Are we losing it? Thoughts on “Digital Records Dilemma”

June 17, 2013 • Written by

In the June 15th Winnipeg Free Press, it was discussed ( that some government emails are irreversibly deleted. Keeping digital records is important because they provide evidence of how government conducts its business.

Good recordkeeping requires a lot more effort than just ensuring crucial records are not deleted, whether intentionally or not. Essentially, digital records need to be maintained so that they can be accessible and usable over time. Physical artifacts may exist for thousands of years, and paper records could stay for decades, but digital records do not have such robustness. Digital carriers have short longevity, both media and file format obsolete in fast fashion (see Chamber of Horrors), digital data is vulnerable to damage (see Atlas of Digital Damages), can be altered with great ease, all of which could render digital files unreadable in a few years. Stated simply, digital records won’t survive benign neglect.

One might think about printing out and keeping paper records instead. This is definitely not an ideal solution—the benefit of digital format such as links, searchability, and certain functionalities will be lost. Digital records need to be refreshed and migrated on an on-going base. Till today, migration is the most commonly used digital preservation method followed by emulation. Neither of them is straightforward and can be costly. For example, when files are transferred to a different format, errors could be introduced. When it comes to proprietary software, when the vendor is out of the market, support is likely to be discontinued.

Digital preservation is at its infancy. Strategies and methodologies are yet to be developed! One thing is certain–we need to consciously and actively maintain our digital records to avoid leaving a black hole in our society’s collective memory.

Luck, Opportunity, and the New Graduate: Videos to Help the Job Search

June 11, 2013 • Written by

No more classes.  No more assignments.  As caps and gowns swish across the stage during convocation, a new phase begins for Red River graduates:

 Finding a job

The 2011/2012 Graduate Satisfaction and Employment report states 68% of Red River graduates found employment in their field.  How do they do it?  Most programs have classes in career writing. From students needing extra pointers to staff needing more resources to teach job hunting skills, Cambridge Educational offers a series of videos entitled The Complete Job Search System. While Media Services does have hard copies on DVD of the titles, last year the library website featured links to the web streaming editions of these same titles.  It connected with RRC job seekers as they were accessed over 40 times compared to other links on the website.  All it takes is a little time perhaps with a username and password.

Below are the titles in The Complete Job Search System series, each linked to their record in the library catalogue:

Career Evaluation VideoEvaluating different careers
HF 5382.7 .E93 2007
Location: A/V stacks and On Demand

Finding a job
HF 5382.7 .F56 2007
Location:  A/V stacks and On Demand

Interviewing for a Job
HF 5382.7 .I58 2007
Location:  A/V stacks and On Demand

Right Job for your personality
HF 5382.7 .R54 2007
Location:  A/V stacks and On Demand

Succeeding on the job
HF 5386 .S828 2007
Location:  A/V stacks and On Demand

While videos and instructors teach the skills to seek and land a job, each graduate comes equipped with traits like patience, persistence, and perseverance.    In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey,” ‘if you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been ‘lucky’.”

It’s now or Naxos!

June 5, 2013 • Written by

notesWith the Winnipeg Jazz Festival right around the corner (and down the street) from June 13 -23rd why not get in some early jazz listening.

Check out the Naxos Music Library – Jazz available on the Library’s website.

Thousands of tracks of jazz from over 2,300 albums.  Search by artist, genre and composer. Simply log in to the Naxos Jazz website and search for your favourite jazz artist or jazz track. Create your own playlists.

How to get there:

  1. Go to the Library’s website.
  2. Go to Article and Databases – Alphabetical – Naxos Music Library – Jazz.
  3. Log in with your College username and password.

More music can be found in the Naxos Music Library – the world´s largest online classical music library with over 85,000 discs and 1.2 million tracks.

In the meantime, check out Jazz Festival Headliner, George Benson’s “Breezin’” track:


What’s Happening at the CLA?

May 31, 2013 • Written by

The Canadian Libraries Association annual conference is being held in Winnipeg this week. Red River College is well represented as several staff members are attending, taking advantage of the proximity of this years conference.

