Critical Thinking Google Industries and Markets Information Technology

A note about ChatGPT

Dear colleagues,

(The gist: don’t panic but engage actively with this topic. Always remember that your friendly subject librarian is there to discuss – we even have a helpful guide about ChatGPT: )

Chatbots, abundant intelligence (AI) and other algorithms have impacted librarianship since I’ve started working at Concordia 20 years ago. I remember a time of card catalogues, microfilm and the smell of toner. During my tenure, I’ve seen the emergence of Google, Wikipedia, iPhones, social media’s echo chambers & fake news, open access, open data, open sesame (that was an Alibaba joke), and so many pictures of kittens… which is to say, the only thing to fear is fear itself: don’t be a tool for AI, understand how to use it so it doesn’t own you. I’ve started using this logic in my lectures to business undergrads this semester: “if you use the top 10 hits in Google for your paper, you’re already obsolete because an algorithm is cheaper and more powerful than you.” Job prospects are a great motivating factor for JMSB students!

I’ve always had a knack to keep the attention of students. This time, they were begging me to help them avoid plagiarism and develop searching and analytical skills a librarian can provide. This builds on the knowledge provided by your disciplinary knowledge. The next decade will be as fascinating as it will be exciting. I am confident I will see libraries into the next Millenia. I’m not so sure about the contemporary form of Universities, though.

I like to remind myself that Socrates had a gripe against the written word. Quill, ink and parchment were a disruptive technology after all, and they feared that it would eliminate the skills required for societal discourse. Ditto for church leaders and that pesky invention called the movable type… And yet, here we are. Universities are a rather “recent” institution (at 1000+ years), compared to libraries (3000+ years), archives (at an impressive 5000-8000+ years) and cities… which archeologists point out existed well before the existence of (“big H”) Western style History (you know, the kind which uses traces and other records).

I would like to venture two hypothesis that ChatGPT brings to light with regards to teaching and learning in Universities. First, that the lecture (of the synchronous, on-site or online, “butts in seats” or “faces on screen” and “prof in front” kind) is quickly becoming a superfluous and an oddly conspicuously anachronistic use of everyone’s time. Second, that the standard academic paper, which is the echo of the lecture, really, is following suit.

What are we to do, then? Simple. The rhetoric about experiential and blended learning and other trends of teaching and learning are pointing the way forward. Oh, and open education too. (ok, ok, preaching for my parish, I know, but really, the only people who have harder knuckles than librarians are, well, archivists, having survived power struggles and the occasional fire for millennia, so you should probably see through my trauma & bias and listen).

I have spent the past decade studying how to lead artistic and cultural organisations through what highly priced consultants call digital transformation (pro tip: write a good copyright license for a simple technological community tool and you will transform for the better). I sense that we are overdue for a very serious conversation about how we all collaborate (within departments, between Universities, etc.) as well as what we consider valuable use of everyone’s time. Having a small army of humans draft papers that are essentially thrown away seems like rather wasteful, particularly given that we now have technological and legal methods to capture micro-contributions to build stunning knowledge objects. We also need to talk about who owns the ideas we generate and the methods or means we have to make them available. Let’s remember we owe that to those who pay for our nice buildings and pensions.

If we don’t discuss, it won’t be long that most of us (not I!) will be left in the dust by a abundant intelligence (AI).

This essay was inspired by the conversations provided during Concordia’s Digital Skill Share Days Conference, an on-campus level up activity for staff and faculty (Feb 9-10 2023) of which I am a member of the organizing committee.

These words were written by my hand directly on a keyboard, on this website. (reposted from my Faculty Union’s private forum)


Introduction to searching for business information

Finding one’s place in society is arguably one of the outcomes of going to University. I rejoice at the idea that I could play a small role, as a business librarian at Concordia University, in assisting my community toward that goal. In light of this, here is a seminar I’ve prepared for colleagues working with student placement, leveraging library licensed databases and other sources on the Internet to connect students with businesses.

This workshop uses resources from the Library’s Business Research Portal.

