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Updated: 7/24/2009


HathiTrust Lawsuit Decision Reaffirms Libraries in the Digital Age, October 15, 2012
Short news release with the main points from the decision. Shorter even yet: storage of books digitized by Google, and use of the texts to create a keyword index to the books, was determined by Judge Harold Baer Jr., US District Court, to be "fair use." This is a win for libraries, and a win for the users they serve.
The Automation of Rights. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 3, pp. 326-329.
Copyright law creates legal protection for works in any fixed format, whether analog or digital. But actual protection, that is, the prevention of copying, is much more difficult for digital works than it is for those in physical formats. Digital works can be covered by licenses that mandate certain uses, or they could have actual technical protection measures. This article looks at digital rights in a broad sense, and its effect on libraries. Preprint
Descriptive Metadata for Copyright Status, First Monday, October, 2005
The result of work I've been doing on the rights framework for the California Digital Library, this paper introduces the concept of adding copyright-related metadata to the descriptive metadata for digital objects. More information about the CDL project (and perhaps some context for this work) is at http://www.cdlib.org/inside/projects/rights/.
Review: Free Culture, by Lawrence Lessig, Information Technology and Libraries, December, 2004, pp. 198-199
My review of Larry Lessig's third book. The book is a very readable account of the interaction of copyright and culture, all told through stories of real people, from the Wright Brothers to college students using p2p technology (and getting caught). Yes, a book on copyright that you can take on vacation!
Rights Expression Languages, a white paper for the Library of Congress, February, 2004.
This report uses four rights languages (CreativeCommons, METSRights, Open Digital Rights Language, and the MPEG21/Part5) to develop a taxonomy of purposes of RELs and to explore how they approach the goals that I call "Copyright, Contract and Control." If your question is: "which REL should I use?" this will not answer your question but it may gave you information that will help you make an informed choice.
The Technology of Rights: Digital Rights Management, November, 2003
I gave a lecture at the Library of Congress on November 19, 2003 on the topic of digital rights management. It was filmed and is available to view online. I have also written out the talk and it is now available in PDF format as a single, downloadable document, or as a four-part html document for viewing online.
Debate on the Future of Intellectual Property, April, 2002
At the 12th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy meeting I was on a panel debating the future of intellectual property, in particular the issue of how copyright law is constraining technology. Other panelists included John Perry Barlow, Steve Metalitz of the IIPA, and fellow named Wrenn from Yahoo. As is so often the case, I was the only woman on the panel, and the only librarian. Oh, and I had five minutes to make my case. What you can't see here is that at the point when I said "I am of course talking about librarians" the audience burst into applause. If you, reader, are a librarian, then that applause was for you. I wish you could have heard it!

And now you can hear it, thanks to Tim DeWolf. Applause!

Review of: Digital Copyright, by Jessica Litman. In: Information Technology and Libraries, December 2001
Just in case you're not in the mood to read the 30,000-word Digital Milennium Copyright Act, and suspect that if you did you won't understand much of it, Jessica Litman, law professor from Wayne State U, has provided an incredibly insightful study of how we got where we are with copyright in the US. This is not a dry dissertation on legal minutiae, but a fascinating and clever work of social analysis. Yes, a book about copyright that is a good read!
What the Copyright Office Got Wrong, October, 2001
As part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), the Copyright Office was charged with managing an ongoing process of evaluating how technology developments are affecting the copyright law. In June, 2000 they asked for comments on the effect of technology on sections 109 and 117 of title 17, United States Code, otherwise known as "first sale." In August of 2001 the Copyright Office issued its report, a document that is shocking in its misinterpretation of technology and law, and dangerous in its conclusions. Here's what they got wrong... and perhaps right.
Comments on Section 104, August, 2000
The Copyright Office asked for comments on Section 104 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. I chose to do a short study of current DRMS (digital rights management systems) and how those affect readers' rights to first sale. If you aren't familiar with first sale, it is a part of the copyright law that says that once you have purchased a copyrighted item (a book, a video, a music CD) you can dispose of it as you wish, with "dispose" meaning sell, give away or lend. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible with digital materials and the rights of readers are clearly diminishing under these new communications formats.
New Models in Information Ownership (Berkeley, August 29, 1997)
This talk was given at an institute sponsored by the University of California on Information Futures: Thriving in the Electronic Age. In it, I cover copyright and the licensing of digital materials. Licenses must respect the complex of relationships within the library environment such as lending agreements, shared acquisition and ILL. In a perfect world, the information ecology in which we operate would be the same for all library materials regardless of format. In this imperfect world, we have to pay extra attention to issues of public access when we sign contracts for digital resources.
Copyright in the Digital Age (San Francisco, August 7, 1996)
This is a copy of a talk I did with Howard Besser that we subtitled: Threats to Public Access In the Digital Age. I focused on the proposed changes to the copyright law and the underlying assumption of many copyright holders that the digital age should give them the right to control not only copying but all use of their products. It's a very frightening possibility.
Testimony on the Green Paper on Copyright, 1996
These are some notes I made regarding the hearings that were held to gather information (well, a lot of opinions) about the content of the Green Paper on Copyright. The hearings were held in 1994 and contain some very revealing statements from various stakeholders. Much of this is repeated in the talk listed above, "Copyright in the Digital Age" and in the piece on copyright that I included in my book for ALA (Coyle's Information Highway Handbook).


