Tuesday, January 31, 2006

User Privacy

I have long suspected that users are more into privacy than access but this was just based on instincts not empirical data. Although the popularity of sites such as Bugmenot: Bypass Compulsory Registration constitutes some sort of empirical data, I guess. It was most interesting to read the following extract from the ACRLog that appears to confirm this: "A 2005 study by Steven Johns and Karen Lawson provides some hard numbers to gauge student attitudes about privacy and the library. In the debate between personalization and privacy only 23% of students at Iowa State University felt that “developing student profiles for the purpose of enhancing the Library’s collection and services constituted justifiable use.” So before you go bibliomining your circ database or developing a user community around archived email reference questions, you may want to check out “University undergraduate students and library-related privacy issues” in Library & Information Science Research, 27 (Sept 2005) 485-495. Source: http://acrlblog.org/2006/01/11. Unfortunately, this research isn't openly available :(.

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