Library Security and Insecurity – A Brief Risk Assessment

Posted to Best of Publib:

Library Security and Insecurity : Sacramento Public Library , Ocean State Libraries and The Library Connection

Library Security and Insecurity  – A Brief Risk Assessment

~ Robert L. Balliot, MLIS

Anne Frontino of the Haddonfield Public Library in New Jersey queried the PubLib Listserve about  privacy and possible misuse of library barcodes on smartphones remarking:

Our library is considering allowing patrons to use barcodes scanned onto their smart phones to check out books.  …    We have only had a few instances of patrons trying this method of checking out items, but we feel that there may be some privacy or other misuse issues lurking.

Responses varied from Manya Shorr of the Sacramento Public Library advocating for use of barcodes without requiring authentication  to Dale McNeill of the Queens Library advocating familiar authentication such as PINs.  

It was obvious that there is no universally accepted standard for securing library user information, yet privacy is a cornerstone of libraries, library ethics, and the library profession.  In fact, a privacy guarantee may be the one thing in the information age that sets libraries apart from other massive information resources.  It may be the singular added value that provides validation of libraries as a public service.

Library records and library use are afforded privacy protection by statute and / or published opinions in the fifty States and the District of Columbia. Many states have enacted Security Breach notification laws and Data Disposal laws that safeguard privacy. Library user privacy is also championed by the American Library Association  Code of Ethics specifically through Article III:  

We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted. ~~   read more


Culture of the Book, Gutenberg Parenthesis and new ways of learning

This article was posted on Best of Publib:   Culture of the Book, Gutenberg Parenthesis and new ways of learning .  The reaction to the content was mixed on PubLib and Web4Lib listserves, and even a bit troubling.  Out of thousands of Librarians who are affected by these changes, only one person commented on the intellectual aspects of the Gutenberg Parenthesis. The  comments from the Web4Lib readership were about having to copy and paste a link because their e-mail could not handle long URLs. 

That focus on method – where it is seen as too much effort to retype a URL – may be yet another aspect of the Gutenberg Parenthesis.  As the availability to content has sped up, the value of the information is relative to the ease of access.  Twenty years ago, it was uncommon to do research online.  Access to scholarly resource meant physically going to a building, locating the article, and usually photocopying it.  Now, the action of having to move one’s thumbs a bit on a Smartphone keyboard seems daunting.  If there is no effort at obtaining information, then the most relevant information may merely be what is the easiest to access. So, even with greater access to information we may become less intelligent as human societies.

Best of Web4Lib 03.03.10

Best of Web4Lib Current Topics and Archives

Best of PubLib and Best of Web4Lib TVComing Soon!

This edition  of  Best of Web4Lib covers the month of February 2010. This month includes questions about digitization projects, thought-provoking discussions about the intrinsic and explicit value of library conferences, configuring analytics,  and the meaning of various acronyms. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:

The Web4Lib Archives

The Web4Lib archives of Web4Lib the Webjunction  listserve are searchable and browseable. Please note:  HTML is stripped out of achives. Compose in plaintext or richtext.


Best of Web4Lib Feature : Virtual Reference

Virtual Reference : Legal Research Study Aids

This Virtual Reference video  on Youtube explores the topic of Legal Research Study Aids.   The conversation takes place between Hololibrarian characters – Bonnie Bright, a second year law school student and Michael Mulligan, a first year law school student.  The five print resources covered are available at most law school libraries along with many academic and public libraries.  Study aids and resources reviewed include :

The popular on-line legal research tutorial database from The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction  (CALI) is also cited and referenced.

This Legal Research Study Aids video is about four minutes in length, and employs multi-layer learning dynamics – including text, body language, and graphic transitions. The conversation takes place between peers and is targeted towards peer consumption with subsequent referral to higher authorities (law librarians).  The video is rendered in HD format, and can be scaled up to large screen applications.  As a YouTube video, it will also scale down nicely for hand-held media devices.


Best of Web4Lib 02.01.10

Best of Web4Lib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This first edition  of  Best of Web4Lib covers the month of January 2010. This month includes questions about library job descriptions, thought-provoking discussions about library database marketing , library link placement,  and the effectiveness of library jargon. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:

The Web4Lib Archives

The Web4Lib archives of Web4Lib the Webjunction  listserve are searchable and browseable.