FRBR, Twenty Years On. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly (2014):1-21 DOI:10.1080/01639374.2014.943446
[Open Access Preprint]
Published abstract: The article analyzes the conceptual model of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) as a general model of bibliographic data and description that can be interpreted, as needed, to serve the needs of various communities. This is illustrated with descriptions of five different implementations based on the concepts in FRBR: FRBRER (entity-relation), FRBROO (object oriented), FRBRCore (FRBR entities as linked data), indecs (FRBR entities within the commerce model), and FaBiO (FRBR as a basis for academic document types). The author argues that variant models show the strength of the FRBR concepts, and should be encouraged.

This article is an attempt to introduce the idea that there is no single, immutable model for the metadata of intellectual and creative resources. Rather that hitting this head-on, I show that there have been various interpretations of the bibliographic model that we know as "FRBR." This will obviously not sit well with the folks commonly referred to as the "FRBR purists" but it is more closely in line with the reality of actual metadata in use today.

Baker-Coyle-Petiya: Multi-Entity Models of Resource Description in the Semantic Web: A comparison of FRBR, RDA, and BIBFRAME.
Published in: Library Hi Tech, v. 32, n. 4, 2014 pp 562-582 DOI:10.1108/LHT-08-2014-0081 Open access preprint.

There are now three different models of bibliographic data in the library environment that define the bibliographic resource as consisting of mlultiple entities: FRBR has work, expression, manifestation and item; RDA follows FRBR, but not the OWL implementation of the FRBR ontology (FRBRer); and BIBFRAME, which has work and instance. This article looks at the way that each of these has been implemented in RDF/OWL and points out some possibly unexpected consequences from the way that these ontologies have been defined.

