, does it matter when searching using citations whether it is necessary to ensure that proper citation formats are followed in order to maximize your search results?
In a nutshell, the answer is “kind of”. After spending a bit of time running test searches using parallel citations of the same case, we we found that both CanLII and Quicklaw are surprisingly adept at managing to ascertain the intentions of even the most ham-fisted of citation searches. However, Westlaw is clearly somewhat more finicky in terms of ensuring that there is proper punctuation and use of parentheses. However, if proper punctuation is followed, its returns are consistent with Quicklaw and CanLII.
The issue of proper citation in Canadian legal writing is something that is ostensibly made very clear with the use of the McGill Guide as the de facto citation standard in Canada. However, this is blurred somewhat by the fact that the seventh edition of the McGill Guide, which dropped the use of periods in its citations (e.g., DLR vs. D.L.R.), has not been universally adopted. Many courts, firms, and publishers (including, somewhat ironically, Carswell, which publishes the McGill Guide), have yet to make the change, preferring to hang on to the periods in their writing. So much for house style taking care of everything!
At the end of the day, to ensure that you maximize your research potential, it is wise to ensure that you are familiar with the proper forms of legal citation (in all of its myriad forms) and to put that knowledge to use when conducting your searches.
On a somewhat unrelated side note, the image above was borrowed from the brilliantly deranged website The Oatmeal which, in addition to some of its more irreverent comics, also includes surprisingly informative works on the life of Nicola Tesla, coffee, mantis shrimps and, perhaps most importantly, grammar and punctuation. Sometimes it’s good to laugh while learning.
Reading Diary: Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani
First Second Books is one of my favourite publishers of graphic novels, in particular because they seem to like to do a lot of science-themed books. Jim Ottaviani’s book Feynman was one of my favourite graphic novels of the last few years. Perhaps not surprisingly, First Second published Feynman.
The latest from the science graphic novel dynamic duo is Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, this time with the art by Maris Wicks. And it is certainly up to the incredibly high standards set by Feynman, if not even a little bit better.
What’s it about?
Primates is the story of the long term collaboration of three women scientists — Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas — with their scientific mentor, anthropologist Louis Leakey. But the focus is definitely on the three women rather than on Leakey. It is the story of how they stumbled into science, worked around the establishment, how they shaped and shifted their lives around their passion, about the incredible work they did in primatology with chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans respectively. One of the things I like the most about the book, just like with Feynman, is how the life story of the women is so closely linked to the work they did. But no serious dry scholarly tome, nope, none of that. The book is also very funny, filled with warmth and even a little whimsy.
It’s not hard to imagine a young woman or man reading this book and thinking to themselves, “hey, I’d love to do that too, it sounds so incredibly cool” and starting their own journey into discovery.
This is a wonderful book I recommend without hesitation. Anyone interested in science or the history of science would enjoy it. As I allude to above, I think it would be particularly appropriate for a young person. As with Feynman and other science graphic novels I’ve reviewed in the past, it would fit perfectly in any middle school or high school library as well as any public library of any size. Academic libraries that collect graphic novels should acquire it, particularly any that cover biology or anthropology.
Oh, yeah, and before I forget, the librarian in me needs to mention that a very nice bibliography is included at the end.
As a side note, Ottaviani has still more science biography graphic novels that I’ll be reading and reviewing over the next while. You can see them all on his Amazon page here.
Ottaviani, Jim and Maris Wicks. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. New York: First Second, 2013. 133pp. ISBN-13: 978-1596438651
(Primates review copy provided by the publisher.)
Other science graphic novels I have reviewed:
- Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm