2016 Waterloo Region CMA Population Density by Census Tract map now live


2016 Waterloo Region Population Density

A Wednesday morning FYI for you:  I’ve now posted a map detailing Waterloo Region CMA’s population density in 2016 by census tract.  I went back to my old ways and developed the map with QGIS and then exported it into leaflet.js, which basically means that it’s super fast.  Tableau’s maps are very easy to develop, but their usability isn’t ideal.

Take a gander at the map here…

The Shortsighted Closure of 54 Public Library Locations in Newfoundland

Here are some quick thoughts on today’s announcement that the Province of Newfoundland will close 54 public libraries, leaving the system with only 41 locations. It’s a travesty for a province’s educational, literacy, and information access goals, regardless of its fiscal crisis. You can follow the public fallout of this poorly conceived plan by following the #nlpublib hashtag.


One thing that really bothered me in this announcement is the consolation that the Newfoundland Library Chair, Calvin Taylor, tried to make. What follows is a statement that tries to focus on the positive in a very bad situation, but what it does is pinpoint how awful and shortsighted this action is.  The CBC reports that:

[Taylor] said 85 per cent of residents in the province should be within a 30-minute drive of a remaining branch — which will be open a minimum of 30 hours a week — and available to people in a service area where they go for groceries or to do their banking.

This argument is incredibly shortsighted. It presumes that all library users have vehicles or are able to drive, or even have access meaningful public transit. But that doesn’t begin to describe the makeup of our contemporary towns, cities, and communities. Even in rural and remote communities, the poor, the young, and the elderly often don’t have access to a car, and these three groups often represent a very, very large percentage of a library’s users.

If a library is open for only a paltry 30 hours a week (and likely mostly during afternoon weekday hours) but only a few can make their way to its doors, will anyone care?

The CBC article also mentioned that Newfoundland has some of the lowest literacy scores in Canada.  I can’t speak to that since literacy is not my field, but certainly closing so many access points to free learning, educational, and cultural resources cannot improve such a rate.

If you live in Newfoundland and Labrador, then you should contact your MHA and your local councillors immediately to make a protest because time is of the issue in situations like this. If you live outside of Newfoundland, like I do, then you can still lend a hand by raising a flag and making the situation known.  The closure of so many library locations is an unacceptable policy decision and unacceptable cost-cutting measure than can kneecap a generation.

Required Reading, 9 January 2014


Required Reading:

  • Joyce, R. (ed.) (2013) : Research Data Management: Practical Strategies for Information Professionals
    • “This volume provides a framework to guide information professionals in academic libraries, presses, and data centers through the process of managing research data from the planning stages through the life of a grant project and beyond. It illustrates principles of good practice with use-case examples and illuminates promising data service models through case studies of innovative, successful projects and collaborations.”
  • Vines, T.H., et al. (2013) : The Availability of Research Data Declines Rapidly with Article Age
    • This link truly is required reading.  Vines et al. conduct a statistical analysis that shows the persistent decline in the availability of and access to research data as well as the lowered chances of finding a working PI e-mail address) over time in scholarly literature. This is the proof you can give to doubting Thomases about the need for proper research data management and digital preservation principles.
    • “Our results reinforce the notion that, in the long term, research data cannot be reliably preserved by individual researchers, and further demonstrate the urgent need for policies mandating data sharing via public archives.”
    • [Mendeley link]

Required Reading, 8 January 2014


Required Reading:

  • OCLC : Starting the Conversation: University-wide Research Data Management Policy
    • A call for action that summarizes the benefits of systemic data management planning and identifies the stakeholders and their concerns. It suggests that the library director proactively initiate a conversation among these stakeholders to get buy-in for a high-level, responsible data planning and management policy that is proactive, rather than reactive. It also addresses the various topics that should be discussed and provides a checklist of issues to help the discussion result in a supportable and sustainable policy.”
  • Chronicle : Born Digital, Projects Need Attention to Survive
    • “A team . . . often based in academic libraries or digital-scholarship centers-has to conduct regular inspections and make sure that today’s digital scholarship doesn’t become tomorrow’s digital junk.
      . . .
      Mr. Daigle advises scholars who want to pursue digital-humanities work to consult with their librarians and put long-term archiving strategies in place early on. ‘Think about the life cycle of preservation,” he says. “The more you do that, the longer it’s going to be around, and that is time well spent.'”
  • The Tyee : What’s Driving Chaotic Dismantling of Canada’s Science Libraries?
    • On the ongoing dismantling of government research libraries in Canada
    • “I saw a private consultant firm working for Manitoba Hydro back up a truck and fill it with Manitoba data and materials that the public had paid for. I was profoundly saddened and appalled.”

A Political Note: Why I believe Brian Topp should not be the leader of the NDP

Why I believe Brian Topp should not be the leader of the NDP.

(Cross-posted to Google+ and to Facebook.)

1. I’m wary of anyone with no legislative experience running for the leadership of a political party. The House requires a very demanding, public lifestyle that isn’t suitable for everyone. I’m not saying that Topp doesn’t fit the type. I am saying that an Official Opposition, just like a Government, should not take on an untested legislator as their leader. It’s foolhardy to do so.

2.  I’m a little offended by the way that Brian Topp talks about wanting to continue Jack Layton’s legacy. All the candidates will want to carry on Layton’s legacy. But what makes things so troublesome regarding Topp is the way that he makes it sound like he is Jack Layton Redux. If Brian wasn’t in the room when Jack Layton thought of any great idea being considered, then it seems like he’s trying to own a policy or platform as his very own when it was either Layton’s or the NDP’s as whole. Topp shouldn’t try to win the leadership by running on our collective memories of Jack Layton – he should try to win the leadership by presenting his own unique case for the leadership.

The first point is a political matter that shows why it makes sense for me, and other concerned NDPers, to vote for some one other than Topp. The second point is a matter of character that resonates with me negatively, which pretty much confirms that my vote will move in a different direction.


One more thing regarding Point no 2.: So long as Topp presents himself as Layton 2.0, there will be nothing unique or individual about his campaign, his motivations for the leadership, or his actual abilities to lead. It’s hard to differentiate his platform right now from the current NDP brand, i.e., I can’t look at Topp and figure out his vision for the future of the party since his vision for the future *is* the party line. You may think this is a good thing since it suggests that his principles are aligned with the party, but I see it as a weakness since it means that his principles are also all of his competitors’ principles. There is little there that actually sets him apart from the rest of the pack. I want love and hope and optimism, but I also want to see fresh ideas that will move forward our party and the values for which it stands.