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:
I was asked recently to prepare a 15 minute presentation on lessons learned working with a remote team hosting open source applications. The text of that presentation is below with links added to more information. Photographs are from DPLA and Flickr, and are used under Public Domain or Creative Commons derivatives-okay licenses. Photographs link to their sources.
Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a short talk at the second virtual meeting of the NISO effort to reach a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems. The slides from the presentation are below and on SlideShare, followed by a cleaned-up transcript of my remarks.
This article has been translated into Polish.
Over the next couple months, NISO is managing a project to “develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems.”1 I’m honored and excited to be on the panel exploring this topic and creating the recommendations as this is a topic I’ve written about extensively on this blog. In May and June, NISO is conducting virtual meetings on four topics that will lead up to a day and a half in-person discussion at the ALA annual meeting at the end of June in San Francisco. Reproduced below is the invitation for people to listen in on the virtual meeting discussions.
I hope (and expect) that there will be a twitter hashtag for those participating in the call (whether on the panel or in the audience) to add their thoughts.