Library Juice 3:44 - November 22, 2000
- Library Juice Collected Quotes for the Week
- Snarky Librarian
- About.com Librarians' Forum
- SLIS Underground
- Call for Papers -- IFLA Roundtable for Women's Issues
- Local History & Genealogy Librarian (newsletter)
- SmartFilter's Greatest Evils
- Nominations sought for Paul Honor Award for Courage
- The US Government and "Information Literacy"
- ACLU requests help on Anaheim school library censorship issue
- Statement on Cuba from the Vienna meeting of Progressive Librarians
- SACS "Library and Other Learning Resources" Changes
- David Biek on recent Peacefire Report
- Friibergh WS statement with core Qs
- Dewey, Dewey and Dewey
- International Orienteering Federation
Quote for the week:
If we didn't have libraries, many people thirsty for knowledge would
dehydrate. (Megan Jo Tetrick, age 12, Daleville, Indiana.)
Homepage of the week: Ben Ostrowsky
1. Library Juice Collected Quotes for the Week
The Library Juice Quotes for the Week are now collected conveniently
on a single web page:
2. Snarky Librarian
a new web site
3. About.com Librarians' Forum
The Librarians Forum has really picked up some opinions lately.
Here's a few that may spark your response button.
- Call Them the Brainy Types
"In high school, the only people who hung out in libraries were the nerds.
Will this image ever change?"
- United We Stand, for less?
"Would the employees do better without the union?"
- Not Just Your Garden Variety Type
"One of the things that really
interests me is the kind of people that are attracted to our profession --
their personalities, work styles, life experiences, etc. And I say this with
affection -- but there are a variety of "types" that I've found in all
three of my workplaces, and they are/were different kinds of libraries."
> From the About.com Librarians' and Info Pro's Newsletter
4. SLIS Underground
Supporting Subversive SLIS Students
From the web site:
The medium, SLIS UNDERGROUND, was created with the intention of providing
SLIS students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a forum
in which to express their opinions about library and information science and
their educational/professional experiences within the field.
The main goals of SLIS UNDERGROUND:
Realizing that much of what we are being taught is subjective.
Realizing that information itself is subjective; everything is changed,
greatly or subtly, by the filter through which it passes.
Understanding that as future librarians, archivists, catalogers, indexers,
school media specialists, editors, censors, and free-thinking students of
human nature we have a right to comment upon and question all information.
To bring to ideas to the forefront and provide a media through which comments
can be made for which there was no time in class.
To encourage critical thinking within the SLIS student body.
To show the SLIS faculty that we care enough about library and information
science to go to the trouble of establishing an entity beyond the academic
establishment through which we can further discuss what we are being taught,
what we are reading, and how the information is being presented.
The minor goals of SLIS UNDERGROUND:
To have fun.
To arouse suspicion.
To pit the SLIS students against one another in trying to figure out who and
what SLIS UNDERGROUND really is (thereby promoting practical applications of
information-seeking behavior and reference techniques).
To create a site interesting enough to get some of the more technologically
challenged students and staff to use the Internet in an interactive manner.
To give us something to talk about before class.
To bring us together as a group of highly intellectual bibliophiles.
5. Call for Papers -- IFLA Roundtable for Women's Issues
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 10:17:48 -0500
From: IFLA LISTS <iflalists[at]nlc-bnc.ca>
Round Table for Women's Issues
Call For Papers
67th IFLA General Conference
16 - 25 August, 2001 in Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A.
The general conference theme is "Libraries and Librarians: Making a
Difference in the Knowledge Age" with RTWI's subtheme of "Women's
Information Needs: What Are They and How Do We Fulfill Them?" We are also
celebrating the Round Table's 10 year anniversary and would like to spend
some of this time looking back at what has been accomplished as well as a
look ahead at the future. If you have knowledge or experience in the
subject, please share it with us!
