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Keeping Ontario on the map! Exploring our transforming landscapes online

Guest blog by Kara Handren, Metadata Librarian, Scholars Portal/OCUL

Map libraries are wonderful places, whose collections support patrons in their research, education, work and private lives. However, given the quantity of maps produced during any given period, libraries often have to make decisions to preserve only those maps that are of local relevance and significance, leaving their collections incomplete. The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) has filled in the gaps for early topographic maps of Ontario, by bringing together over 1000 maps that had previously existed across dozens of institutions. This shared digital collection has been made available online just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday!

The collection is the result of a province-wide collaboration led by the OCUL Geo Community to inventory, digitize, georeference, and provide access to these maps. It includes...

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Indigenous ways of knowing and the academy: Part 2 of 2

Guest blog by Aaron Franks, Mitacs-SSHRC Visiting Fellow in Indigenous Research and Reconciliation

Read Indigenous ways of knowing and the academy: Part 1 of 2

On April 26 I published a guest post on this Federationblog on Indigenous ways of knowing and the academy. Here I want to share more details of a specific gathering at Congress 2017 that will be hosted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (May 30 – check the program!) which SSHRC hopes will help strengthen the autonomy and standing of diverse Indigenous knowledge systems in the contemporary academy.  

Many of you reading will recognize that this effort, like so much about...

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Indigenous ways of knowing and the academy: Part 1 of 2

Guest blog by Aaron Franks, Mitacs-SSHRC Visiting Fellow in Indigenous Research and Reconciliation

Read Indigenous ways of knowing and the academy: Part 2 of 2

I had the privilege of attending a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the release of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (RCAP, 1996) last November. One of the participants at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) session on research and reconciliation expressed concern about the phrase “Indigenous ways of knowing.” Why single out “Indigenous,” and why qualify human logic and comprehension with the squishy phrase “ways of knowing”? This person had spent many years thinking through these issues, working hard to improve opportunities for Indigenous peoples, but I was...

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International student explores Indigenous youth wellbeing with arts and culture

Guest blog by Robyn Dugas, Content Specialist, Mitacs

Jessica Blain was a third-year undergraduate student from Australia’s University of Sydney.Through a Mitacs Globalink Research Internship at Concordia University, she helped evaluate the impact of a community-based theatre program on the wellbeing of young people in a remote First Nations community in Northern Saskatchewan. Her experiences showed her the potential for arts-based programs to provide a positive space for fostering creative development and leadership among Indigenous youth.

Participatory arts and culture activities...

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Effective policy making needs voices from the social sciences and humanities

Guest blog by Steve Higham, Policy Analyst

Poorly informed policy decisions can have significant and lasting consequences. Often, critics assume that negative policy decisions can be avoided if only decision makers are guided by data and scientific evidence. However, data and evidence are not the only factors that inform the policy-making process. On most issues, decisions will be influenced by cultural and political considerations, with corresponding beliefs, principles, and values that a government may or may not support.

This is not necessarily a negative aspect of the policymaking process. Without proper context and understanding, decisions based...

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