Briefly, about Copyright Law & CC Licences

Copyright gives the people that create various works, certain legal controls over those works. As the name suggests, it limits copying (thus various forms of usage) to those authorized to do so. Depending on jurisdictions, it also codifies things such as moral rights.

The Creative Commons licences simplify an author’s ability to authorize copying and use of their work. CC licences leverage the control that copyright establishes and an author can use these licences to, in a sense, automate control. Rather than negotiate requests from every party that wants to use, derive new works, or copy the work, an author can clearly state what they’d like to be able to happen with the work upon expressing it to the public. Then anyone can use it as the author has intended.

Continue reading “Briefly, about Copyright Law & CC Licences”

Paywall Is A Compelling Documentary, Advocates OA

Last Friday night, I watched the new documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. If you’re involved in research, scholarly communication, or even just concerned with the availability of knowledge (especially as it results from public funding), then I recommend watching this film. You can easily stream it and, in-line with its subject matter, it will not cost you anything.

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Switch to a Mastodon Social Network

The Mastodon social network system is the most promising advance I’ve seen recently toward establishing a better, more compelling social networking system.

I’ll explain why I think it’s worth leaving closed networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. for Mastodon. I’d also like to say a little about how Mastodon works and mention something nice for the academic community. Perhaps you use something like Academia.edu? Perhaps you’ve heard of ScholarlyHub.org? Then perhaps you should know about Scholar.social. But first, Mastodon. Continue reading “Switch to a Mastodon Social Network”

Try the Engineering Academic Challenge (Concordia Student Event)

The Engineering Academic Challenge asks students to figure out answers to a variety of interesting engineering questions by using databases with Engineering Village and Knovel. There will be an event at Concordia for engineering students to try the challenge (it includes food). Competing against universities from all over the world, you can also win some nice prizes.

On Monday, 23 October 2017 go to the Hall building, 7th floor student lounge area, between 11 and 1. Bring your laptop, use one of the computers there, or borrow one from the library.

Participating in the EAC is a great way to improve your ability to get effective search results out of Engineering Village, while also learning about interesting engineering problems.

Software Tools that are Useful for Students & Free

Completing your university work on time, collaborating with many people, and dealing with cost and other requirements of various software systems is a hassle, which I hope that you can eliminate using some of these tools. I’ve used these and I’d like recommend that people try them out. Following is a brief description of some Office Productivity, Time and Project Management, Mindmapping, Reference Management, Note Taking, and Transcription applications. I’ve included a link to access or download them (all cost-free).  Continue reading “Software Tools that are Useful for Students & Free”

Applications for Reading Ebooks

Usually when I read electronic books, I use my phone. In those cases it’s often through an app like Aldiko or if I’m forced to, then a monstrosity like Bluefire or Overdrive. Sometimes it’s better at a computer screen though and possibly easier if you need to see something larger or are flipping back and forth between documents. This brief article reviews a few desktop ebook readers for Linux systems. I learned about some options that sound like they’re worth checking out, in addition to my regular choice, Calibre.

Canadian Government WCM Migration Project Failed—It’s for the Best

Our former federal government (under Harper’s Conservatives) decided to migrate some 1500 government Web sites to a single content management (WCM) system. They chose Adobe’s AEM product and it looks like the project collapsed in failure. As a Canadian citizen, I’m glad the project has not worked out. I can see how such a project could have merit but the software choice was a bad decision in principle and apparently the project planning and management were not undertaken properly. Too bad it didn’t fail sooner to prevent wasting so much money. CBC’s article about the project is here and I’ll point out a few thoughts about why I think the choice of WCM system was bad in principle and raise some questions on project management. Continue reading “Canadian Government WCM Migration Project Failed—It’s for the Best”

Books to Help Engineers Communicate in a Business Context

If you’re a student beginning work within a professional environment you’ll find that there are expectations people have around communications, which are particular to the workplace. A lot of books for engineers cover how to communicate professionally within a business context. These books tend to be oriented toward helping the reader learn skills for improving the way they communicate their own specialized knowledge not just to their peers but perhaps more importantly, to people that do not have the same level of specialized engineering knowledge. Continue reading “Books to Help Engineers Communicate in a Business Context”