Proposals for papers must follow RTWI's dual objectives concerning the
status of women in libraries and dealing with the information needs of and
services to women. Proposals, in English, and abstracts of 200 words, also
in English, may be sent to the address below by 1 FEBRUARY, 2001. Final
papers should not exceed twenty minutes in length when read aloud. Proposals
may be sent via airmail or email to:
Ms. Leena Siitonen
6. Local History & Genealogy Librarian (newsletter)
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 02:15:29 EST
From: Tom Kemp <GenAnnual[at]AOL.COM>
New newsletter available for free.
The second issue of the Local History & Genealogy Librarian, aimed at keeping
archivists and librarians current with news, and book reviews in local
history and genealogy will be mailed in 2 weeks.
To be added to the free mailing list for the Local History & Genealogy
please send your full contact information, including mailing address, phone,
fax and e-mail to the editor Tom Kemp at: TKemp[at]HeritageQuest.com
Tom is the Chair of the ALA Genealogy Committee and the author of many books
and articles on genealogical resources.
7. SmartFilter's Greatest Evils
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 09:31:08 -0600
From: "Don Wood" <dwood[at]ala.org>
To: Intellectual Freedom Action News <ifaction[at]ala1.ala.org>
SmartFilter's Greatest Evils
An anticensorware investigation by Seth Finkelstein
"Abstract: This paper examines what the censorware product
considered to be the worst websites, as measured by the number of
categories under which the site was blacklisted. It was discovered
that two broad classes of websites were maximally blacklisted. These
were privacy/anonymity service sites, and language-translation
services. In retrospect, this is in fact an obvious requirement of
censorware, as any private or anonymous browsing ability is
antithetical to the goal of control in censorware."
American Library Association
Office for Intellectual Freedom
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4225
8. Nominations sought for Paul Honor Award for Courage
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 19:06:05 EDT
From: MELISSA MALCOLM <mmalcolm[at]mtabe.k12.vt.us>
Subject: [MEMBER-FORUM:1923] nominations sought
Please feel free to forward this request for nominations for the
Paul Howard Award for Courage to other lists.
Paul Howard, donor of a bi-annual award that celebrates
courage in the library field, defines courage as “the quality of
mind which enables one to face adversity, difficulty, or danger
with resolution and fortitude…it is that characteristic which
enables librarians to seek the achievement of goals in spite of all
opposing forces.” This ALA award is not limited to librarians
only; groups and individuals who exhibit this courage for the
benefit of libraries may be nominated.
The deadline for submitting nominations for the Paul Howard
Award for Courage is December 1. More information on the
award, and the application form, are available at
Melissa A. Malcolm
Paul Howard Award for Courage Jury Chair
Mt. Abraham Union High School
7 Airport Drive
Bristol, Vermont 05443
9. The US Government and "Information Literacy"
From: Martin Raish [mailto:martin_raish[at]byu.edu]
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2000 8:41 AM
Subject: The U.S. Government and "Information Literacy"
From: Scott Walter <walter.123[at]osu.edu>
In an earlier post, I described a course taught by one of my colleagues
here in Ohio called "Information Literacy: The News and the Net," a course
that was team-taught by a librarian and a faculty member in Journalism.
One aspect of the process that I think I failed to mention was the fact
that the course was initially approved with a single caveat - remove the
term "information literacy" from the title. Faculty members on the
curriculum committee considered the term ambiguous and "jargon-y" (per my
colleague's recent presentation at the Academic Library Association of Ohio
Now, difficulties with the term "information literacy" is something with
which many of us are familiar. The concurrent use of the phrase "fluency in
information technology" comes to mind.
Now, the U.S. Department of Education has entered the fray with a report
that I think will be of interest to many of us - "21st Century Literacy."
What follows is the description of a newly-available report entitled
"Nation of Opportunity: Building America's 21st Century Workforce":
"Focuses on the need for Americans to reach a new level of literacy--21st
Century Literacy--that includes strong academic skills, thinking,
reasoning, teamwork skills, and proficiency in using technology. This
publication discusses nine Keys to Success in accomplishing 21st
Century Literacy. It emphasizes the importance of leadership and
partnership in communities across the nation to expand the number of
individuals qualified to enter high-skilled, high-paid information
You can order the report through ED PUBS
<http://oeri4.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html>. Look for it under "What's New?"
