Information for Social Change
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Information for Social Change (ISC) is an international, volunteer-based association, whose primary mission is to debate and comment on issues of social justice, censorship, freedom and ethics in the library and information field. Information for Social Change can be described as an activist organization of library and information professionals. An important aspect of the mission is for members to debate and challenge dominant paradigms or perspectives in the library and information sector. The scope of Information for Social Change is not, however, limited to the traditional library sector, but encompasses a broad spectrum of issues impacting access to information, information literacy and the wider role of information users in society. Information for Social Change hosts conferences and collaborates with a range of literacy activists groups. ISC self-publishes their scholarly journal, ISC journal which is published (twice a year) online. Their webpage is (http://www.libr.org/isc ), and the international standard serial number for the ISC journal is: 1364-694X (print) | 1756-901X (online). Information for Social Change is partnered with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
Mission, aims and objectives
Information for Social Change is committed to promoting alternatives to the dominant paradigms of library and information work. The aims of ISC include:
- To address issues of freedom of information and censorship as they affect library and information work.
- To promote alternatives to mainstream library and information provision.
- To provide a forum for the exchange of radical views on library and information issues.
- To debate ethics and freedom within the library and information professions.
- To challenge the dominant paradigms of library and information work.
Information for Social Change has a primary focus on the Information and Library sector and associated areas of activity, including - but not limited to: Public and general library service provision in the social context, specialist library provision (such as postgraduate or medical libraries), special collections, historical archives and museums (in the context of access to information as an historical testimonial), volunteer and independent librarianship, informal lending and information sharing networks, digital information sources and the Internet and World Wide Web as a medium for open exchange of information, education and communication. Information for Social Change also focuses on trends in the use of information and how it is accessed, e.g. the trend towards digital and online information, the emergence of the Information Worker in the labour economy and economic aspects of Information such as Copyright, Patents and traditional knowledge in the developing world.
ISC has contributors and Editorial Board members from a wide range of countries and regions. Information for Social Change aims to reflect the wider information context without boundaries, including regular coverage of the World Social Forum in Nairobi and correspondence with activists across a range of national groups and organisations.
Political and theoretical context
Information for Social Change aspires to reflect a variety of perspectives, ideologies and polemic views whilst maintaining a reflective approach to debating and understanding the library and information sector and related areas. ISC does not espouse any single ideological perspective, however, through its stated aims and objectives, ISC aspires to reflect on issues of social justice, freedom of expression in the arts, mass media and free press, access to information and other issues impacting the social context for users of information. Previous issues of ISC have focused on educational issues, gender issues, the newspaper industry, Globalisation issues and Social Exclusion.
Areas of interest
Information for Social Change has a special remit for examining issues of social justice in the wider information sector, however, the journal encompasses writing and debate from a range of related sectors and areas of interest. Previous topics have included:
- Libraries & Information in the World Social Forum context.
- Public finances and libraries.
- Blogs, wikis, Web2 and self-publishing.
- Neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism in the information and education context.
- Corporatism and the privatisation debate.
- Moral and ethical information issues.
- ICT, digital libraries and e-learning.
- Education and Libraries.
- Copyright, patents and traditional knowledge.
- Globalisation (e.g. World Trade Organisation's GATS and TRIPS agreements).
- Perspectives on global issues, e.g. conflict and pacifism, ecological and green issues.
Information for Social Change adopts a flexible and pragmatic approach to vocational, professional and interest-based writing, encouraging descriptive and reflective writing alongside formal articles. To this effect ISC encourages contributions outside the strict parameters of academic writing, however, general guidelines apply to all submissions.
Book reviews, short commentary, event feedback, poems and other informal writings are also invited for inclusion in the journal; the ISC guidelines provide details for submission to the journal or Web site, submissions may also be discussed informally with issue editor(s) before a formal submission is made to the journal.
ISC and non-profit issues
As a consequence of its non-profit making status, ISC does not have funds or assets and consequently is not in a position to offer financial remuneration for article contributions to the journal, all contributions and submissions are therefore made on a voluntary basis. Additionally, the internet has provided the means to disseminate ISC via the Web and push technologies such as email to 'subscribers', providing an effective method for distribution of the ISC journal and a radical alternative to the traditional, profit-bound approaches to traditional journal publishing.
