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LITA: 2016 LITA Election Results

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 18:41

Please join us in congratulating our newly elected LITA officers:

View ALA election results on the ALA website.

DPLA: Perspectives from DPLAfest: Ebooks, Education and Building our Hubs

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 15:25

With DPLAfest 2016 larger than ever, we reached out to a few attendees ahead of the event to help us capture the (many) diverse experiences of fest participants.  These ‘special correspondents’ have graciously volunteered to share their personal perspectives on the fest.  In this first guest post by our special correspondents, Sara Stephenson, Kerry Dunne, and Emily Pfotenhauer reflect on their fest experiences from the perspectives of their fields and interests: ebooks, education, and the growing DPLA hub network.

Ebooks and Access at DPLAfest

By Sara Stephenson, Virtual Services Coordinator, St Mary’s County Library

The Library of Congress Jefferson Building, host location for DPLAfest Day 1

DPLAfest 2016 was an informative and exciting conference in a fantastic environment. The Library of Congress and the National Archives are great locations for a conference focusing on archival collections, ebooks, and access. And lunch in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building was certainly a highlight! I did not make it to any of the sessions in the Smithsonian, but I expect it was an equally ideal location.

I am a librarian in a small public library in Maryland, but I also came to DPLAfest as a representative of ReadersFirst, an organization made up of nearly 300 libraries that is working to ensure access to free and easy-to-use library ebooks. The conversations surrounding ebooks at DPLAfest were engaging and provided new information and ideas. For example, during a panel session on ebook research and advocacy in which ReadersFirst was participating, I learned about the Charlotte Initiative, a group working to research various aspects of ebooks in academic libraries in an effort to start discussions about best practices for publishers, librarians, and educators. Meeting and talking with others who work with ebooks in libraries was enlightening– so many of us are working toward the same goals and we could accomplish even more if we work together. DPLAfest facilitated this kind of communication that I believe will continue beyond the conference through the Ebook Working Group.

Though I spent most of DPLAfest thinking and talking about ebooks, I also attended a few sessions relating to archival collections and DPLA service and content hubs. It was fascinating to hear about the difficulties of connecting collections in the widespread western part of the country, and to see some of the many digital collections and exhibits using Omeka as a platform. Ultimately, I left DPLAfest 2016 with a better understanding of the ebook landscape in libraries and within DPLA, as well as a great deal of information relating to digital collections in general. I’m excited to continue the ebook conversation within my own library, within my state, and nationally.

 

Loving DC, and Thinking About Educational Applications for Digital Resources at DPLAFest

By Kerry Dunne, Director of History and Social Studies for Boston Public Schools.

I was fortunate enough to have been a member of the DPLA Education Advisory Committee over the past year, authoring primary source sets on 20th Century Mining in the Mojave DesertCreating the US ConstitutionExploration of the Americas, the American Abolitionist MovementBusing and School Desegregation in Boston, and Visual Art of the Harlem Renaissance.  The experience was fantastic, providing me with an opportunity to collaborate with top-notch educators from around the nation, and to interact directly with the DPLA site and its vast resources of primary sources.

Franky Abbott from the DPLA invited several members of the Education Advisory Committee to serve on a panel at DPLAfest discussing the Primary Source Sets project.  It was great to be able to share our work with an enthusiastic audience!  And, as I attended other sessions at DPLAFest, it brought home the point that our university, library, and public/private institutional archives, now largely digitized, are too rarely utilized by K-12 teachers.

At DPLAFest, I attend several showcase sessions, and was particularly intrigued a short presentation by a team curating TV footage via the American Archive of Public Broadcasting . Finding short news clips of historical events is a labor intensive-endeavor for history teachers, but adds tremendous value to student learning experiences;

One cannot go to DC in April without sneaking out to the tidal basin to see cherry blossoms in bloom.

I see incredible potential for developing educational applications for digital archives such as this one.  For many institutions, cataloguing and digitizing media and print collections is step one, but I would love to see the development of educational resources and training to help teachers and students access and use the collections for educational purposes become step two.