Information Services Librarian & Collection Manager for Education
Education, Human Ecology, Psychology & Social Work Library
110 Sullivant Hall
The Ohio State University
1813 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
phone: 614-292-2075 (x4-0238)
10. ACLU requests help on Anaheim school library censorship issue
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 06:15:50 EST
>From Martha Matthews <mmatthews[at]aclu-sc.org>, via The Center OC:
The school library at Orangeview Junior High School, which is in the
Anaheim Unified High School District, ordered a series of books called
"Lives of Notable Gays and Lesbians." These are biographies, written
for kids 14 and up, of people like Martina Navratilova, John Maynard
Keynes, Willa Cather, etc. They have a similar format to other series on
Lives of Notable Asian-Americans," "Lives of Notable African-Americans,"
The books were removed from the library by the school principal before
they got shelved, and sent to the district offices, where they've been
reviewed by several assistant superintendents. For the past two months, the
librarians have been trying to get the books back, or at least get some
formal decision made.
The ACLU believes that this situation raises serious issues about
students' First Amendment rights. Courts have recognized that schools can
limit material in school libraries to what is age-appropriate and
consistent with the curriculum -- but they cannot censor school library
materials because of the ideas or viewpoints expressed in the books, and
that is what appears to be going on here.
If the issue cannot be resolved without a lawsuit, it would be very
helpful to work with people who are parents of students at Orangeview Junior
High, because it's the students' constitutional rights that are at stake.
It doesn't matter whether the students, or their parents, are gay or
straight -- all students have a right to uncensored access to library
To protect their privacy, the students and parents could participate in a
lawsuit as "John Does," -- they wouldn't have to use their real names.
Please ask any interested Orangeview students or parents to contact me,
Martha Matthews, at (213) 977-5269 or mmatthews[at]aclu-sc.org. Also,
please bear in mind that this message should only be shared with 'friendly'
contacts at this time!
News and announcements about GLBTQ issues concerning
Youth and Education from:
(Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Orange County)
11. Statement on Cuba from the Vienna meeting of Progressive Librarians
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 20:01:22 -0500
From: "Lennart Wettmark/Hervor Svenonius" <sve.we[at]xpress.se>
Cc: "bis-listan" <bis-listan[at]egroups.com>
Progressive Librarians Around the World -
At the Vienna Meeting of Progressive Librarians 17 -19 November 2000 with
participants from Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, USA, South Africa,
Norway and Sweden, most of them members of Arbeitskreis Kritischer
BibliotekarInnen im Renner-Institut (KRIBIBI), Arbeitskreis Kritischer
BibliotekarInnen (AKRIBIE), Information for Social Change (ISC),
Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG), Social Responsibilities Round Table of
ALA (SRRT), Library and Information Workers (LIWO) or Bibliotek i Samhälle
(BIS) the following statement was issued regarding Cuba:
We consider the right to give and get information a vital principal of
every country. Freedom of speech is limited in many countries. We regret
that this seems to be the case in Cuba as well. We believe that in order to
develop democracy the right to form an opinion reflecting different views
within the country should be safeguarded. In Cuba, trying to maintain and
develop its own national policy, there are signs of intolerance of actions
and ideas contrary to the official policy and harassment of some
But Cuba is subject to a strong ideological and economic pressure from the
US government. Exile Cubans in the USA are actively opposing the regime of
Cuba using all means of communication, political influence and economic
power. Some of the reactions in Cuba against the so-called "independent
libraries" can be seen in that perspective.
We consider the best way of fighting harassment and intolerance as well as
supporting principals of freedom of speech in Cuba to be the ending of the
blockade which has been upheld by the USA despite an almost unanimous
opposition against it in the United Nations.
