A few links that have been keeping me from inbox zero for the past few weeks.
- “â€¦the increased popularity of the Internet in America has not been correlated with an overall increase in reported sexual offenses; overall sexual offenses against children have gone steadily down in the last 18 years” Note: this does not say “oh the internet is safe!” It just says that the internet getting more popular doesn’t correlate with sexual offenses against children. More from the Research Advisory Board of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force
- Speaking of Berkman people, I’ll be hanging out in the Boston area over the turkey weekend and likely going to this event that Saturday. Anyone in the area should consider going, it looks like fun.
- Evergreen is gaining traction as an ILS that works even for big/complicated systems. The Traverse Area just went live with their Evergreen implementation. Doesn’t that look nice? More about Michigan’s open source ILS project.
- I’ve been reading more lately. I read Cory Doctorow’s book Content (my review) and think it should be required reading for librarians or anyone else in the various digital content industries. If you’d like a copy, you can read it for free online, or if you’re a librarian or a teacher, you can request a donated copy from the website. I already gave mine away.
- FCC broadband bill passed. This might help Farmer Bob [my generic term for the people over on this side of the digital divide] get broadband.
- Pew Report “When Technology Fails” (and even really great technology sometimes does). The results will likely not surprise the librarians. “15% of tech users were unable to fix their devices” and “48% felt discouraged with the amount of effort needed to fix the problem.”
I was emailing with a friend this week and he was saying how it seems strange that librarans are so aggressive in their defense of privacy while at the same time the population seems to be more and more shifting towards openness and “hey here’s my list of books” behavior outside of their library. I always draw the line between what people reveal about themselves versus what their institutions reveal, or must legally disclose, about them.
I also often feel that one of the reasons we’re in this strange place is because many privacy issues are ones that technology could be solving for us. Yet, at the same time the technology we’re working with doesn’t allow us the granularity of making, for example, patron reading information available in the aggregate while still keeping the patron’s identity completely private. We have many patrons
Patron 1 wants to make sure no one ever knows what they are reading. Tells the OPAC to not keep his reading list. Knows his PIN. Wants to make sure the public access PCs don’t retain records of the sites he’s visited. Is a bit horrified that the library data we do keep isn’t in some way encrypted or otherwise protected.
Patron 2 wants to know every book she has ever checked out. Wants the library to leave the name of the book she has on hold on her answering machine. Wants her friend to be able to pick the book up for her at the library. Doesn’t remember her PIN and finds it vaguely annoying that she needs more than her library card number to use the OPAC.
A privacy solution that works for Patron 1 becomes a usability impediment to Patron 2. While libraries have the responsibility to keep both patrons’ data safe, they also have the responsibility to be usable and accomodating to both patrons. Technology, in my opinion, can address these issues but librarians have to a) embrace it b) request it from their vendors c) be willing to tolerate the learning curve that comes with any new technology.
I’m off to the tiny library today to help them with their slow automation project. In the meantime, these are the articles I have been reading about privacy lately. They’re about the information the mailman has, not the librarian, but it could apply to any of us at our job as well. The blog post is about an NPR story following a mail carrier on her route. She talks about what she knows about the world and the economy based on what people are getting delivered. She is supposed to keep people’s mail private, and she never mentions any names. Yet, there’s a lot of metadata in mail delivery, things the mailman knows. The blog’s author wonders how simple it would be to identify the people getting mail delivered from the information the mail carrier imparts. Feel free to read the rest.
Stefano Mazzocchi has a summary of the issues in the new OCLC policy dispute. Worth reading, mostly free of handwaving. [thanks peter]
I just got back from Albany, New York where I was a presenter at Albany Public’s fifth annual Reader’s Advisory Conference. It was a fun day. I’m a night owl so I missed Nora Rawlinson’s talk in the morning. She runs the website EarlyWord which is a nifty blog+more about publishing and libraries. My talk was about Library 2.0 and what tools and tips there are in there for Reader’s Advisory.
I’ve been talking about 2.0 stuff for a while but I put together a whole new talk from the ground up just so I could get current links, examples and maybe some snappier slides. I’ve been using Keynote for more of my talks lately which allows me to have versions available for people in Keynote, PDF and PowerPoint formats. Anyone who wants to grab a copy of the talk, please feel free. I also uploaded a hyperlinked version of my Colorado Association of Libraries talk along with the slides so people can follow along and see what I was talking about.
Now that that’s all taken care of, I can say that my public speaking for 2008 is officially over except for some lingering receipts and invoicing. I really tried to push myself this year to say “Yes.” to as many people as possible and meet as many librarians as I could. It was at times totally exhausting, incredibly rewarding and, as always a huge learning experience. Next year I’ll be doing probably slightly less of the same as I help a local library here with their automation project and spend more time with my boyfriend and many good books. I will be at the Superconference and Computers in Libraries, among other places, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing me around.
Thanks to everyone who has ever been an audience member, a conference coordinator or an agreeable boss or co-worker as I’ve been doing all this stuff. It’s been a really rewarding year on the road and I hope I’ve been able to direct some of that positive energy outwards as well.
I’m as confused as you are about the Google Books settlement. I’ve found a few analyses helpful.
It’s a more “okay now walk the talk” look at what the settlement says explicitly, what it allows for, and how it should be handled.