Concise overview of ISC issues
Most of these issues and articles contained are available via the ISC Table of Contents page:
- 26: Libraries and Social Exclusion
- 25: Libraries & Information Workers in Conflict Situations
- 24: Libraries and Information in World Social Forum context
- 23: Education for Social Change
- 22: Newspaper industry, Cuba, Social Exclusion and Colonialism etc.
- 21: EBooks, Public Libraries, Social Exclusion, Copyright, Libraries in Nigeria etc.
- 20: The Working Class, Anti-Semitism, Knowledge and Social Change
- 19: GATS and TRIPS, Education, World Social Forum, E-Learning, Exclusion
- 18: International Issues, Cuba, Culture and Development, Radical Library issues
- 17: Globalisation and Libraries, GATS, Privatisation, People's Network, Library Services
- 16: Local Libraries, USA Patriot Act, IFLA Conference, Privatisation, GATS and Schools
- 15: Uganda, Social Exclusion, Globalisation and GATS, Library Activism, Peace Diary
- 14: Global capitalism, Gender and Censorship, Knowledge economy
- 13: Battle in Seattle, Genoa Conference, Classic and Neo-Information, Cuban Libraries
- 12: Clause 28, GLBT Issues, Social Exclusion, Capitalism in Crisis
- 11: Combatting Racism, Freedom of Expression in South Africa, Academic Libraries
- 10: Public Libraries, Social Exclusion and Social Class, Soviet Libraries, Cuban Libraries
- 9: Social Inclusion, Tanzanian / Russian Libraries, Disappeared of Chile
- 8: Pio Gama Pinto, Ndungi wa Mungai, ALA Conference, British Library, Freedom Press
- 7: Conscription and Conscientious Objection, Kate Sharpley Library, Nyanjiru
- 6: Libraries, Information and the Dispossessed, Czech Fiction, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- 5: Publishing in Former Yugoslavia, Radical Information Work, Some Practical Projects
- 4: Libraries in China, Literacy in Vietnam, South Africa, Commonweal Collection
- 3: Cuba They're Still Reading, Information Projects in Korea, Akribie, Zines in Libraries
- 2: Information in South Africa, the Morning Star, Pittsburg Protests, Festival of Rights
- 1: Alternative Press Display, Struggle for Liberation, Rare Books, Freedom of Information
Editorial board members
Information for Social Change is primarily facilitated by a small group of contributors who also oversee the daily running of the Web site, journal and other activities; the Editorial Board members contribute to ISC discussions (via the ISC committee email list), support the development of the ISC journal, liaise with article contributors, maintain links with individuals in external organisations, arrange events, conferences and workshops in partnership with external bodies and maintain the ISC Web site; additionally, many members of the Editorial board contribute articles and other writing to the ISC journal.
Special Issue Editors
Special Issue Editors are Editorial Board members who volunteer to coordinate an individual journal issue, focusing on a particular topic or theme; there may be several editors for any particular issue. Special Issue Editors are the primary contact(s) for their own individual special issue (i.e. for contributor submissions). Once a special issue is published, the role of the Special Editor comes to an end, however, these individuals may continue to act as a point of contact for their issue and associated specialist topic. ISC encourages the practice of appointing Special Issue Editors outside the Editorial Board.
Current ISC Board Members :
- John Pateman : John has written many articles on aspects of social exclusion – especially social class – community development, internationalism and libraries in Cuba. He was a member of the government working group which produced Libraries for all: social inclusion in public libraries (1999) and of the research team which produced Open to All? The Public Library and Social Exclusion (2000). He was a member of the CILIP Policy Action Group on Social Exclusion which produced Making a Difference - Innovation and Diversity (2002). He has written a publication on Developing a Needs Based Library Service (2003) as part of the NIACE Lifelines in adult learning series. In 2006 he co-authored with John Vincent two chapters in the British Librarianship and Information Work series: ‘From Equal Opportunities to Social Exclusion’ (1991–2000) and ‘From Social Inclusion to Community Cohesion’ (2001–2005).