We encourage library and information workers to visit Cuba, establish
exchange programs and other links aiming at a support of the development of
Cuban libraries and an increased access of information.
12. SACS "Library and Other Learning Resources" Changes
This message is a follow-up on the story in Library Juice 3:41, November 1,
at http://libr.org/Juice/issues/vol3/LJ_3.41.html#9 on the recently
proposed SACS criteria relating to libraries. (SACS is the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional accreditation body.)
The proposed new SACS criteria were awful for libraries, with the word
"library" not even appearing and professional librarians apparently not
The recent news from Larry Hardesty is good.
SACS "Library and Other Learning Resources" Changes
Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 17:05:30 -0600
From: Larry Hardesty <lhardesty[at]AUSTINC.EDU>
Reply to: COLLIB-L <COLLIB-L[at]acs.wooster.edu>
SACS Region Librarian Colleagues
Below is a composite of a couple of e-mails from my president, Dr. Oscar
Page, this week. He did carry forth earlier this week the concerns and
recommendations I presented to him on our behalf to the SACS Task Force on
the Revision Process, which he co-chairs. As you will note, the word
"library" is back in the statement (two times---once in the a Core
Requirement, and once in the Comprehensive Requirements). Also
"collections" are mentioned in the Core Requirement. While we might hope
for more, I think given the philosophy of the proposed changes, these are
much improved statements over the original proposal. As Dr. Page stated
below, the statements will be shared at the December meeting and there may
be further revisions. Also, there will be developed additional documents
to accompany new principles and guidelines and training of the
reaffirmation team. Therefore, there may be further opportunties to
influence the interpretation and application of the new principles and
If you have further thoughts, please feel free to share them with me, and I
will convey them to Dr. Page. I appreciate Dr. Page carrying our concerns
forward, and I would be pleased to convey any expressions of appreciation
to him that you want to send me.
>"Larry, I met with the committee this weekend and they made several changes
>in the section on the library. They moved it to educational programs and
>it is now headed "Library and Other Learning Resources".
> The Core Requirement is as follows:
> The institution provides and supports student and faculty access and
user privileges to
> adequate library collections as well as to learning and
information resources consistent with
> the degrees offered and are sufficient to support all
educational, research, and public service programs.
> The institution provides facilities and instructional support services
appropriate to the courses or programs and adequate to support
> the institutions's mission and to contribute to the effectiveness of
> The institution ensures that users have access to regular and
timely instruction in the use of learning and information resources.
> The institution ensures a sufficient number of qualified staff
with appropriate education or experiences in library and other learning
> resources to accomplish the mission of the institution.
>The question of evaluation is addressed in a general statement in the
document and not repeated in each section. I think this is a good section
>now and certainly brings the library back into the picture. The wording of
the Core and Comprehensive requirements will be cleaned up but the meaning
will remain the same.
>They will be shared with a wider group at the annual meeting in December
so I would anticipate they will be public is a short time. The final
wording will evolve after the annual meeting so if you want me to consider
adjustments in the wording, I will be glad to submit your thoughts after
the first of the year.
>Thanks for helping with this. A revision was needed and I am glad we could
>make it happen.
& Immediate Past-President, Association of College and Research
Libraries (ACRL) 2000-2001
900 North Grand Avenue
Sherman, Texas 75090
13. David Biek on recent Peacefire Report
The following is a two-part response from David Biek, filtering advocate,
to this recent Peacefire report:
Study of Average Error Rates for Censorware Programs
"Using "zone files" from Network Solutions (which list all .com
domains in existence), we obtained a list of the first 1,000
active.com domains on the Internet as of June 14, 2000. We tested this
list of 1,000 domains using five popular blocking programs: Cyber
Patrol, SurfWatch, Bess, AOL Parental Controls, and SafeServer, to see
how many sites each program blocked as
"pornography", and of those sites, how many were actually
Your responses to Biek's analysis, which he originally sent to PUBLIB and
ALAOIF, are invited, and might be printed in a future Library Juice.
