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Information for Social Change

Information for Social Change

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ISC 15. Feedback on Globalisation and Information issue of ISC

Ruth Rikowski

I have received a lot of positive feedback about the 'Globalisation and Information' issue. Some examples are given below.

Susan George, the internationally renowned author of books such as The Debt Boomerang and A Fate worse than Debt, was very appreciative and said she would use the 'Globalisation and Information' issue gratefully. She is also the Vice-President of ATTAC, France. The acronym 'ATTAC' is French and in English means the 'Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens'. It now has about 40,000 members and has groups all over Europe and in some other countries as well. It looks for alternatives to the 'dogmatic ideology of neoliberalism' and campaigns on issues such as Third World Debt, the reform or abolition of the WTO and wants to 'recapture the space that has been lost to the financial world'. (

Dr Shahrzad Mojab, Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Toronto, really liked the issue, and asked for extra copies so that they could use it for their teaching.

Mark Rosenzweig, the ALA Councillor at large and one of the editors of Progressive Librarians Guild was very enthusiastic, and even mentioned the possibility of the issue being turned into a book. He praised, in particular, my long, analytical article.

Mark Perkins, Librarian, New Caledonia, South Pacific said that it was an 'excellent issue' and that librarians in New Caledonia did not know anything about these GATS issues before, and only now just realised that New Caledonia had 'opted in' to the 'Recreational, Cultural and Sporting Services'.

Maureen Sawa, Co-ordinator, Childrens and Young Adult Services, Kitchener Public Library, Kitchener read the ISC issue and said:

This is great...I'm just reading the Clare Joy article, for example - would be very helpful reading for CLA types.

Subsequent to this, a link was added from the CLA (Canadian Library Association) GATS tool kit to the Globalisation and Information issue. Paul Whitney, the Chief Librarian of Burnaby Public Library, British Columbia, Canada and IFLA representative to the WTO Seattle Ministerial and past president of CLA and Frode Bakken, the President of the Norwegian Library Association and co-ordinator of the EBLIDA WTO Working Group, were both very praiseworthy of the issue. Leading on from this, they will both be speaking at the fringe meeting that I am organising at IFLA conference in Glasgow.

Anders Erison, a freelance journalist and former librarian from Norway was also very interested in the issue, and the other work that I have been undertaking on the GATS. He plans to come to England in September, when he will explore these issues further within the context of the GATS, privatisation and commercialisation of libraries in England. Within this context he will be interviewing me.

David Creighton, of the Ottawa Chapter of the Council of Canadians, was interested in the issue and asked me for further information about it. The Council of Canadians is a highly respected national organisation with over 100,000 members across Canada. Its focus is on the retention of Canada's sovereignty. Peter Hudis, editor of News and Letters found it interesting. Clare Joy said that the issue was "very comprehensive".

Marta Aguilera from Dpto. Desarrollo de Colecciones, Biblioteca nacional "Jose Marti", La Habana, Cuba asked for a copy of the issue, saying that it would be very useful for them, as a National Library in a developing country.

A librarian working at the World Trade Organisation library asked for a copy, so that it could be added to the library collection.

Capital and Class, a left-wing refereed, academic journal said that they would like an advertising exchange - whereby they would advertise the ISC 'Globalisation and Information' special issue in the next copy of Capital and Class and we would advertise Capital and Class in next ISC issue. This has now been arranged. See the advert at the end of this issue.

Further comments

I also received compliments and considerable interest from many other people - some of which originated from the radio programme and/or my article in Managing Information, and/or from one of the news items about the issue in the LA Record. One lady who heard me on the radio programme, for example, said:

"I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to find out more information on this issue. I try to keep up-to-date on national and European legislation that affects or will affect the cultural/heritage sector, but the GATS issue was new to me"

Another lady also said that this was something that she had not been aware of before, but now that I had drawn it to her attention, she had seen quite a lot of references to it. Another person said that they wanted to include some information about all this in their Chartership report for CILIP and asked for copies of the various other papers that I have written on the subject, saying that they would include me in the acknowledgements of their report. A few people, including someone from the Friends of Libraries movement responded with interest to the news items in the LA Record about the BBC Radio 4 programme that I was on, and asked me for a copy of the tape transcription of the programme. Further information about the Friends of Libraries movement can be found at the following websites - and

Rob Blejerveld, editor of WTO.ZIP in the Netherlands, read my article in Managing Information with interest, and then asked for articles from the ISC issue on GATS and libraries. These are just examples of some of the types of responses that I have received.

Links to websites

The issue has been posted to lots of different websites. These include:

a. Library Juice, with links to all the individual articles (Library Juice is edited by Rory Litwin);

b. Sustainable Development International

c.Norweld Regional Library systems ;


e. MAI-NOT Forum at:

f. Global Campaign Webliography (which included a reference to my article about the Internet and micropayments) at:

g. ACME Bookbinding at: .

h. David Weblog - Weblog is a small selection of resources on the Web that David Little likes. Arranged in broad categories.

Other individuals/groups showing an interest

There are many other people who have shown an interest one way or another. This has either been directly through reading the issue; or indirectly through attending one of my talks on GATS and libraries; reading my article in Managing Information; hearing me on the radio and/or reading the tape transcription; seeing one of the news items in the LA Record or interested in attending the IFLA fringe meeting, which I am currently organising. These come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including:

a. the library/information world (including some of the book reviewers for Managing Information and some members of the Diversity Council and the Library Campaign

b. Universities , such as Sussex University, Oxford University and Glasgow University

c. the Green Party

d. the anti-globalisation movement in general

e. the media (e.g. the Big Issue, Red Pepper)

f. left-wing academics/intellectuals

g. students

h. organisations such as People and Planet (a student organisation);the World Development Movement; ATTAC, London ; Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique ; and the Communist Party

i. Chris Keene, Bob Olsen and David Western - who all circulate anti-globalisation information and information from a critical perspective round to many people on different email lists. They have all circulated a large amount of information that I have sent them, which I am very appreciative of.


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