Series: Information Management Public Lectures

The Information Management Public Lectures give attention to exciting advances in research and professional practice. The topics are diverse reflecting the importance and global extent of Information Management in today’s society. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, unless otherwise stated.

Important notes about our 2020-2021 lectures:

  • Lectures will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. 
  • Simply click the event link provided to join (see below). If you already have Teams, it will open. If you do not have Teams, you can watch in your browser (move the Teams download request window and click the option to open in browser). Note: Safari is NOT recommended due to issues with video and audio.
  • All lecture times are Atlantic Standard Time (AST). 
  • Lectures will be live at the times specified, but will be recorded when possible and posted to our YouTube channel.
  • A Q&A period will be held at the end of each lecture. There may not be time to get to every question. 

2020-2021 Lectures

FALL 2020

Vulnerabilities exposed and the opportunity to respond: Reflections on public libraries in the time of COVID-19 (Åsa Kachan)

Åsa Kachan
Halifax Public Libraries

Lecture Details
Tuesday, October 6th, 2020
Microsoft Teams (click link at above date/time to join)

Abstract: When COVID-19 necessitated the sudden closure of public libraries in March, libraries were faced with an unprecedented challenge. After years of bringing growing numbers of people together within our spaces to learn, share, laugh and even dance, gathering had suddenly become dangerous. From her own experience, and with stories from across the county, Åsa Kachan will share the remarkable ways public libraries have responded to our communities' urgent need for accurate information, entertainment, technology and connection in a time of COVID.

Bio: Åsa Kachan is the CEO & Chief Librarian for Halifax Public Libraries where she oversees 420 staff working across the 14-branch library system. Halifax Public Libraries recently received international acclaim with the opening of Halifax’s new Central Library in 2014. Halifax Public Libraries is very highly regarded for its services, programs and welcoming spaces that reach diverse populations with equality and respect.

Prior to her role with Halifax Public Libraries, Åsa spent 16 years in senior administrative roles within universities, most recently serving as the Assistant Vice-President Enrolment Management & Registrar for Dalhousie University between 2004 and 2014. During Åsa’s time at Dalhousie, she undertook critical transformations to improve the student experience, including revamping undergraduate scholarships and bursaries, modernizing admission and recruitment practices, and improving front-line student service.

Åsa has volunteered her time with a number of community organizations, including Halifax Dance, the Halifax Grammar School, and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. She is currently serving as Chair of the Governance Committee of the United Way of Halifax and sits on the Advisory Board for the Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University. In 2018 Åsa was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a three-year term.

Killer Info: Big Data, the Fallacy of Homicide Stats, and Disrupting the Murder Industry (Dr. Michael Arntfield)

Co-sponsored by the Schulich School of Law (Dalhousie University)

Dr. Michael Arntfield
Western University

Lecture Details
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
Microsoft Teams (click link at above date/time to join)

Abstract: In the summer of 2018, the Chief Coroner in Ontario announced an overdue inquiry into so-called "concealed homicides", or murders that had been improperly categorized, coded, and never properly investigated by police, and which have since ended up in the proverbial dustbins of history. While this was the first such admission of the fallacy of homicide data in Canada, an audit in the United States conducted by the Murder Accountability Project ( had already confirmed that as many as nearly 3000 murders in any given year have been mislead by police every year for at least the last twenty years, with some states having as many as 50% of all murders miscategorized as either suicides or accidents that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention later confirmed were actually criminal homicides. 

Yet, these contradictory records have never been properly reconciled, corrected, and the cases properly investigated, and the offenders for the most part remain at large and unidentified. The rate jumps to nearly 80% on average when tabulating murders committed on Native American lands. These same data, like the case that prompted the inquiry in Ontario, are believed to contain large clusters of serial killers given the often sophisticated counter-measures seen in many cases, and which led to critical misinterpretations by primary investigators as a result of crime scene staging and/or elaborate concealment efforts. 

With both Canada and the United States using the same homicide records management system, the truth is that solved rates (known as "clearance rates") are at best an approximation of the actual number of homicides accurately identified and solved by police--a rate, it should be noted, that reached a historic low in 2016 without factoring in this margin of error of nearly 12% in terms of murders overlooked and never even screened-in for investigation. The annual murder rate per capital in each country therefore also in no way reflects actual occurrences of homicide. Bearing this reality in mind amid a timely discussion on police funding and accountability, this seminar will discuss how homicide investigation as a tertiary service sector industry is, like other industries, ripe for disruption, and will discuss the role of data scientists, advocates, and innovators in transitioning homicide investigation and scholarship toward a new standard of appropriate rigour. 

Bio: Dr. Michael Arntfield is a professor, criminologist and homicide scholar at Western University where he founded the university's Cold Case Society unsolved crimes think tank, a data-driven victims' initiative that earned him Western's last Humanitarian of the Year Award. He is also co-director of the Murder Accountability Project in Washington DC, the world's largest homicide database that uses a proprietary algorithm to identify previously undetected patterns in serial homicide among nearly a million murders dating back forty years. The author of over a dozen books on criminal investigation and a former police detective, he also currently appears as the resident expert on the network series Time to Kill on Investigation Discovery and Mummy Mysteries on Discovery Travel.

michaelarntfield.commurderdata.orgTED Talk