The annual CLA conference draws participants from public, college and university, special and school libraries, as well as commercial participants. It is an important and well attended conference.

So, what was discussed?

A DRM “Brave New World”

Cory Doctorow - Opening keynote speaker CLA 2013 Winnipeg

Cory Doctorow – Opening keynote speaker CLA 2013 Winnipeg

On Thursday 30 May 13, the keynote speaker was the well-known science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist Cory Doctorow.

As well as being the the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing ( he is also a regular contributor to The Guardian, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and Wired. He is an activist in favour of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization. In fact, he publishes much of his work under a creative-commons licence.

In his keynote address Doctorow spoke about DRM and how it is affecting our privacy and freedoms. For example, he described how DRM software can be used to take over our computers with hidden files and even introduce spyware.

One of his messages to the Librarians in the room was to avoid purchasing materials with DRM, and essentially join him in his advocacy against DRM.

At one point he made reference to the monetizing of smart phone tracking data, something government agencies usually regard as a harmless act, downplaying the tracking data as benign information. Doctorow’s opinion, in contrast, “there is a very fine and philosophical line between data and metadata.”

Doctorow spoke of the fact that our society should be moving towards greater transparency and digital freedom. However, as Doctorow pointed out, we actually seem to be moving closer to a darker age where governments and corporations can reduce our privacy at will, even going as far as turning on our digital cameras for the purpose of spying on us.

It was an wonderful presentation. Doctorow proved to be engaging and his topics were thought-provoking and extremely timely, as he astutely pointed out, our copyright legislations are currently under large scale review.

McLuhan, Books & Libraries: An Old Figure in a New Ground

Dr. Robert K. Logan from the University of Toronto presented several recollections of conversations with McLuhan. As a past colleague of McLuhan his knowledge of the man seemed peerless.

As well, doing his best to channel McLuhan, Dr. Logan described how he is endeavouring to answer several burning questions about the future of libraries in an effort to write a new book about the subject.

FrankenLibraries: The Latest Tech Trends

Presented by Stephen Abram, a veteran library watcher, strategic technologist and library futurist, the topic centred on services libraries should be adopting for present and future relevance.

One of the first slides in Abrams presentation was “It’s simple really, shift happens, gedoverit (sic)”. This terse statement summed up the topic very well.

One of the important points of the presentation was how libraries need to measure impact rather than just circulation statistics. In fact, the number of people passing through the library doors should be a powerful indicator of success, while dwindling circulation statistics should be considered to be less indicative.

As well, libraries need to focus on professional services and strategic alignment. Librarians need to be service professionals and not servants, and educators not supplements. He pointed out that Librarians are powerful agents for successful learning and they should be seen as such.

Lastly, Abrams stressed the power of video resources. He pointed out that humans are visual learners and they will learn better through video rather than print.

Stephen Abram’s Blog:

Winnipeg Hosts CLA 2013 National Conference and Trade Show

May 29, 2013 • Written by

A National Library Event

Library staff from Red River College Library are geared up for the CLA 2013 National Conference and Trade Show taking place May 29 – June 1, 2013. Thousands of library professionals from Canada and the U.S. will gather at the Winnipeg Convention Centre to network and to learn about the latest trends and developments in the world of libraries.

Introducing the CLA 2013 Conference Keynote Speakers…

photo by Jonathan Worth (, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

photo by Jonathan Worth (, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Cory Doctorow 
( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of the bestselling Tor Teen/HarperCollins UK novel LITTLE BROTHER. His latest young adult novel is HOMELAND, his latest novel for adults is RAPTURE OF THE NERDS.


photo by Joi [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

photo by Joi [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Rebecca MacKinnon
is a leading voice on issues of privacy, free expression and governance in the digital networks, platforms and services. She is Senior Research Fellow at the (New America Foundation), is involved with Ranking Digital Rights, and co-founder of Global Voices Online, a global citizen media network. Her book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom was published in 2012 and received the 2013 Goldsmith Book Prize.