The DPLA has itself provided a model of this process with the creation of its Education Advisory Committee, which it commissioned to assist with the production of user-friendly primary source sets for educators, saving teachers the work of sifting through thousands of items by identifying 10-15 “gems” on a range of topics and providing questions for student analysis of these items.

I would be happy to work with organizations attending DPLAFest to consider how their collections can best be make accessible, and useful to educators, an endeavor that often involves more marketing than work product.  Please reach out to discuss further!

 

Building DPLA Hubs Across the Country: No Two are the Same

By Emily Pfotenhauer, Recollection Wisconsin Program Manager, WiLS

DPLAFest 2016 was my first Fest experience, and the first time Wisconsin was represented at the Fest as an official Service Hub. The Recollection Wisconsin Service Hub came on board with DPLA this past summer, and we just recently handed off our metadata feed for our first ingest (going live very soon!).

As part of a newbie Hub, I spent much of my time at DPLAfest attending presentations from fellow Hubs. It was fascinating to see such a broad range of approaches the Service Hubs are undertaking to get to the same core functions of bringing together metadata and passing it to DPLA. No two Hubs make it work in exactly the same way, but each one is built on an essential foundation of collaboration across multiple institutions in their state or region.

Kerri Willette introduces the Empire State Digital Network Service Hub

In “A Look at New York’s DPLA Service Hub from the Ground Up,” Empire State Digital Network Manager Kerri Willette and three regional liaisons – Susan D’Entremont, Laura Osterhout and Jennifer Palmentiero – shared how ESDN has leveraged existing regional collaboratives to create a robust, distributed network. The “Wide Open Spaces: Bringing the Rest of the West into DPLA” session highlighted the challenges of collaboration in western states, where populations and resources tend to be spread more thinly. Sandra McIntyre of Mountain West Digital Library and Adrian Turner of the California Digital Library described their work to sustain and expand existing initiatives, while Jodi Allison-Bunnell of Orbis Cascade Alliance outlined efforts to form a new Service Hub from scratch in the Pacific Northwest.

A pre-fest workshop for Service Hubs provided an in-depth look at the newly launched RightsStatements.org, DPLA’s groundbreaking work with Europeana to develop simplified, standardized labels for the copyright status of materials in digital collections. Presenters Melissa Levine of the University of Michigan, Greg Cram of New York Public Library and Dave Hansen of UNC School of Law shared their extensive expertise in copyright law and its impact on open access to cultural heritage (ultimately, it’s less of a barrier than we often assume). This workshop marked the beginnings of a conversation among the Service Hubs about how we can help our contributing partners adopt these rights statements in their digital collections.

For me, one of the most rewarding experiences of DPLAFest was the chance to meet in person some of the amazing people I’ve previously connected with over email, phone calls or Twitter. I now have many faces I can put with names from across the country. These face-to-face connections are especially important for me in a telecommuting position, when many workdays are just me and my laptop. To that end, I’ll close by quoting a tweet from Dan Cohen, referencing an observation by author Virginia Heffernan:

Deep truth by @page88 at #DPLAfest that I really felt at this yr’s fest—living much of your life online makes meeting in person very special

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) April 15, 2016

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Evergreen - 2.8.8

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:50
Package: EvergreenRelease Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last updated April 29, 2016. Created by gmcharlt on April 29, 2016.
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2.8.8 is the final scheduled release in the 2.8.x series (although future security releases may be made if warranted).

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Evergreen - 2.9.4

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:49

Last updated April 29, 2016. Created by gmcharlt on April 29, 2016.
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Package: EvergreenRelease Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Evergreen - 2.10.2

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:49

Last updated April 29, 2016. Created by gmcharlt on April 29, 2016.
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Package: EvergreenRelease Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016

Evergreen ILS: Evergreen 2.10.2, 2.9.4, and 2.8.8 released

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:39

On behalf of 2.10 release maintainer Galen Charlton, 2.9 release maintainer Jason Stephenson, and 2.8 release maintainer Bill Erickson, we are pleased to announced the following releases:

All three releases are bugfix releases. With these releases, support for Debian Squeeze is dropped, as that release of Debian is no longer supported or available.  Also, 2.8.8 is the last scheduled release in the 2.8.x series, although future security releases may be made if warranted.

Please visit the downloads page to retrieve the server software and staff clients.

