CFP: Organize and Assemble IV

PLG Edmonton invites submissions for our fourth annual symposium, Organize and Assemble IV, taking place on October 18, 2014. Practitioners, scholars, activists, students, and other members of the general public interested in library, archival and allied information services are asked to speak on topics pertaining to this year’s theme: the commodification of information goods and library services.

Recent political, economic, and technological change have resulted in the growing commodification of information and the marketisation of library services. The consequences range from increasingly restrictive intellectual property rights to the recasting of library patrons as customers to the outsourcing of entire libraries to private companies. Resistance to this trend has emerged, aimed at safeguarding the intellectual/knowledge commons and advancing alternatives to intellectual property. Tension around the economic nature of libraries and information is a core issue for all librarians and information professionals.

This one-day refereed event will provide an interactive forum for the identification and exploration of contemporary issues of commodification of information, access, equity, and social justice as they connect with and disconnect from the rhetoric and reality of library and archival studies and services locally and globally. This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Samuel E. Trosow from the University of Western Ontario — a leading expert in Canadian copyright — who has served on the CLA copyright committee and is co-author of the recently published, second edition of Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide.

In keeping with the theme, possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

• Market rhetoric in library services (e.g. customers, library CEOs)

• Intellectual property rights (copyright, patents, etc.)

• Alternatives to intellectual property and promotion of the knowledge/information commons (gift/sharing economy, open access, open source software, etc.)

• Fees for services and the role of cost-recovery vs. for profit models in libraries, museums, and archives

• Outsourcing and privatization of library services

• The intersection of the information marketplace and issues of race, gender and/or class

• The economics of library services and information (public vs. private information, artificial scarcity, pricing models for information)

We are also thrilled to announce that the conference proceedings will be published in Progressive Librarian, thereby exposing the content of our local symposium to an international audience. Accordingly, we are inviting proposals for print materials such as cartoons, poems, resource lists, reviews, etc. to be considered for inclusion in the issue.

Please submit proposals (not to exceed 500 words) for individual and group contributions (e.g., papers, debates, round-tables, critiques, panels, posters, exhibits, manifestos, performances, and mini-workshops) and for print materials to be included in the conference proceedings via email to by midnight July 4th, 2014. Submitters will be notified of their acceptance by July 18th.

The PLG supports progressive and democratic activities in the area of information services, and the Edmonton Chapter’s Program Committee will review all submissions that recognize (or challenge!) this stance and the PLG statement of purpose more broadly.