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 19:06:46 -0800 (PST)
From: "David Biek" <dbiek[at]tpl.lib.wa.us>
To: publib <publib[at]sunsite.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Peacefire study, part 1
[posted to ALAOIF and PUBLIB]
Bennett Haselton reports truly stunning results of a test of the accuracy of
CyberPatrol filtering software: an 81% error rate, where an error is defined
to be the blocking of a site that does not conform to CyberPatrol’s
filtering category definitions. This result is very far from matching the
experience I have in working in a library system where CyberPatrol is in
I examined the methodology Haselton used (described at
www.peacefire.org/censorware/Cyber_Patrol/first-1000-com-domains.html ) and
it was easy to see where he went wrong. In a quest to provide a "provably
random" sample, he constructed a highly arbitrary sample of domains to test.
The sample was so unrepresentative that bizarre results were inevitable.
Sample selection began with a list of all dot-com domains arranged in
alphabetical order. He looked at the first 10,000 domains and realized that
"a disproportionate number of these were pornographic sites that chose their
domain names solely in order to show up at the top of an alphabetical
listing." He solved this by eliminating an unspecified number of domains
using an ambiguous criterion, "[those] whose names started mostly with all
‘-‘ dashes." The first 1,000 domains of those that remained were "pinged" to
determine which were "actually up."
First of all, a "pingable" domain is not necessarily "up." The ping is
received by and responded to by a piece of hardware called a Network
Interface Card (NIC). The server, in which the NIC sits, may be running no
programs at all - it's only necessary that the NIC has its network
connection working to answer the ping. Complicating this is the fact that a
single NIC may respond to any number of domain names; each ping to those
different domains will return the same signal and, therefore, overcount the
number of responses.
Next, look in the business white pages of a telephone book, at the first
listings. There may be a few legitimate business names (Aaberg's Swedish
Bakery, for example) but most are nonsensical strings consisting of A-s and
punctuation marks chosen to gain advantageous positions in the list. An
alphabetical list of Internet dot-com domains is no different and no amount
of fiddling with it will produce a list of domains that is representative of
the universe of domains. That Haselton pulled out what he claims were
pornographic sites from the list further compromises his sample.
Back to Haselton’s methodology. These 1,000 domains were run against
CyberPatrol. 121 were blocked as "Sexually Explicit." As it happens, he
found that 100 of these sites were "under construction.”
This is an astonishing finding, but one that underscores the biased
character of his sample. I wonder if Haselton looked at these supposedly
under construction sites? In fact, almost all of them are owned by firms
like register.com whose business is buying up domain names in the
expectation of being able to sell them later: < a-1cleaning.com > is an
example from his list. There is no "construction" going on here. And it's no
surprise that these speculative domain names are concentrated at the start
of the alphabet.
So, Haselton took out the 100 said to be under construction and was left
with 21 blocked sites. The claim is that these were blocked as "sexually
explicit." "Sexually explicit" is not the name of a CyberPatrol category,
but he implies that the term covers the three categories he switched on.
These categories are "Partial Nudity," "Full Nudity," and "Sexual Acts /
Text." Of those 21 sites, 17 are said to have been incorrectly blocked by
CyberPatrol. This is the basis for the claim of an 81% error rate.
In discussing “Potential sources of error,” Haselton uses the small sample
size to argue that the true error rate could be higher or lower (a safe
bet!) but claims that it is virtually certain not to be less than 60%. He
also claims, without substantiation, that because only dot-com domains were
sampled, the true error rate for the whole web, including dot-orgs, would be
He concludes by quoting a defense of the CyberPatrol product made by company
executive Susan Getgood. This is, at best, misleading, for the quote dates
back to 1997. Haselton fails to point this out, and it is understandable if
the reader wrongly infers that the remark was made in response to the
Why should Haselton have performed such gymnastics in order to obtain a
"provably random" sample? He claims that “We used the first 1,000 working
domain names in our sample in order to make our sample ‘provably random’. A
truly random sample chosen from the entire list of domain names would have
been better, but it would be impossible to prove that such a sample had
really been chosen randomly; a third party could easily claim that we had
‘stacked the deck’ by choosing a disproportionate number of sites blocked
incorrectly by Cyber Patrol.”
