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Introducing Toronto Metropolitan University Library Visiting Scholar, Michael Ridley


Toronto Metropolitan University Library welcomes visiting scholar Michael Ridley. A current PhD candidate with the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, Ridley’s research focuses on the opaqueness of machine learning systems and explainable artificial intelligence, with the intent of demystifying systems in order to build trust in the data and information they generate.  

His research spans not only machine learning and explainable artificial intelligence, but also includes algorithmic and digital literacies–areas of study well situated within the expertise and mandate of libraries. Both academic and public libraries have an important role to play in helping to create transparency, which will enable trust in systems, and the ability to build and use them in productive and creative ways.

As a Visiting Scholar, Ridley is available to collaborate with faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from across campus. He will be working with librarians and Library staff to advance internal scholarly, research and creative (SRC) initiatives, and will also be helping the Library continue developing strategic partnerships in the area of machine learning. Building on existing relationships with public libraries across Canada and his new appointment as a Vector Institute Fellow, Ridley brings valuable community and city building connections to this role.

Noting the innovation fostered and supported at Ryerson–and recognizing the Library as unique venue for advanced research in the area of artificial intelligence and machine learning–he’s excited to create new opportunities and potential pilot projects with librarians and staff. “Librarians are faced with translating information needs and requests into queries that seek to provide the best resources in a huge information space, which is getting larger and larger by the second,” says Ridley. “One way this type of technology could help is by creating a system that enables librarians to sift through resources in more effective ways.” This type of project would effectively lead to improved understanding and application of a system.

Chief Librarian, Carol Shepstone is enthusiastic about Ridley’s term, and the research opportunities he brings to the Library. “Mike comes to the Library with wealth of knowledge and critical insight in a field of study that is of great interest to our work in the Library, but also to many research projects and centres around the University,” says Shepstone. “As a new Visiting Scholar, I know Mike will add to our thinking and understanding of this rapidly evolving field. I am thrilled he has agreed to join us in this capacity.”  


Contact and office hours

Library Collaboratory, Room 387A
Thursdays 9 am – 5 pm
Twitter: @mridley

Michael Ridley is the former Chief Librarian and Chief Information Officer at the University of Guelph (1995 to 2012), and has served as President of the Canadian Association for Information Science, the Ontario Library Association, and as Chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries.