Another thought-provoking ACRL conference session was Edward Corrado's presentation: "Privacy and Library 2.0: Do They Conflict?" Ed, the library systems guy at the College of New Jersey Library, reminded his audience that we've long attempted to protect patron privacy by reducing the number and duration of patron records to a minimum. However, those shiny new Web 2.0 resources like RSS feeds and blogs can create quite a trail of user interests.
To find out what we think about this, Ed conducted a Web-based survey among the members of several library email lists in September 2006. Nearly 85% of his respondents said privacy issues are a great concern, and 75% thought librarians should address privacy issues in library instruction sessions. However, only 8% said they post any warnings about privacy at links to websites, databases, and other resources on their websites.
Ultimately, Ed concluded, librarians need to lobby for laws that protect library patron privacy in these areas.
Food for thought
As we consider taking our library farther into Library 2.0, what privacy issues should we consider?
Should we provide privacy / confidentiality warnings on the library website? Would these discourage students from using these resources?
How could we educate students about Web 2.0 privacy concerns in library instructions sessions?