Imagining such claims by these “third parties” only reflects that fact that
Haselton is a highly partisan advocate in the debate over Internet
filtering. While “provable randomness” is a useful concept in cryptography,
it is out of place in social science research. Instead, there are a number
of well-accepted methods for generating random samples that will be accepted
by all parties to a contentious debate.
All Haselton needed to do was employ one of these methods to assemble a list
of dot-com domains to test and we’d be profitably discussing what the
findings mean instead wasting time on criticizing the method. In seeking
“proven randomness,” he achieved just the opposite.
(The other two major studies of filtering in library settings were also
marred by the use of non-random methods to select the samples. I refer to
Michael Sims’s study of logfiles from the Utah Education Network and David
Burt’s survey of incident reports.)
This is part one of my thoughts on the Peacefire study. Part two will
explain why I think that real-life data point to a very different conclusion
regarding error rates, but first I have to tally our system reports from
Manager, Main Library
Tacoma Public Library
1102 Tacoma Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98402
my thoughts and opinions only **
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 20:21:48 -0800 (PST)
From: "David Biek" <dbiek[at]tpl.lib.wa.us>
To: publib <publib[at]sunsite.berkeley.edu>,
Subject: Peacefire study, part 2
The news announced by Bennett Haselton, on October 23 (at
www.peacefire.org) - that CyberPatrol had an 81% error rate, falsely
identifying non-pornographic sites as pornographic - is utterly opposite our
experience with the software at the Tacoma Public Library.
I've already written about the serious violations of basic survey research
protocols by Haselton. Here, I'll show what we have found out about the
effectiveness of the software, in real operation, during the month of
The Tacoma Public Library runs CyberPatrol software on each of the computers
used for Internet access by the public, a total of 75 machines in 10
facilities. Two CyberPatrol filtering categories are implemented, "Full
Nudity" and "Sexual Activity / Text." (Haselton added the category "Partial
Nudity" for his test.) One feature of our custom web browser, called
Webfoot, is that it produces a wide range of statistics on web use.
>From the October, 2000, monthly report, we learn that users called up
725,730. Of these, 3,733 URLs were flagged by the CyberPatrol software, a
rate of 0.51%. These are typical monthly numbers for us.
The effectiveness of the filtering software was tested by sampling the 3,733
incidents that were reported in a log that was printed on November 2. The
log is arranged by branch and then by date and time.
Given the nature of the data, systematic sampling was appropriate and was
used to select 804 log entries. (Starting with the first entry, every fifth
was chosen. Then, starting with the second entry, every hundredth was
chosen.) For each log entry sampled, I checked to see whether or not the URL
was correctly handled by the software. "Correct," that is, in terms of
CyberPatrol's published category definitions.
781 entries were correctly filtered by the software; this is 97.14% of the
total. 12 entries were incorrectly filtered, or 1.49%. It was not possible
to evaluate an additional 11 URLs, or 1.37%: these were, variously, "under
construction," "unable to open," or "cannot connect" errors.
These results are at the 95% confidence level, with a 1.84 confidence
The CyberPatrol software worked correctly for 97% the 3,733 URLs it
In my opinion and following a close review of each site, the incorrectly
filtered URLs were:
multimedia.lycos.com (appeared in three sampled entries)
www.rageboy.com (appeared in two sampled entries)
Each of these sites has been added to an override list that the Tacoma
Public Library runs with CyberPatrol.
And, as I've said before, when a user encounters a CyberPatrol-flagged URL,
Webfoot provides an option to reconnect to the site with the images removed
from the page. All text on the page is delivered and no site is blocked.
