I threw my hat into the ring to be on the LITA Top Tech Trends panel at the ALA annual conference later this month in San Francisco, and never could I say that I was more excited not to be selected. (You can find more info on this year’s Top Tech Trends session in the ALA Conference Scheduler.) There is a great lineup of panelists this year:
Welcome to the Disruptive Library Technology Jester. From here you can browse the musings and visions of a library technologist as he walks the fine line between the best of the library profession on one side and the best of technology on the other.
In just a few weeks there will be a gathering of 25,000 librarians in the streets of San Francisco for the American Library Association annual meeting. The topics on my mind as the meeting draws closer? How patrons intersect with advertising and privacy when using our services. What one person can do to level the information access divide using free software. Where is technology in our society going to take us next. Heady topics for heady times.
One of the things discussed in the NISO patron privacy conference calls has been the need for transparency with patrons about what information is being gathered about them and what is done with it. The recent announcement by Google of a "My Account" page and a privacy question/answer site got me thinking about what such a system might look like for libraries. Google and libraries are different in many ways, but one similarity we share is that people use both to find information. (This is not the only use of Google and libraries, but it is a primary use.) Might we be able to learn something about how Google puts users in control of their activity data? Even though our motivations and ethics are different, I think we can.
Yesterday Bobbi Newman posted Thinking Out Loud About Patron Privacy and Libraries on her blog. Both of us are on the NISO committee to develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems, and her article sounded a note of discouragement that I hope to dispel while also outlining what I’m hoping to see come out of the process. I think we share a common belief: the privacy of our patron’s activity data is paramount to the essence of being a library. I want to pull out a couple of sentences from her post: