Director Digital Library Applications
New York Public Library
Library Technology Guides
Chief Executive Officer
As libraries become more reliant on networked-based services, they are increasingly swept between a Scylla and Charybdis of user data, with mandated user protections on one side and the desire to build personalized services on the other. The proliferation of search engine optimization (SEO), Web analytics, and user tracking results in much greater leakage of user data across the Web, particularly into ad-sharing and social networks, while at the same time libraries seek to utilize these identical tools to construct their own content recommending and service integrations that make use of online libraries as seamless as other well-designed Internet sites, while generating new data that are increasingly susceptible to hacking. The panel will discuss these conflicting privacy challenges and survey the real-world data environments that libraries are working in. The session will also cover the ramifications of new services more resembling commercial Web tools than the mainframe online public access catalogs (OPAC) of yore, and the need to shift the debate on privacy guidelines to a more realistic baseline. Examples of unexpectedly widespread user tracking and data dissemination on the open Internet from existing library services, some managed by third parties, will be shared, as will a survey of the security practices of the major integrated library system (ILS) vendors, with particular attention on back end data encryption practices.