Manager, Main Library
Tacoma Public Library
1102 Tacoma Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98402
my thoughts and opinions only **
14. Friibergh WS statement with core Qs (fwd)
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 23:31:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Bob Chen <bchen[at]ciesin.org
Reply to: tfoe[at]listhost.ciesin.org
Thought you might be interested in this! Cheers, Bob.
Dr. Robert S. Chen
Deputy Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network
(CIESIN), Columbia University
Manager, Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)
P.O. Box 1000, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964 USA
tel. 845-365-8952; fax 845-365-8922
(note: area code 914 will work until 4 December 2000)
e-mail: bob.chen[at]ciesin.org or bob.chen[at]ciesin.columbia.edu
CIESIN World Wide Web site: http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu
SEDAC World Wide Web site: http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.eduSustainability Science Statement of the Friibergh Workshop on Sustainability Science Friibergh, Sweden 11 - 14 October 2000
The world's present development path is not sustainable. Efforts to meet
the needs of a growing population in a globalizing, unequal and
human-dominated world will continue to exert unsustainable pressures on the
Earth's essential life-support systems. Worrying interactions among
climate change, loss of biological diversity, increasing poverty and
disease, and growing inequality combine to increase the vulnerability of
humans and nature. Meeting fundamental human needs while preserving the
life-support systems of Earth will require a worldwide acceleration of
today's halting progress in a transition toward sustainability. A response
as to how this transition might be achieved has begun to emerge in recent
reports of national and international scientific organizations, as well as
from independent networks of activists and scientists.
To take these ideas further, two dozen scientists, drawn from the natural
and social sciences and from across the world, convened at Sweden's
Friibergh Manor in October 2000. Participants concluded that promoting the
goal of sustainability requires the emergence and conduct of the new field
of sustainability science.
Sustainability science seeks to improve on the substantial but still
limited understanding of nature-society interactions gained in recent
decades. This has been achieved through work in the environmental sciences
estimating and evaluating human impacts, and evidence from social and
development studies that takes into account environmental influences on
human well-being. What is urgently needed now is a better general
understanding of the complex dynamic interactions between society and
nature so that the alarming trend towards increasing vulnerability is
reversed. This will require major advances in our ability to analyze and
predict the behavior of complex self-organizing systems, characterize the
irreversible impacts of interacting stresses, interpret multiple scales of
organization, and assess the roles of various social actors with divergent
expectations. Much contemporary experience points to the need to address
these issues through integrated scientific efforts focused on the social
and ecological characteristics of particular places or regions. The
workshop formulated an initial set of core questions that examines the
combinational character of nature-society interactions, our ability to
guide those interactions along more sustainable trajectories, and ways to
promote and implement the social learning that will be essential to the
navigation of a transition to sustainability.
Core Questions of Sustainability Science
- How can the dynamical interactions between nature and society ?
including lags and inertia -- be better incorporated in emerging models
and conceptualizations that integrate the earth system, human
development, and sustainability?
- How are long-term trends in environment and development, including
consumption and population, reshaping nature-society interactions in
ways relevant to sustainability?
- What determines the vulnerability/resilience of nature-society
interactions for particular places and for particular types of
ecosystems and human livelihoods?
- Can scientifically meaningful "limits" or "boundaries" be defined that
would provide effective warning of conditions beyond which the
nature-society systems incur a significantly increased risk of serious
- What systems of incentive structures ? including markets, rules, norms
and scientific information ? can most effectively improve social
capacity to guide interactions between nature and society toward more
- How can today's operational systems for monitoring and reporting on
environmental and social conditions be integrated or extended to
provide more useful guidance for efforts to navigate a transition
- How can today's relatively independent activities of research planning,
monitoring, assessment, and decision support be better-integrated into
systems for adaptive management and societal learning?
By structure, method, and content, sustainability science must differ
fundamentally from most science as we know it. Familiar approaches to
developing and testing hypotheses are inadequate because of non-linearity,
complexity, and long time lags between actions and their consequences.
