Assessing the Treatment of Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 Literature

Michael Zimmer


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

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