Alan Harnum

A Found Poetry Chapbook from 2017 for Poetry Month

In the summer of 2017 I used American poet Gregory Orr’s book Poetry as Survival as the source text for a series of found poems, which I shared with only a few friends who were also fans of Orr’s work. Since I first read the book in 2013 after discovering Orr’s work via his remarkable short poem Origin of the Marble Forest, I have returned to it several times and always found it a valuable grounding experience for reflecting on one of the motivating forces in my own writing. Read more...

Personal Poetry Month

A roundup of poetry and more general writing stuff: It’s National Poetry Month in Canada and the United States of America. I made some tweets listing good recent contemporary poetry books I’ve read. I also write poetry these days with some publication success, but I read poetry for many years before starting to write it as well. I wish more people read contemporary poetry, which is a vast space of really diverse and exciting voices. Read more...

Public Libraries and Public Realm Data: Initial Thoughts on the Toronto Region Board of Trade's BiblioTech Report

A Note on the Origins of this Post I originally started this post a few days after the BiblioTech report came out (January 16), then got pulled away from finishing it up fully by other matters. Since then, the Quayside story has seen some quite significant shifts and new developments, brought on by the Toronto Star’s story about the full scope of Sidewalk’s plans, based on leaked internal documents. I’m publishing the post now as a record of my thoughts at the time; my rawer response to the Toronto Star’s story is captured in these tweets from mid-February when the story broke. Read more...

Interviewed On a Podcast

I was recently a guest on the podcast “So What? Why LIS Research Matters” to talk about my workplace, the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University, and the kind of research work we do. This was an interesting experience and a chance to reflect on how my LIS background has continued to influence my work, despite no longer working in a library. A part two that talks in more specific detail about some recent projects should be forthcoming in 2019. Read more...

Voice UIs: Promises and Challenges of a "New" Technology

Below are the speaker’s notes from a talk I gave at the 2018 Guelph Accessibility Conference. I’m both intrigued by and very wary of voice UIs, so this was a good opportunity to survey the topic in detail. The slides from the talk are also available. Introducing Myself and This Talk Good morning. I’m Alan Harnum, a Senior Inclusive Developer at OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre. You can visit our website to see details of the work we do today and have done in the past - this is a milestone year for us, our 25th anniversary since our founding at the University of Toronto in 1993 as the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre. Read more...

Holistic Technologies for Libraries

These are the speaker’s notes of a talk I gave I gave at the ninth Code4Lib North meeting, which was held May 10-11 this year at OCAD University, my research group’s home institution. It was an honour to be on the organizing committee this year and help bring the meeting to my university - Code4Lib people were always my favourite library people when I worked in the field, and remain so after I’ve left. Read more...

Netsweeper at Toronto Public Library - An Update

For full background, please see this post and the posts linked from it. I first sent an “official” suggestion to Toronto Public Library in May 2017 that they review their use of the Netsweeper filtering software because of their documented use in overseas censorship of the Internet and pursuit of that as an area of business. My own awareness of the Citizen Lab research into Netsweeper began with various September 2016 media stories such as this one regarding their use in Bahrain. Read more...

Again, For World Poetry Day

For UNESCO’s World Poetry Day 2018, three more found poems from the same project as last year - writing found poetry from library search term feeds. Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn Drag Race Tell no one, magnificent obsession watercolor; ragdoll sex in search of excellence, the rules do not apply. The exiled commander-in-chief evicted testimony, true witness, the fiery cross heading toward omega. Heading towards omega, floor traders finance floor traders. Read more...

My Introductory Remarks for the Designing Inclusive Retail Experiences Design Challenge

I was invited this week to give a quick introduction to inclusive design concepts to the (currently occurring, as of this writing) “Designing Inclusive Retail Experiences” BIG IDeA Challenge sponsored by Telus. This was a great way to end my work week and while some of what I said is verbatim from our definition of inclusive design, there is also some personal reflection that I think is worth capturing here. Read more...

Two New Poems Published

I’ve had two new poems published in the latest issue of FreezeRay, a journal of pop culture poetry. One of them is about the John Wick movies, which I’m a little obsessed with (please send good name for John Wick-themed chapbook if you have one).

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