Additional complications arise from the recognition that humans cannot
stand outside the nature-society system. The common sequential analytical
phases of scientific inquiry such as conceptualizing the problem,
collecting data, developing theories and applying the results will become
parallel functions of social learning, which incorporate the elements of
action, adaptive management and policy as experiment. Sustainability
science will therefore need to employ new methodologies that generate the
semi-quantitative models of qualitative data, build upon lessons from case
studies, and extract inverse approaches that work backwards from
undesirable consequences to identify pathways that can avoid such outcomes.
Scientists and practitioners will need to work together with the public at
large to produce trustworthy knowledge and judgement that is scientifically
sound and rooted in social understanding.
Furthermore sustainability science will learn to work with all manner of
social groups to recognize how they come to gain knowledge, establish
certainty of outlooks, and adjust their perceptions as they relate to each
other's needs. This in turn will require sustainability science to sense
better how governments are responding, how democracies are improving and
how citizens generally act to play out the sustainability transition.
Meeting the challenge of sustainability science will also require new
styles of institutional organization to foster and support
inter-disciplinary research over the long term; to build capacity for such
research, especially in developing countries; and to integrate such
research in coherent systems of research planning, assessment and decision
support. We need to be able to involve scientists, practitioners, and
citizens in setting priorities, creating new knowledge, evaluating its
possible consequences, and testing it in action. This will require
integration of this new active knowledge in particular locations and
cultural settings through broader networks of research and monitoring.
In the coming years, the emerging field of sustainability science will need
to move forward along several pathways if it is to prove successful. There
will be wide discussion within scientific communities, North and South, of
the approach, its key questions, methods of inquiry, and institutional
needs. There should be an effort to reconnect science to the many
political efforts for promoting sustainable development. One benchmark is
the forthcoming "Rio + 10" Conference that will review developments in
science over the decade since the UN Conference on Environment and
Development. And across the continents, in groups small and large,
research relating to sustainability science is under way and accelerating.
This research can be connected and enhanced, and it can transform itself
into the core of an effective new field.
Note: Participants at the Workshop were B. Bolin, W. Clark, R. Corell, N.
Dickson, S. Faucheux, G. Gallopin, A.Gruebler, M. Hall, B. Huntley, J.
Jager, C. Jaeger, N, Jodha, R. Kasperson, R. Kates, I. Lowe, A. Mabogunje,
P. Matson, J. McCarthy, H. Mooney, B. Moore, T. O'Riordan, J. Schellnhuber,
U. Svedin. A report on the Workshop, together with updates on a larger
follow up meeting to be held a year hence in the Southern Hemisphere, will
be posted on http://sustainabilityscience.org.
tfoe[at]listhost.ciesin.org : Use this address for postings and replies -
Email text body 'unsubscribe <listname' to: majordomo[at]listhost.ciesin.org
15. Dewey, Dewey and Dewey
suggestion for Library Juice
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 15:50:18 -0500
From: Garrett Eastman <eastman[at]rowland.org>
In the latest issue of New York Review of Books, there's a review of
John Ashbery's "Your Name Here" by Charles Simic. A poem quoted in
the review, "Memories of Imperialism, " " conflates the histories of
Admiral George Dewey,
philosopher John Dewey, and Melvil Dewey," but because of the
library references, it seemed like something Library Juice readers
might enjoy. Anyway, the poem appears on the web page
The review starts at:
The home page for the New York Review is:
I enjoy reading your site. Keep up the great work. Thank you very much.
Rowland Institute for Science
100 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02142
617-497-4627 (fax) eastman[at]rowland.org
16. International Orienteering Federation (IOF)
"Competitive orienteering involves using a detailed map
and a compass to navigate one's way round a course with
designated control points which are drawn on the map."
This site provides information on orienteering on skis, on
foot, on mountain bike and also covers trail map reading
in natural terrain. A calendar of international events,
with links to other sites and National Federations make
this a good site for beginners and experienced
participants. - de
>From Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org
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