Learning objectives

  • Develop a healthy information diet to foster the discovery of business information
  • Locate industry and market reports from the Internet and the Library
  • Explore information on occupations
  • Foster strategies to maximize the ongoing acquisition of business intelligence


  1. Getting to know more about Montréal’s economy
  2. Drilling down on occupations
  3. Understanding Canadian industries
  4. Drilling down to companies
  5. Staying aware with articles

0. How is business information organized in society ?

This step provides a short overview of the different socioeconomic actors who create and make available business information (BI). The graph below shows the “5 usual suspects” that produce BI, namely governments, trade associations, individual companies, statisticians and analysts and journalists and researchers. Each one of these entities provides for a specific set of documents, which can be leveraged to locate BI.

1. Getting to know Montréal’s economy

Free web sources

Montréal International, the municipal office established to foster foreign investment, offers many sectorial reports about key sectors of the Montréal economic ecosystem. Market leaders and trade associations are highlighted in these 30 to 40 page reports, provided for free.

Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, a broad reaching trade association, offers free Publications and a series of posts about relaunching the economy after Covid19.

Library licensed databases

Passport by Euromonitor offers reports about the top 3 Canadian cities (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver) as well as a complete set of market reports. Log-in with your Concordia University NetName. Once you’ve accepted the terms of service, just search for Montreal. You can explore this comprehensive database about worldwide consumers (except for the report on cities, the data provided is at the national level).

2. Drilling down to occupations

Free web sources

Emploi Quebec offers a snapshot about Trades and Occupations. For a given trade/occupation, you can get the sectors of activity by industry: it provides the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code. You will need this code for other steps! You can also note the National Occupational Code (NOC) for later reference.

Emploi Québec offers a monthly bulletin about employment prospects in Montréal.

The Government of Canada’s JobBank is a great place to explore occupations. Start with Trend analysis » Occupations. In addition to the wonderful information on this page, notice how each occupation is given a “code” from the National Occupational Classification or NOC.

The federal government’s Canadian Occupational Projection System will be updated with new data in late 2022.

3. Understanding Canadian industries

Library licensed databases

IBISWorld provides 25-35 page industry reports for thousands of Canadian industries (as well as for the USA, China and the world).

4. Drilling down to companies

Library licensed databases

Mergent Intellect, a business directory, offers data on individual companies. You can generate lists of companies and filter by industry, company size in terms of sales and employees as well as location.

5. Staying aware with articles

Library licensed databases

ProQuest Business offers a set of Canadian news and research articles. You can perform searches on the fly, and setup alerts based on various dimensions, such as:

  • Industries / Markets
  • Occupations / Jobs
  • Trade associations
  • Companies
  • Investments
  • Government agencies and Regulations
  • and more!

Searching is both a process and an outcome, like building a healthy life around your diet and exercise ! Many paths may lead you to your goals.

Concordia University Country statistics

Looking for information on occupations and industries in Montréal

Here is a list of resources to locate information about occupations and industry:

Montréal International, the business development corporation under the City, offers many sectorial analysis reports, for free on its website.

The Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM) offers Publications about key industries as well as under RelançonsMtl.

Emploi Quebec offers a snapshot about Trades and Occupations. For a given trade/occupation, you can get the sectors of activity by industry: it provides the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code. You will need this code for other steps!

Emploi Québec offers a monthly bulletin about employment prospects in Montréal.

The Government of Canada’s JobBank is a great place to explore occupations. Start with Trend analysis » Occupations. In addition to the wonderful information on this page, notice how each occupation is given a “code” from the National Occupational Classification or NOC. Let’s build on this with the next step. Let’s look for Computer Software Engineer (NOC 2173) near Montreal.

  • What is the average hourly wage of a software engineer in Montréal?
  • What are the prospects?

Now, you can read up on an industry through a licensed library database, called IBISWorld. This system provides a 20+ page report by industry (NAICS) for Canada, the USA and China.

You can also generate a list of companies in an Industry by using Mergent Intellect, a business directory.

Finally, you can setup an email alert to get trade news from ProQuest Business, a comprehensive business article database licensed by the library.

Olivier Charbonneau

Olivier Charbonneau is an associate Librarian at Concordia University, Olivier Charbonneau is primarily interested in copyright issues as well as questions of open access and Web 2.0. He is a doctoral student at the Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal. He has over 15 years of professional involvement in library and cultural communities. He holds two masters degrees from Université de Montréal, one in information sciences and another in law, as well as an undergraduate degree in commerce from McGill University.