LITA: 2016 LITA Forum – Call for Proposals, Deadline Extended

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-04-29 14:25

The LITA Forum is a highly regarded annual event for those involved in new and leading edge technologies in the library and information technology field. Please send your proposal submissions here by May 13, 2016, and join your colleagues in Fort Worth Texas.

The 2016 LITA Forum Committee seeks proposals for the 19th Annual Forum of the Library Information and Technology Association in Fort Worth Texas, November 17-20, 2016 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

Submit your proposal at this site

The Forum Committee welcomes proposals for full-day pre-conferences, concurrent sessions, or poster sessions related to all types of libraries: public, school, academic, government, special, and corporate. Collaborative and interactive concurrent sessions, such as panel discussions or short talks followed by open moderated discussions, are especially welcomed. We deliberately seek and strongly encourage submissions from underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, the LGBT community and people with disabilities.

The New Submission deadline is Friday May 13, 2016.

Proposals could relate to, but are not restricted to, any of the following topics:

  • Discovery, navigation, and search
  • Practical applications of linked data
  • Library spaces (virtual or physical)
  • User experience
  • Emerging technologies
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • Open content, software, and technologies
  • Assessment
  • Systems integration
  • Hacking the library
  • Scalability and sustainability of library services and tools
  • Consortial resource and system sharing
  • “Big Data” — work in discovery, preservation, or documentation
  • Library I.T. competencies

Proposals may cover projects, plans, ideas, or recent discoveries. We accept proposals on any aspect of library and information technology. The committee particularly invites submissions from first time presenters, library school students, and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Vendors wishing to submit a proposal should partner with a library representative who is testing/using the product.

Presenters will submit final presentation slides and/or electronic content (video, audio, etc.) to be made available on the web site following the event. Presenters are expected to register and participate in the Forum as attendees; a discounted registration rate will be offered.

If you have any questions, contact Tammy Allgood Wolf, Forum Planning Committee Chair, at tammy.wolf@asu.edu.

Submit your proposal at this site

More information about LITA is available from the LITA websiteFacebook and Twitter. Or contact Mark Beatty, LITA Programs and Marketing Specialist at mbeatty@ala.org

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Islandora for Managers at ALA

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 18:31
Date: Friday, June 24, 2016 - 13:00 to 16:00Supports: Islandora

Last updated April 28, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on April 28, 2016.
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From the announcement:

On the afternoon of Friday, June 24 from 1 - 4pm myself and Stephen Perkins will be delivering another half-day Islandora for Managers: Open Source Digital Repository Training session at the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) American Library Association (ALA) conference in Orlando, Florida. There is a registration fee for this workshop. One can purchase a ticket during the ALA conference registration process.

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Islandora for Managers at ICOR

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 18:30
Date: Monday, June 13, 2016 - 13:30 to 18:00Supports: Islandora

Last updated April 28, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on April 28, 2016.
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From the announcement:

On the afternoon of Monday, June 13 from 1:30 - 6 pm myself and Melissa Anez will be delivering a half-day Islandora for Managers workshop at the International Conference on Open Repositories at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. All are welcome. There's no charge to participate. We’ll be notifying folks when registration is open for the session.

Equinox Software: Two New Additions to NC Cardinal

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 18:12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Duluth, GA–April 28, 2016

Equinox is proud to announce that NC Cardinal, one of the largest Evergreen Consortia, now has two new members.  Iredell County Public Library and Henderson County Public Library were recently migrated to Evergreen.  These two additions bring NC Cardinal’s total library count to 143.

Henderson County has six branches and migrated over 185,000 bib records along with almost 72,000 patrons.  Iredell County has three branches and migrated 173,000 bib records and almost 41,000 patrons.  Equinox performed the migration and data extract and will continue to provide support and training.  Both libraries are now using Acquisitions within NC Cardinal.

