On Wednesday night, Cory Doctorow gave a talk at the opening session of OLA. Corey Doctorow, a one-time page at a North York Public Library branch is an activist, blogger, and science fiction writer. His main concern is free access to information and he lobbies against strigent licensing or copyright protections. His blog, BoingBoing, is considered one of the hottest cultural sites on the web.
Advances in information technology has meant increasing storage capacities, increasing search capabilities, and a culture of collobaration. Many problems are now solved, and all human knowledge should soon be accessible to all people. I’m a little skeptical of his point that search is now solved and Google has allowed the web to largely catalog itself. The fact he presented that he now has more clicks he would want to click on then would be allowable in his life span is something that I don’t quite think amounts to the web (or all human knowledge for that matter) to be fully organized to its true potential. Some of the givens he presented– you will soon have memory sticks capable of holding all human knowledge essentially equivalent to toys provided with McHappy Meals– are ones that I don’t think capture the complexity of the issues involved or the fact that new problems will arise to replace old ones.
Still Cory Doctorow argued persuasively that restrictions on access to information (whether through trade rules, digital rights management, or excessive copyright or licensing restrictions) should be vigorously monitored if not fought.
Prior to Cory Doctorow’s presentation, the founders of the Education Institute, the learning program of The Partnership, the national network of provincial and territorial library associations, were presented with an award. Most of the people present were presidents or vice-presidents of their respective provincial or territorial library association.