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Alvin Schrader

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Alvin Schrader

iSMSS, SLIS, UAL, University of Alberta
School of Library & Information Studies
320 Rutherford South
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2J4

  • Adjunct Professor, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services
  • Professor Emeritus, School of Library & Information Studies
  • Director of Research, Libraries

  • sexual minority and gender variant (LGBTTQ) library services & issues
  • internet filtering censorware
  • censorship & intellectual freedom in cultural institutions
  • academic library research
  • library effectiveness
  • school to work transitioning

Subject areas and related deposits

  • Academic librarians

    • Assessment of the Research Learning Needs of University of Saskatchewan Librarians: A Case Study

      As academic librarians with faculty status increasingly embrace research engagement as a core value and requirement, one of the little studied questions is the extent to which they possess the requisite knowledge and skills to conduct high quality research and scholarship, and what further learning needs they might have within the organizational setting. This paper summarizes an institutional case study of the research knowledge of academic librarians employed at the University of Saskatchewan, encompassing their current research interests, experiences, competencies, environmental context, and learning needs. The goal was to develop a framework for additional educational activities and institutional supports that would enhance their knowledge and skills.

    • Exploring the Research Knowledge Needs of Canadian Academic Librarians

      As academic librarians increasingly embrace the core value and challenge of engaging in research and scholarly work, and as senior library administrators continue to adopt evidence-based decision making, staff research knowledge and skills must be constantly and systematically developed and augmented. However, descriptive data on current competencies and competency gaps are not widely reported, nor are methodologies for capturing and articulating deeper insights into attitudes and perspectives. This paper describes the outcomes of a pilot project to shed light on the current levels of research knowledge, experience, interests, competencies, and learning needs as identified by academic librarians employed by the University of Alberta Libraries, which serves faculty, staff, and students at one of the major research institutions in Canada. The longer-term goal is to build capacity at both the institutional and the professional levels for sustaining an assessment and research culture.

  • Academic libraries

    • The Censorship Phenomenon in College and Research Libraries: An Investigation of the Canadian Prairie Provinces, 1980‑1985

      Although college and research libraries in North America are generally thought to be immune to censorship pressures, no impartial research has been undertaken to date to verify this perception. A five-page questionnaire was mailed to the libraries of 68 postsecondary educational institutions in the three prairie provinces of Canada in order to determine two things: first, the extent of pressures to remove, relocate, or reclassify library materials between 1980 and 1985; and second, to determine the effectiveness of written selection policies in dealing with such pressures. Among the 47 responding libraries, 14 (30 percent) reported that they had experienced some kind of censorship pressure during the six years under study. Almost all of these libraries served student populations under 5,000, but some of the larger institutions also reported challenges of one kind or another.

  • Bibliometric analysis

    • A Bibliometric Study of the JEL, 1960‑1984

      This study describes and evaluates key bibliometric patterns in the articles published by the former Journal of Education for Librarianship (JEL) during its first 24 volumes of existence from 1960 to 1984. Data from each issue of JEL were collected and analyzed using SPSSx. Since JEL became a refereed journal beginning with volume 12 in 1971, its scholarliness has increased dramatically - at least insofar as a quantitative indicator reveals. Before 1971 Just over half of all articles contained bibliographic citations. Afterwards, this proportion grew steadily, and in the 1980s nine out often articles were referenced. The number of citations per referenced article has also increased steadily, from eight before refereeing to 17 in the 1980s.

  • Censorship

    • The Fear of Words: Censorship and the Public Libraries of Canada [Manuscript]

      This book presents the findings of a study of access policies and censorship experiences of the public libraries of Canada. It addresses the issue of the prevailing climate of intellectual freedom in public libraries across the country. It shows just how much community pressure is brought to bear on public libraries to remove or restrict materials, and how their staffs respond to such pressures. It also makes tentative comparisons with recent American events. The Fear of Words is the first attempt to document the public library experience of an entire nation. No other survey research on contemporary censorship in public libraries has been published that is comparable in scope, depth, or geographic coverage to the wealth of information contained in this book. A favorable response rate among public libraries, representing 76 percent of all Canadian residents, assures a high level of confidence in the findings. Fear of Words, which was published by the Canadian Library Association in 1995, was based on this scholarly version of the study that included comprehensive statistical analysis and modeling of the data.

    • Technology and the Politics of Choice: Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, and Intellectual Freedom

      This presentation addresses the prescriptive technology of Internet filtering software, also known to its critics as "censorware", "electronic book banning" and even e-book burning. My lens is library and information studies, and my theme is that the attempt to regulate and control Internet access through filtering products leads to unintended consequences for education and learning. Among these consequences are young people's understandings and practices of personal responsibility and choice, information and media literacy, critical thinking, and intellectual freedom. Uncritical reliance on technological solutions such as filtering can put educational goals at risk. There is also a strong possiblity that filtering puts schools and school boards at greater risk -- rather than minimizing their burden. Contrary to the overly cautious legal advice that officials might receive, filters may actually increase the institutional burden, because the resort to filtering as a solution could be construed as an admission of institutional responsibility, thus shifting the burden away from students and parents. The weaknesses of filtering technology are found in human language, and come from three areas of foundational knowledge in library and information studies: intellectual freedom, indexing theory for information retrieval, and reader response theory. In a nutshell, what these bodies of thought reveal is a whole set of intractable barriers that render perfect control over expressive content in any communications medium an impossible idea and ideal. These barriers issue from the unsolvable problems of ambiguity in language, indexing, and reading. The reality is that the locus of the problems associated with Internet content is social and political, not "technological."

  • Gay

    • “Nowhere to Turn, Nowhere to Go”: Library & Information Services for Sexual & Gender (LGBTQ) Minorities

      Presentation to LIS 541. LIS SERVICES IN CULTURALLY DIVERSE SOCIETY in the MLIS program, University of Alberta, on key themes of: - Situating LGBTQ (sexual & gender variant) communities internationally; in the Canadian mosaic; in Canadian library & information services -Key resources for supporting LGBTQ library & information services -Canadian policy framework for championing LGBTQ library & information services -Challenges, barriers, issues in LGBTQ library & information services: Library collections; Subject access to library collections; Internet access & filtering in libraries - Library services & collection strategies for supporting LGBTQ communities - Links between LGBTQ discrimination and misogyny & sexism.

  • Intellectual freedom

  • Libraries

  • Public libraries

  • School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS)

  • Scientific knowledge