Trina Rushing, Director at Henderson County, had this to say about the move:  “It was a pleasure working with Equinox throughout our migration process. The staff were exceptionally helpful, knowledgeable, and willing to work with us to configure our data and settings in a manner that would most benefit our community. The administration is thrilled with the cost savings that the Evergreen ILS provides and our patrons are delighted with the resource sharing opportunities. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Peggy Carter, Assistant Director at Iredell County, added:  “We’re excited to be a part of the NC Cardinal community and are looking forward to beginning resource sharing. We have enjoyed working with the NC Cardinal migration team and the Equinox staff members who helped with our migration. We have been “live” on NC Cardinal for a little more than a week now and I think we are proceeding nicely. We love being part of the Nest.”

Erica Rohlfs, Project Manager for Implementation at Equinox, remarked:  “Henderson and Iredell were amazing groups to work with during their migrations! Many staff members played an active role in the two projects. Henderson and Iredell are two sophisticated groups of librarians who thoroughly tested their data and quickly acclimated to Cardinal.”

About Equinox Software, Inc.

Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you. We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you.
For more information on Equinox, please visit http://www.esilibrary.com.

About Evergreen

Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, almost 1200 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka.
For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see http://evergreen-ils.org.

About Sequoia

Sequoia is a cloud-based library solutions platform for Evergreen, Koha, FulfILLment, and more, providing the highest possible uptime, performance, and capabilities of any library automation platform available. Sequoia was designed by Equinox engineers in order to ensure that our customers are always running the most stable, up to date version of the software they choose.
For more information on Sequoia, please visit http://esilibrary.com/what-we-do/sequoia/

DPLA: DPLAfest 2016: Post-Fest Wrap Up

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 15:00

First of all, THANK YOU to all of the attendees, presenters, sponsors, and host institutions that helped make the third annual DPLAfest a great success!  With so many great sessions, conversations, workshops (and sightseeing!) taking place at once, we wanted to be sure to share a one-stop recap of the highlights.  Whether you missed the fest, participated from afar, or are just hoping to revisit some of the great ideas shared during the conference, look no further!  This post is your guide to the news, notes, media, and other materials associated with the DPLAfest 2016.

Announcements & Milestones

DPLAfest 2016 Opening Session at the Library of Congress

  • A growing network: DPLA now has over 13 million items from 1,900 contributing institutions
  • Debut of RightsStatements.org, a collaborative approach to rights statements that can be used to communicate the copyright status of cultural objects
  • 100 Primary Source Sets now published for educators and students
  • Open eBooks launched this spring to a great reception with over 1.4 million access codes distributed to date
  • DPLA looks forward to partnering with the Library of Congress
  • And…we’re on Instagram!

For more details about each of these announcements and milestones, check out our DPLAfest press release and our announcement launching RightsStatements.org.

Slides and notes

To find presentation slides and notes from DPLAfest 2016 sessions, visit the online agenda (click on each session to find attached slides and links to notes, where available).

Recorded Sessions

The DPLAfest Opening Plenary session is now available on the DPLAfest 2016 videos page.  We are currently processing recordings of additional sessions, which will be available in the coming months. Stay tuned for more video content.

        

Tweets

The first official DPLA selfie. Follow us on Instagram @digpublib.

If you weren’t able to make it to the fest (or if you just want to re-live it), check out the fantastic online conversation on Twitter using hashtag  or read our selection of posts on Storify.

Special thanks to the many DPLAfest attendees who helped capture each session on social media!

Instagram

We were excited to see great content contributed by fest participants on our newest social media platform – check out photos from our attendees.

We would like to give a special shout-out to Richard Naples (@drastician), the winner of the 2016 DPLAfest Instagram Challenge!

Sponsors

The Digital Public Library of America wishes to thank its generous DPLAfest Sponsors:

  • TextHelp
  • Digital Transitions, Division of Cultural Heritage
  • CLIR Digital Library Federation

DPLA also wishes to thank its gracious hosts:

  • Library of Congress
  • US National Archives and Records Administration
  • Smithsonian Institution
Photos

Storify Already excited for next year? We are too! Apply to host DPLAfest 2017

DPLAfest host organizations are essential contributors to one of the most prominent gatherings in the country involving librarians, archivists, and museum professionals, developers and technologists, publishers and authors, teachers and students, and many others who work together to further the mission of providing maximal access to our shared cultural heritage.