Whatcha doin’ Marshall McLuhan?

May 28, 2013 • Written by

CLA Conference display and session feature this “Winnipeg Boy who made Good”

Marshall McLuhan is one of the topics of the upcoming CLA Conference to be held in Winnipeg.  (Photo published under Creative Commons license through Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-165118 and under the MIKAN ID number 4170003)

Marshall McLuhan reflected in a mirror. McLuhan is one of the topics of the upcoming CLA Conference to be held in Winnipeg. (Photo published under Creative Commons license through Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-165118 and under the MIKAN ID number 4170003)

Remember Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In (originally broadcast on NBC 1968-1973)? Cast member Goldie Hawn asked “Whatcha doin’ Marshall McLuhan?” during his heyday. So who was McLuhan and what’s he doin’ back in Winnipeg?

Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. Born in Edmonton, raised in Winnipeg, he graduated from the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University, became a devout Catholic, a beloved professor of English literature and founding Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. He’s known for his prophetic poetry, satiric observations, and explorations (“probes”) into the effects of communications media on society. His most famous aphorism “The medium is the message” and percept of “the global village” are integral parts of the English language.

The Marshall McLuhan Initiative at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba is convening a Canadian Library Association (CLA) Conference session called “McLuhan, Books & Libraries: an Old Figure in a New Ground” from 1-2 p.m. on Thurs., May 30/13 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. It will be given by McLuhan friend and collaborator Dr. Robert (“Bob”) K. Logan, Chief Scientist, Ontario College of Art & Design and Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Toronto. As this session description states, “McLuhan … had some interesting, useful and even infuriating things to say about books and libraries [e.g. “The book is obsolete”]. Ironically, these ideas have not yet been published, but exist as a manuscript co-authored by Bob Logan. Join Logan as he provides a tantalizing, humorous and poignant insider’s look into McLuhan and his ideas.”

For the CLA Conference, the McLuhan Initiative is also curating a Winnipeg-focused McLuhan display at the Elizabeth Dafoe Library entitled, “Marshall McLuhan: a Winnipeg boy who made good“. This title is inspired by McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand, author of the first full-length McLuhan biography, Marshall McLuhan: the Medium and the Messenger (1989) who inscribed two copies of his book for the Director of the Initiative with this quote.

mcluhan2Red River College Library holds many works by and about McLuhan, such as:

To probe McLuhan further, try:

“You don’t like those ideas? I got others.” – Marshall McLuhan

No Garden? No Problem: Gardening with Containers

May 22, 2013 • Written by

Container gardening! Do you live in a condo or apartment, or do you have a small yard? Do you want a no-fuss option for your gardening needs? If you answered yes, you should know that RRC Library is the source for ideas and inspiration on container gardening. See below for a hand-picked selection of relevant books (click on the covers for more information).

The encyclopedia of container plants : more than 500 outstanding choices for gardeners

The encyclopedia of container plants : more than 500 outstanding choices for gardeners

Succulent container gardens : design eye-catching displays with 350 easy-care plants

Succulent container gardens : design eye-catching displays with 350 easy-care plants











Quick and easy container gardening : 20 step-by-step projects and inspirational ideas

Quick and easy container gardening : 20 step-by-step projects and inspirational ideas

Gardening in containers : creative ideas from America's best gardeners

Gardening in containers : creative ideas from America’s best gardeners











RRC Library houses some of the finest books on gardening and landscaping. These were thoughtfully chosen to support RRC’s Greenspace Management and Greenspace Horticulture programs–a great value for all RRC Library patrons to enjoy. Come visit the Library today!

It Gets Better

May 15, 2013 • Written by
Check out some of these items that are currently on display in the Notre Dame Campus window display

Check out some of the items that are currently on display in the Notre Dame Campus window display

Please join the Red River College Library in a respectful observation of May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia.

