Full Text of ARL SPEC Kit 278 on Library Patron Privacy Now Online

Almost a decade ago while at the University of Connecticut I conducted a survey of ARL libraries on their patron privacy practices. The full text of that survey and ARL member responses are available from Google Books and from HathiTrust. Lee Anne George of ARL confirmed via e-mail that permission has been given for full view of SPEC Kits up through 2005 as well as other ARL publications. Lee Anne said that there are over 400 titles now in full view.

This information is most likely of historical interest only — privacy on the internet has certainly moved from where it was eight years ago. The survey was done right at the height of concern over the USA PATRIOT Act and when models like the TRUSTe were gaining traction. (I don’t think the need for explicit privacy policies and defined practices has gone away. But any policy drafted on the interent the way it was eight years ago probably needs to be reviewed and updated.) So I’m glad that ARL has decided to make this and similar studies openly available.