  • For colleges and universities, DPLAfest is the perfect opportunity to directly engage your students, educators, archivists, librarians and other information professionals in the work of a diverse national community of information and technology leaders.
  • For public libraries, hosting DPLAfest brings the excitement and enthusiasm of our community right to your hometown, enriching your patrons’ understanding of library services through free and open workshops, conversations, and more.
  • For museums, archives, and other cultural heritage institutions, DPLAfest is a great way to promote your collections and spotlight innovative work taking place at your organization.

It’s also a chance to promote your institution nationally and internationally, given the widespread media coverage of DPLAfest and the energy around the event.  Look for our formal call for proposals very soon!

Library of Congress: The Signal: The Astrophysics Source Code Library

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 13:10

This is a guest post by Nicole Contaxis.

Example submissions for the Astrophysics Source Code Library: http://ascl.net/code/all

On April 12th2016, Alice Allen, editor of the Astrophysics Source Code Library, came to the National Library of Medicine to speak with National Digital Stewardship Residency participants, mentors and visitors about the importance of software as a research object and about why the ASCL is a necessary and effective resource for the astronomy and astrophysics academic communities.

Astrophysicists and astronomers frequently write their own code to do their research, and this code helps them interpret and manipulate large data sets. These codes, as an integral part of the research process, are important to share for two reasons: (1) they increase the efficiency of work by allowing code to be re-used and (2) it helps ensure the transparency of scientific research.

Yet, difficulties persist when it comes to encouraging researchers to share source code, regardless of the benefits. Allen talked about how researchers are reluctant to share code that may be “messy” and that creating this source code library requires community engagement and change management. She spoke about studying the impact of non-traditional scholarly outputs, like code, and the issues of scholarly publishing. Allen showed how ASCL has helped allow journal authors cite code, which had been a far more difficult procedure earlier. The ASCL assigns Digital Object Identifiers — persistent and unique identifiers — to source code in their library, which means that future academics can cite that code, even if that code is not featured in a journal article or a more traditional academic resource.

Image from the Visible Human Project at the National Library of Medicine.

The discussion turned to the difficulties of grant-based funding. The ASCL is basically unfunded, and all labor, including Allen’s, is voluntary. While talking about other code libraries that have lost funding and closed, Allen talked about how grant-funding, which runs on two- to five-year cycles, does not provide enough time to fully engage a community with a resource, regardless of how well that resource is designed, implemented and managed. Funding, as a universal source of concern, was a common point of interest, even for attendees without experience working with software or code.

The session included a tour of Visual Human Project, which is an NLM project that collects extensive data on a male and female cadaver, allowing artists and researchers to visualize that data in new and exciting ways.

District Dispatch: ALA selects Nick Gross as Google Policy Fellow

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 06:24

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) announced that Nick Gross will serve as its 2016 Google Policy Fellow. As part of his summer fellowship, Gross will spend ten weeks in Washington, D.C. working on technology and Internet policy issues. As a Google Policy Fellow, Gross will explore diverse areas of information policy, such as copyright law, e-book licenses and access, information access for underserved populations, telecommunications policy, digital literacy, online privacy, the future of libraries, and others. Google, Inc. pays the summer stipends for the fellows and the respective host organizations determine the fellows’ work agendas.

Nick Gross

Gross will work for the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), a unit of the association that works to ensure the library voice in information policy debates and promote full and equitable intellectual participation by the public. Gross is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, specializing in media law and policy. He completed a J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with an undergraduate degree in international relations. Gross was a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and is a member of the California Bar.

“ALA is pleased to participate once again in the Google Policy Fellowship program as it has from its inception,” said Alan S. Inouye, director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. “We look forward to working with Nick Gross on information policy topics that leverage his strong background and advance library interests as we prepare for the next presidential Administration.”

Find more information the Google Policy Fellowship Program

The post ALA selects Nick Gross as Google Policy Fellow appeared first on District Dispatch.