May 17 is symbolic due to its significance in the improvement of the status of gays and lesbians. In removing homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on a May 17, the World Health Organisation put an end to over a century of homophobia in the medical field.

Homophobia is all the negative attitudes that can lead to rejection and to direct or indirect discrimination towards gay men, lesbians, and bisexual, transsexual or transgender people or toward anyone whose physical appearance or behaviour does not fit masculine or feminine stereotypes.

The theme of the International Day Against Homophobia 2013 campaign is “Fight the Homophobia Web Virus”.  For more information visit

Also, keep in mind that the The Pride Winnipeg Festival is coming up soon.  “Pride Week” is a multi-day celebration with many events for all segments of the LGBTT* community, all leading up to the main PRIDE DAY celebrations which will occur on Sunday June 2, 2013.

Do you want to learn more?  The RRC Library has many LGBTT* themed items in its collection. Check out some of the items that are currently on display in the Notre Dame Campus window display.

RRC Library Media/Circulation Clerk Receives Prestigious Award

May 13, 2013 • Written by
Bruce Locken, the MALT “Library Support Worker of the Year” 2013

Bruce Locken, the MALT “Library Support Worker of the Year” 2013

The Manitoba Association of Library Technicians (MALT) has recently awarded Bruce Locken (Library Media/Circulation Clerk)  the “Library Support Worker of the Year” award for 2013.

The intent of the award is to recognize a library support staff member who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement or leadership in their library, or in the library community at a local, regional, provincial or national level.

Bruce, who has served RRC for 25 years at both the Exchange District Campus and the Notre Dame Campus was recognized for his excellence in custom service, efficiency, cheerfulness and  his sense of humour.  Over the years he has developed excellent working relationships with faculty and staff who have come to rely on him for their frequent media bookings and to provide assistance by troubleshooting equipment problems in classrooms .

Aside from his regular duties as Media/Circulation Clerk, you may have also have spotted Bruce in a daffodil hat and vest, and selling bunches of daffodils in support of the March “Daffodil Days” fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.    Library Staff are also more than familiar with Bruce’s efforts to coordinate one or more of the RRC Library Christmas Cheer Board hampers each year .

We all feel that it is a privilege to work with Bruce, and we’d like to congratulate him.  He is a very worthy recipient of the MALT Library Support Staff of the Year award!

Food Heaven!

May 9, 2013 • Written by

I took a little browse through the TX section at the Exchange District Campus Library and became enraptured with food-related inspiration from around the globe! The books here offer tantalizing photos, recipes, cooking and baking techniques, information on meal presentation, and even delve into beer-brewing in Canada (Great Canadian Beer Book). Check out some of my finds below — just a small taste of RRC Library’s glorious culinary collection. Trust me, the covers don’t do these books justice.

Seven Sumptuous Finds

Under pressure : cooking sous vide

TX 690.7 .U47 2008




Come in, We’re closed : an invitat
ion to staff meals at the world’s best restaurants
TX 725 .A1 C343 2012



Definitive Canadian wine & cheese cookbook

TX 759.5 .C48 P74 2007




Bread : a baker’s book of techniques and recipes

TX 769 .H235 2004




Art of royal icing

TX 771 .S64 2010




Culinary tea : more than 150 recipes steeped in tradition from around the world

TX 817 .T3 G65 2010




TX 819 .A1 R68 2009

TX section explained

The “TX” section is where culinary arts resources are located, beginning at TX 341. TX is the first part of the call number, which serves to keep all of the books about that broad subject together on the shelves. This is incredibly helpful when you want to browse a topic of interest.

Browse in person or online!

Why not browse the shelves yourself?  If you can’t browse in person, you can always surf the Library’s holdings online via the Library Catalogue.

Further Food for Thought…Culinary Periodicals

Did you know about the Library’s selection of culinary periodicals? The Library offers a comfy sitting area for you to sit and enjoy a relaxing read. Or if you prefer, back issues may be borrowed by any patron with a valid Library card.

Here is our latest addition to the culinary periodical collection:

Anna magazine