Thursday, August 22, 2013

Appreciating cyber-systemic scholarship

Ranulph Glanville, President of ASC writes:

"Sometimes I am asked about my cybernetics PhD, which I completed with Gordon Pask as my supervisor in 1974 and which was examined by Heinz von Foerster in 1975. At this year's conference I was persuaded to make a presentation which was videoed and posted on YouTube in the ASC channel. You can find it at:

There is a lot of interesting material posted on our YouTube channel, a wonderful and special resource that has mainly been garnered by Tom Fischer. This material, along with the ASC publications we have been collecting and putting on line, is one of the real treasures that the current executive has worked to bring to members. Please look not only at the video of my explanation of the basics of this piece of work that both Heinz and Gordon claimed was the key missing part of second order cybernetics, but also at the wealth of other material. Of course, it takes time to watch, but you will, I believe, feel well rewarded."

Accessing academic content on line - 'Big Guns' oppose innovation

Michael Lissack writes:

"The pioneering digital library built by ISCE is under attack.

It seems HBS and John Wiley (yes the publishers) HATE the idea that libraries can be virtual. They sued ISCE (see and we answered (see ANY AND ALL HELP APPRECIATED

The Harvard B School folks and Wiley think that ALL digital access should be pay per use and that libraries have no rights

So much for the idea of academic research

The lawsuit is fundamentally about what rights academic libraries have to make use of the books which they have purchased.

The ISCE Library is set up to be as close as humanly possible to a physical library.  Patrons (members of ISCE) can access the full text of ONE book at a time (displayed as two pages at a time) for a two hour increment and it is one user per book (i.e. the experience duplicates that of a library reserve room).  The books were purchased as physical books, scanned, destroyed (the physical copies) and ONLY exist as digital.

Wiley and HBS claim that despite the actual purchase of the books by ISCE that we need permission to convert the library to digital only.  We argue back fair use and library exemptions.
More importantly the ISCE Library allows for cross searching amongst the 1250 books in the collection in a manner which is unavailable elsewhere  (see  That cross searching allows a user to input a query of 50-10,000 words (i.e. the full text of an article for example) and see what the "virtual reference librarian" at ISCE suggests should be read next  (which is "find me more like this" search).  Again the Wiley HBS posture is that this kind of innovation should be stopped.
At ISCE we have transformed the academic research library into a powerful on-line research tool and it is that very innovation which Wiley and HBS are trying to kill.

Your help in circulating this message and finding us added resources will  be appreciated."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Australia's 'red centre' - first visit.

It has taken far to long for us to spend time in Alice Springs and make a visit to Uluru. Last week with my work and an added weekend we rectified this situation. The temperatures were a pleasant break from Melbourne at this time of year.  What woud I recommend for those with limited time - Simpson's Gap, Jessie and Emily Gaps, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) National Park; the Alice Springs Desert Park - great exhibits and a great bird show.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2014 Cyber-systemic conferences

Courtesy of ASC's President, Ranulph Glanville: 

The ASC conference will be held between 3 and 9 August, 2014, in the Washington DC area. The theme is “Living in Change”. 
"2014 is the ASC 50th birthday conference, and we hope to mark it in various ways, including presentations by currently surviving ASC presidents about the ASC in their period of office. We will also invite others to contribute to this “living history”.  We anticipate that the conference will have more formal input than our conversational conferences, though there will still be an important conversational element.  We plan on encouraging members to hold local meetings to prepare for the main conference. I hope to make a fuller announcement in the autumn/fall, Meanwhile, please register interest at www.asc.cybernetics/2014."

Other conferences
2014 is a busy conference year.