Votes For Women! #Suffrage100

100 years ago today Westminster finally passed an Act giving  women over 30 (who owned property) the right to vote.  As an information geek, I’m celebrating the day with a (very) short list of data sources on the Women’s Suffrage Movement…
Suffragettes umbrella stand, Glasgow Women's Library

An umbrella stand painted by Suffragettes in Glasgow’s Duke Street Prison, at the Glasgow Women’s Library

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Too Much Information by Firefox and HitRecord

Inquiry into fake news: the CILIP ILG response

The CILIP Information Literacy Group’s response to UK government inquiry into fake news:

In January 2017, the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport launched an inquiry into fake news. As is usual with such inquiries, the Committee invited submissions from interested parties, prior to compiling a report – which we hope will be published later in the year.

CILIP Information Literacy GroupThe CILIP Information Literacy Group, in collaboration with InformAll, submitted a response in March. Not only is this inquiry timely, but it is directly relevant to information literacy. Indeed, one of the questions posed by the Committee in its call for submissions was ‘How can we educate people in how to assess and use different sources of news?’.InformAll

In April, the Committee published our response (the list of the nearly eighty submissions made by a range of other bodies and individuals is also available here. Amongst the other respondents are Google, Facebook, the Guardian, the BBC, Research Libraries UK and the Open University).

These are the highlights of some of the key points that we raised in our submission:

  • Much of the current debate in this area is articulated around what Google, Facebook and others do to limit the spread of fake news, for instance through changes in their algorithms.  But although these often technological approaches are undoubtedly important, they fail to address the place and responsibility of users as consumers, creators and sharers of information. So the question we are posing is how people’s fundamental beliefs and commitments have an impact on the way that they relate to information and news; and what might be done to help them become more judicious in their approach to information and mis-information. This is where information literacy comes in.
  • In confronting fake news and misinformation, the search for evidence – founded on enquiry, questioning and research – is more relevant than the notion of truth. Truth is a subjective concept, and is not a helpful term when trying to address the challenge of fake news; it follows that the expression ‘post-truth’ is equally unhelpful.
  • A major part of any solution is a greater emphasis on the teaching of critical thinking, associated with information and digital literacy, in secondary schools – something that does not currently feature prominently in the curriculum. School students’ attitudes and practices towards information are often sorely lacking, but there is evidence to suggest a more discerning mindset can be fostered, given the right sort of interventions.
  • By and large, public policy in the UK does not properly address information literacy, and the recently-published UK Digital Strategy, in spite of its thinking on digital skills, conspicuously fails to touch on how to foster more critical and questioning approaches to online information.
  • Psychology can go a long way to explaining people’s propensity to believe fake news, and people’s powerful attachments to what they believe to be true can breed attitudes that are very resistant to evidence and facts. Cognitive factors are important in determining attitudes to information.

We recommend keeping an eye on the Select Committee’s webpages to monitor progress with their inquiry.

Source: Inquiry into fake news: the CILIP ILG response

Total number of female MPs ever elected finally matches current male number

The total number of female MPs ever elected finally matches the current male number –  and it only took 97 years! (not counting all the years women couldn’t even stand!!!). Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long again before achieving full parity.

SWOP Forum

191 women were elected as MPs in 2015 bringing the total to 455 female MPs since 1918. The same as the current number of male MPs.

Click the link below for the full article.

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Better World Books Literacy Grants for Non-profits 2016

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When you purchase books from Better World Books, a portion of the funds from the sale benefit various literacy programs including Better World Books Literacy Grants. Each year Better World Books invites libraries and nonprofit organizations to apply for funds to support their efforts to further literacy in their communities. The Better World Books Literacy Council reviews the submitted projects and selects library winners and nonprofit finalists. Nonprofit finalists are then put to a public vote. Three nonprofit grant winners will be selected by vote and two will be selected by the Better World Books Literacy Council. As a Founding B Corporation, Better World Books has raised over £18 million to date for literacy causes worldwide.

The vote is open to the public at www.betterworldbooks.co.uk/go/grants-2016-vote from now through Sept. 16, 2016 at 5 p.m. BST. Voters may vote once every 24 hours.

Opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union on e-lending

From the EBLIDA Newsletter  July/August 2016 (the emphases are my own):

On 16 June, CJEU issued a Press Release of the Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-174/15 Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken v Stichting Leenrecht on the question about whether the lending of e-book could apply under the lending directive of 2006.   The press release highlights that “(…) Advocate General Maciej Szpunar takes the view that the making available to the public, for a limited period of time, of electronic books by public libraries may indeed come within the scope of the directive on rental and lending rights.” Read more

A little more about online privacy

I’ve been reading a UKeiG white paper – ‘The Internet of Things’ by Martin De Saulles – and, in light of the privacy workshop I recently attended, the following paragraphs jumped out at me somewhat…

Google’s success is built on the aggregation of billions of data points about our search habits which it sells on to advertisers. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, on the 8 April 2016 had a stock market valuation of $522 billion. Approximately 90% of the company’s revenues are derived from advertising showing how the “data exhaust” of something as innocuous as web searching can be monetized when it is collected at scale.

The importance of scale as a value-adding factor for data sets can also be seen with another Google product, Google Maps. At a basic level, Google Maps operates like any other satellite navigation system by linking map data with the GPS coordinates of the user. However, by combining internet connectivity with the movements of the more than 1.5 billion users of its mobile operating system, Android has added a new layer of value. By tracking the movements of Android phones users, Google is able to provide real-time traffic updates to its Map’s users showing where delays are on the roads ahead and offering re-routing advice to optimize journey times

The move into building data services alongside more traditional product ranges is exemplified by the US sportswear company, Under Armour. In 2015, Under Armour bought two fitness tracking app companies, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo for more than $500 million . These acquisitions gave the company access to the health and fitness data of approximately 120 million users across Europe and the US. While the user bases of these apps provide obvious marketing opportunities for a sportswear company it is the aggregation of the data which monitors the health status of millions of amateur athletes along with their dietary habits which may offer the real value.

Et tu, MyFitnessPal?

The full paper can be viewed here