Director, Library Technology & Knowledge Management
Director, Web Development, Libraries
University of Minnesota
Patron privacy has a deep, historical presence in libraries, a presence increasing in complexity as the information economy broadens its reach across online platforms. A study of the user tracking mechanisms in place on publisher platforms shows that many publishers are engaged in efforts to profile and identify library users, even without the identifying information that could be provided by libraries through federated authentication. Whether by design or accident, many publishers are sharing library usage data and potentially personally identifying information with advertisers, data brokers, and other commercial entities. The use of institutional identity management systems is increasing across a variety of library systems, and work is currently underway in defining a common configuration implementing this technology for use on commercial publisher platforms (see RA21). Components enabling this authentication & authorization (SSO/SAML/Trust Federations) will be discussed, as well as concerns surrounding patron privacy and its potential for financial exploitation. Following the talk will be an open discussion on strategies to abate these (perceived) unnecessary flows of information.