- Ruth Rikowski : Ruth now has over 50 published articles and reviews, in a variety of journals, largely on the topics of globalisation, knowledge management and computers/information technology. She is developing a whole body of theory around these topics - an Open Marxist theoretical perspective – see, for example, her article On the impossibility of determining the length of the working-day for intellectual labour, in Information for Social Change, Issue 19. Her book Globalisation, Information and Libraries: the implications of the World Trade Organisation’s GATS and TRIPS Agreements was published in February 2005, with Chandos publishers. The book builds on her many published articles on the topic, which have been published in a variety of journals, including the IFLA Journal, Managing Information, Business Information Review and The Commoner. A paper of hers on Globalisation and Libraries was also published in the UK House of Lords Report on Globalisation, in 2002. Ruth has given many talks around her subject interests to a variety of audiences, including students and staff in universities, various left-wing organisations and library and information conferences and shows. She has also been on radio programmes.
- Gill Harris
- Martyn Lowe : Information worker & Political Activist. Born November 1949. Active in the Peace Movement since 1968. Involved within:
- Librarians Within The Peace Movement (L.W.P.M.) Co-founder. 1989.
- Co-editing the L.W.P.M. Journal AIR (Alternative Information Record). 1990-1993.
- Greenpeace(London). 1973-1985.
- The Anti Falkland War Support Network. 1982.
- The War Resisters' International (W.R.I.) A volunteer in the International secretariat since 1985.
- Co-founder of Information for Social Change.
- Archive held in the International Institute of Social History - Amsterdam.
- John Vincent : Since 1999, John has been the Networker for "The Network - tackling social exclusion in libraries, museums, archives and galleries", running training courses and conferences, producing a monthly newsletter, and working on specific projects (such as the Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded project to advocate the role that libraries play in supporting children and young people in care; and Phase 2 of "Welcome to Your Library").
- Kingsley Oghojafor : Kingsley Oghojafor, a graduate of mass communication, lives in Nigeria. Kingsley is a freelance writer and an author who has written several articles and books including topics such as self-publishing, regional issues and IT.
- Mikael Böök : As a young man Mikael studied philosophy, sociology and history at the university of Helsinki. Mikael has engaged in various roles within social and educational organisations in his native Finland. Later in life, he became an internet service provider and a web-publisher. Mikael plays a particular role as a commentator, speaker and writer within the World Social Form, which he has attended on many occasions.
- Toni Samek : Developed and introduced a graduate course at the University of Alberta titled “Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in Librarianship”. The course runs annually. Of the approximately 15 (a disappointing number) stand-alone intellectual freedom courses currently offered in North American library and information schools, this is the only course that provides a direct and upfront link between the concepts of social responsibility and intellectual freedom. Indeed, the course begins with discussion and exploration of intellectual freedom as a “contested” concept. Toni is also the author of the 2001 book Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in American Librarianship, 1967–1974, published by McFarland & Company Inc, Publishers, U.S.A. (In 2003, the book was published in Japanese translation by the Kyoto University Library and Information Science Study Group.) The historical work examines the American Library Association’s profound and contentious professional identity crisis during the Vietnam War. The book’s present day relevance is most notable in its treatment of library neutrality and librarianship in time of war, revolution, and social change.
- Helen Raduntz : Helen Raduntz is an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre of Research in Education, Equity and Work, University of South Australia, whose career has involved working in industry and secondary education, education union activism, and academic teaching and research. Subsequent to her doctoral research she has continued her interests in the development of a Marxian critique for contemporary capitalism, in the continuing impact of marketisation on education and education for social change, and in mounting a critique on the subject of intellectual property and the work of information professionals. Among her publications is a chapter entitled ‘The Marketisation of Education within the Global Capitalist Economy’ published in 2005 in the book Globalising Public Education: Policies, Pedagogy and Politics, edited by Michael W. Apple, Jane Kenway and Michael Singh, and published by Peter Lang Publishing, New York.
- Anders Ericson : Editor of the news column of the web site of the Norwegian Library Association. Formerly chief librarian of a small public library and librarian at two university colleges, in pedagogy and engineering.
- Paul Catherall : Paul has helped to re-design the ISC Web pages for World Wide Web Convention (W3C) Web standards and accessibility compliance and contributes articles for the ISC journal, he is also a committee member of the Career Development Group Wales, which seeks to support and develop the skills of library and information workers. Paul's current research includes educational applications of the World Wide Web, e-learning and Web accessibility. Paul also maintains an E-learning Information Portal and has written a text on this subject entitled Delivering e-learning for Information Services in Higher Education, available from Chandos Publishing. Paul also dabbles in illustration seen in his illustrated book of poems Foibles, Frolics and Phantasms - Illustrated Poems 1995 - 2005 in aid of Cancer Research UK.