DuraSpace News: Find Out Why DuraCloud Gets High Hosted Service Marks–in 3 Minutes

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 00:00

Austin, TX  If you need a flexible service that allows you to easily access and manage actively-used digital content that also requires long-term preservation, then DuraCloud is your solution. Learn more about DuraCloud and DuraCloud Vault, and the differences between these two types of hosted digital preservation services, in this three-minute Quickbyte broadcast from DuraSpace: https://youtu.be/lSvfxrnF7z0

DuraSpace News: SoCal Fedora Camp at Caltech

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-04-28 00:00

Austin, TX  The most recent Fedora camp in Pasadena, California was hosted by the Caltech Library at the California Institute of Technology's Keck Institute for Space Studies.

M. Ryan Hess: Google Analytics and Privacy

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:53

Collecting web usage data through services like Google Analytics is a top priority for any library. But what about user privacy?

Most libraries (and websites for that matter) lean on Google Analytics to measure website usage and learn about how people access their online content. It’s a great tool. You can learn about where people are coming from (the geolocation of their IP addresses anyway), what devices, browsers and operating systems they are using. You can learn about how big their screen is. You can identify your top pages and much much more.

Google Analytics is really indispensable for any organization with an online presence.

But then there’s the privacy issue.

Is Google Analytics a Privacy Concern?

The question is often asked, what personal information is Google Analytics actually collecting? And then, how does this data collection jive with our organization’s privacy policies.

It turns out, as a user of Google Analytics, you’ve already agreed to publish a privacy document on your site outlining the why and what of your analytics program. So if you haven’t done so, you probably should if only for the sake of transparency.

Personally Identifiable Data

Fact is, if someone really wanted to learn about a particular person, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that they could glean a limited set of personal attributes from the generally anonymized data Google Analytics collects. IP addresses can be loosely linked to people. If you wanted to, you could set up filters in Google Analytics that look at a single IP.

Of course, on the Google side, any user that is logged into their Gmail, YouTube or other Google account, is already being tracked and identified by Google. This is a broadly underappreciated fact. And it’s a critical one when it comes to how approach the question of dealing with the privacy issue.

In both the case of what your organization collects with Google Analytics and what all those web trackers, including Google’s trackers, collect, the onus falls entirely on the user.

The Internet is Public

Over the years, the Internet has become a public space and users of the Web should understand it as such. Everything you do, is recorded and seen. Companies like Google, Facebook, Mircosoft, Yahoo! and many, many others are all in the data mining business. Carriers and Internet Service Providers are also in this game. They deploy technologies in websites that identify you and then sell what your interests, shopping habits, web searches and other activities are to companies interested in selling to you. They’ve made billions on selling your data.

Ever done a search on Google and then seen ads all over the Web trying to sell you that thing you searched last week? That’s the tracking at work.

Only You Can Prevent Data Fires

The good news is that with little effort, individuals can stop most (but not all) of the data collection. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have plugins like Ghostery, Avast and many others that will block trackers.

Google Analytics can be stopped cold by these plugins. But it won’t solve all the problems. Users also need to set up their browsers to delete cookies websites save to their browsers. And moving off of accounts provided from data mining companies “for free” like Facebook accounts, Gmail and Google.com can also help.

But you’ll never be completely anonymous. Super cookies are a thing and are very difficult to stop without breaking websites. And some trackers are required in order to load content. So sometimes you need to pay with your data to play.

Policies for Privacy Conscious Libraries

All of this means that libraries wishing to be transparent and honest about their data collection, need to also contextualize the information in the broader data mining debate.

First and foremost, we need to educate our users on what it means to go online. We need to let them know its their responsibility alone to control their own data. And we need to provide instructions on doing so.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an opt-in model. That’s too bad. It actually would be great if the world worked that way. But don’t expect the moneyed interests involved in data mining to allow the US Congress to pass anything that cuts into their bottom line. This ain’t Germany, after all.

There are ways with a little javascript to create a temporary opt-in/opt-out feature to your site. This will toggle tags added by Google Tag Manager on and off with a single click. But let’s be honest. Most people will ignore it. And if they do opt-out, it will be very easy for them to overlook everytime without a much more robust opt-in/opt-out functionality baked in to your site. But for most sites and users, this is asking alot. Meanwhile, it diverts attention from the real solution: users concerned about privacy need to protect themselves and not take a given websites word for it.

We actually do our users a service by going with the opt-out model. This underlines the larger privacy problems on the Wild Wild Web, which our sites are a part of.


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