Information and Human Rights, Part II Semester’s end: The short of it.

Now that the semester is coming to an end, and the final product is ready to print, it is time to revisit the semester, and examine the outcomes in terms of learning objectives and my expectation as described in the first blog post.
I hope to provide a detailed report on the semester in forthcoming posts. I documented the semester quite carefully and will include class notes, photographs, updates on discussion and on mapping information and human rights, and more.
But for now, I can say as follows: We produced two posters that depict the students’ conceptual map of information and human rights. It is a result or a truly participatory design concept, although the polished poster owes a lot to the design skills of one student.

Navigating Human Rights

Navigating Human Rights
Credit: Eleanor’s head: BrainPOP
XXX= students who prefer to remain unnamed

Under the title Navigating Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the crafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), represents the Common Good. Her left [robotic] are represents the Infrastructure (in terms of hardware and software) of information and human rights and the right arm represents the Legal Framework (laws, treaties, case law). The arms are holding onto the boat wheel which represents Access.

The concepts, represented as words or symbols, are “tattooed” onto the arms, “engraved” onto the wheel, they decorate the pill hat sailor Roosevelt’s head, and adorn the shirt.

Infrastructure (the robotic left blue arm) includes references to equipment such as satellite, broad band and electricity to providing available, affordable and accessible information as a human right. In keeping with one of the class themes of exploring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), strong infrastructure supports many of the UN’s SDGs, in particular goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

The Legal Framework arm is tattooed with a quote from Article 19 on the UDHR in the five official languages on the UN: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The legal framework also supports SDG #16: … provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

The wheel of Access depicts the processional organizations that support access to information, such as ALA and IFLA, the SDG directly related to access, specifically goal 4: quality education and goal 10: reduced inequality.

The Common Good highlights the theorists and writers whose thoughts and philosophies contributed to shaping our understanding of information and human rights this semester, specifically James Baldwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum and Manuel Castells.

The corresponded second poster provides more explanation and sources for the concepts in the first poster. poster_02_bib-1

In the next few weeks I will provide more details on how the we developed the design concepts, as well as highlight some student work and some thoughts about the learning outcomes of the project.

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Student work: Robin Miller

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Fall is in the air

Winter is back with a vengeance, spring and summer seem far away, but at the School of Information we are all planning for the Fall 2017 semester. It will be interesting, challenging and probably very frustrating to teach Information Policy and Government Information this fall and will require many revisions to the existing curriculum as many policies are changing and sources are no longer available. More details and updated syllabi will be available this summer. I am off to a good start with the flyers created by our wonderful office assistant that so very accurately reflect the content of these two courses.

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How the Librarians Saved History: Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time

My work is rewarding whether is gets recognition or not, but I have to admit, it was nice to get an honorable mention in this NYTimes article.   screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-11-29-42-pm

There is so much I love about what I do, and where I do it and who I do it with, and this project brought it all together. My fellow harvesters and I were all connected by at most 1.5 degrees of separation. There was even someone who was in a class I taught a zillion years ago when I was an adjunct at Queens College!

It is so great to go the conferences and events and run into so many Pratt graduates, many were my students and took my information policy or government information classes. I remember their term papers and their presentations, and it is great to see them involved in information activism.

But now that my five minutes of fame are over it’s time to get back to work for access to information. Looking for suggestions. And don’t forget to #GovDocs@Trump


Double feature: #GovDocs2Trump Tweetathon and End of Term Harvest

This came to me through library channels and may have originated from @noftalee . The idea is to tweet Trump some of the documents that tell the story of our country.

The Tweetathon announcement  says:

#GovDocs2Trump Tweetathon

America deserves a president who is well versed in the history of this nation and the documents upon which that history was built. Let’s present those documents to the President-Elect through his favorite medium–Twitter.

Tweetathon will begin at 9am (central) on December 1, 2016. You are welcome to join at any time.

Feel free to use whatever government related document (Supreme Court decisions, innagurial addresses, speeches, early American papers, etc.) strikes your fancy.

Tag each tweet with the hashtag #GovDocs2Trump and please send them to @realdonaldtrump. This way we can fill his feed.

Finally, please make your first tweet “Dear @realDonaldTrump, We the people demand an informed President.

So yes, of course I plan to join the Tweetathon. In fact, I started making a list of documents I will send. These include the CONAN, The US Constitution Annotated , the Nixon grand jury records  and many more

For those who would like to join the conversation but need suggestions on where to find government documents, here are some suggestions:

Our Documents  has a list of 100 millstones documents from American history such as the Emancipation Proclamation . A much larger collection is available from Govinfo and Government Publishing Office’s database. Browse their index  for Executive orders, Presidential papers and more.

Are your interests in history, diplomacy, foreign affairs? Try FRUS  Foreign relations of the United States. There you will find all the correspondences, cables, letters, etc. between presidents and other official. The collection is arranged by president and by topic. For example John F Kennedy Kennedy-Khrushchev Exchanges, Volume VI (it’s basically a retrospective edited wikileaks)

For those that are more into numbers, there are reports from the Census Bureau  on topic such as poverty as well as infographics

And the Double Feature? The start of the Tweetathon happens to coincide with the End of Term Harvest event I am facilitating tomorrow at the New York Academy of Medicine

Grey Literature End of Term Harvest. 10-1pm, The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029.

The change of government administration brings the potential to eliminate websites, remove information and limit access to past administration content. This day we will identify such websites, particularly in areas on the Affordable Care Act, climate change and more, focusing on government social media and information not on .gov domains.

The plan is to double dip. Not matter where you are #GovDocs2Trump


Archiving the Obama administration

On Thursday. Dec 1 I will be facilitating an event in which participants help archive websites for the Obama administration, website that are in danger of disappearing with the change of administration. The event is hosted by the New York Academy of Medicine. Details on NYAM website Archiving instructions are available here

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