LSJ Editors' Blog: Rory Litwin on Library 2.0 privacy issues

23 May 2006

Rory Litwin on Library 2.0 privacy issues

Rory Litwin over at Library Juice has written this very interesting piece about the privacy issues inherent in Library 2.0. His summary of the issue:

The basic idea of Library 2.0, to transform library services by making them more personalized, more interactive, and more web-based along Web 2.0 lines, has a logic to it that is ineluctable and exciting. I am strongly in favor of the Library 2.0 idea, but want to raise what I think is an important note of caution and consideration as we more forward with experiments with library services that are modeled on Web 2.0 principles. The difficulty that I think we have to grapple with in considering the Library 2.0 idea is that libraries and Web 2.0 services are based on serving two very different essential activities, and those activities have an opposite relationship to privacy.
I agree with Rory that there are important issues here that deserve more attention, and I echo his concluding remarks: "I would like to see more discussion of privacy in relation to Library 2.0 innovations. I also hope we will be very conscious of the ways in which these ideas sometimes offer to introduce new, social purposes to libraries, beyond just offering new ways of fulfilling already-existing purposes." My own sense is that too much time is spent comparing Library 1.0 and Library 2.0 and asking Which is better? and not enough time exploring ways to incorporate Library 2.0 ideas in a responsible way.

A quick intro to Library 2.0 for those new to the concept...

"Library 2.0" is simply the application of "Web 2.0" concepts in a library setting. Web 2.0 is a conception of the Web as a social network system that relies on user-created content, as seen in websites like Myspace and Flickr. This blog is Web 2.0. I've linked some of the keywords above to Wikipedia, a very useful Web 2.0 tool. One can argue that Web 2.0 is more organized, but via folksonomies rather than traditional taxonomies.Web 2.0 is a DIY Web in which those of us who are not inclined towards tech savviness can create sophisticated applications even though we don't understand the technology behind it. Web 2.0 is about making the technology more invisible and the social interaction more real. It is not that Web 1.0 will evolve into Web 2.0 at a future time; Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 currently coexist.

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