Monday, November 21, 2005

NYT: Privacy vs Convenience

I am behind on my newspaper reading so I just, this evening, read the Sunday New York Times. The Week In Review section has an article on libraries and data and privacy, "Books for Lending, Data for Taking."

Nothing earthshattering in the article but I was glad to see the mainstream media recognize the "rock and a hard place" position libraries are in with regard to mining data to personalize users' experiences.

That said, as I have suggested many times in presentations, there has to be a way libraries can offer increased personalization to users as a deliberate choice. If my library asked, I would risk my personal data as an exchange for personalized information...Alane, you clearly like Alice Munro...may we send you some recommendations based on this? Readers' advisory for the web.

Blanket policies don't really work anymore. Libraries need to accommodate convenience as well as privacy, but on a sliding scale, not an absolute one.

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