Assessing the Treatment of Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 Literature

  • Michael Zimmer School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


As libraries begin to embrace Web 2.0 technologies to serve patrons – ushering in the era of Library 2.0 – unique dilemmas arise regarding protection of patron privacy. The norms of Web 2.0 promote the open sharing of information – often personal information – and the design of many Library 2.0 services capitalize on access to patron information and might require additional tracking, collection and aggregation of patron activities. Thus, embracing Library 2.0 potentially threatens the traditional ethics of librarianship, where protecting patron privacy and intellectual freedom has been held paramount. As a step towards informing the decisions to implement Library 2.0 to adequately protect patron privacy, we must first understand how such concerns are being articulated within the professional discourse surrounding these next generation library tools and services. The study presented in this paper aims to determine whether and how issues of patron privacy are introduced, discussed, and settled – if at all – within trade publications utilized by librarians and related information professionals

Author Biography

Michael Zimmer, School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Michael Zimmer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and director of the Center for Information Policy Research. With a background in new media and Internet studies, the philosophy of technology, and information policy & ethics, Zimmer’s research focuses on the ethical dimensions of new media and information technologies, with particular interest in privacy, social media, internet research ethics, and values-in-design.
How to Cite
Zimmer, M. (2013). Assessing the Treatment of Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 Literature. Information Technology and Libraries, 32(2), 29-41.