Library Technology Reports on Linked Data
Mass Digitization of Books. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 6, November, 2006, pp. 641-645.
Mass digitization of the bound volumes that we generally call "books" has begun, and, thanks to the interest in Google and all that it does, it is getting widespread media attention even though libraries have been experimenting with digitization of books for at least a decade. What is different today from some earlier digitization of books is not just the scale of these new initiatives, but the quality of "mass." Preprint.
Technology and the Return on Investment. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 5, August, 2006, pp. 537-539.
Libraries purchase and use a lot of technology, as do all businesses and organizations today. However, when the time comes to make a major purchase, few librarians approach the purchase in terms of return on investment. There is an assumption that, being non-profit service organizations, ROI does not apply to libraries. It can, but not in the traditional business sense. Preprint DOI
Identifiers: Unique, Persistent, Global. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 4, July, 2006, pp. 428-431.
Identifiers are essential elements of any automated system. They make it possible to point to, retrieve, and refer to objects. Without identifiers most of our computer systems would cease to function. It's odd, therefore, that the creation of identifiers is often considered a minor part of a project, with little thought as to the long term ramifications. This article talks about some of the common characteristics of identifiers (uniqueness, persistence, global-ness) and what these mean for the management of technology. Preprint
Proud to Swim Home: New Orleans After Katrina. June, 2006
One Word: Digital. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 2, March, 2006, pp. 205-207.
In 1967, the year of The Graduate, the one word was "plastics." Today our word is "digital." But like 1967's term, ours represents a wide range of different meanings. This article offers some of the different meanings of "digital" based on the intended functions of the format: there are digital formats intended for preservation, for machine-manipulation, for end-user viewing, etc. Clarity of purpose will help us move forward with digitization projects and treatment of our born digital resources. [preprint]
Unicode: The Universal Character Set. Part 1: The Computer and Language. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 31, n. 6, pp. 590-592.
We use computers every day to write, and most of us mainly use computers to write, as opposed to doing what would otherwise be thought of as computation. However, getting computers to work with language has been a long struggle, and it is only now that we are reaching a point where computers will be able to represent all writing systems, current and past. That they can do so is because of a standard called Unicode. This article gives some basics on how computers manage to act like writing machines, and what we have gained with a Universal Character Set. Preprint
XrML: A History of Usage Rights
In the course of preparing the white paper on rights expression languages for the Library of Congress I found most of the versions of XrML to date and read through them. This is an informal analysis of the evolution of the usage rights data elements in XrML/MPEG-21. It begins with DPRL and the 1994 patent and goes up through the Open eBook Forum extensions to MPEG-21 in 2004. Included is the "lost" version of XrML, version 2.1, that was presented to the OASIS committee on rights languages but never appeared elsewhere.
Scheduling Ourselves to Death, August, 2003
This was originally the introduction to a talk I gave on technology and policy at the 2003 Amigos conference. Although meeting scheduling software is not a policy issue, I used this software as an example to show how technology can change our behavior if we don't stop and think: why am I doing this?! This may become the first entry in a series called Software I Hate.
A Review of: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, September, 2000
This fascinating book by Lawrence Lessig gives us a whole new perspective on the question: who should govern Cyberspace? And if you think the answer is "Nobody", you should definitely read this book. While there definitely is "no government like no government" there's no guarantee that "no government" is going to be more like a great party than it will be like an inquisition.
DRM Basics (4-part html, or 1-part PDF)
This is a simple explanation of how digital rights management works. It describes the mechanism that ties the use of a file to a particular device, and why that is the predominant method of protecting digital files. It sounds complicated, but it really is quite simple! Read on!
Information Granfalloons, September, 1999
This is a short, purely whimsical piece that arose out of a recent reading of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. Imagine my surprise to find that it is being used to promote the e-book version of Vonnegut's book on the Rosettabooks site.
Why Librarians Should Rule the Net (April 10, 1997, Fort Worth, Texas)
This is a talk I gave at the Texas Library Association meeting. I have added the text of my talk to the slides so this is a kind of do-it-yourself slide show. (The bluebonnets were in bloom along the side of the highway, and Texas hospitality is the best!)
Home Alone (December, 1996)
This is a piece I wrote in response to that amazing Packard Bell computer ad (which you can view in MOV format, or in AVI format). In the ad, Packard Bell presents a frightening view of the world (including librarians as nazi-like soldiers!) and then asks: "Wouldn't you rather be at home?" This ad is clearly in imitation of the famous Apple Computer ad that promised liberation from 1984-type conformism ... only this time, you save yourself and leave the others behind.
Growing Our Information Future (Ethics of the Internet Seminar, Berkeley, CA, Nov., 1995)
Is it enough to resolve the technological issues of access to the Information Highway, or do we have moral and ethical questions that also have to be addressed? Well, rather than keep you guessing,
Will the Net Replace Television?(November, 1997)
The UN held something called the "World Television Forum" and I was asked to write a short piece for web site on the topic of the Internet vs. Television. I was astonished to find myself listed on the same page as Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller. Clearly, the UN promotes a diversity of viewpoints.
Universal Access (Stanford, January, 1995)
In January of 1995, I gave the keynote speech at the annual meeting of Student Pugwash. Since then, "Adult Pugwash" has been honored with a nobel peace prize for one
Access: Not Just Wires (October, 1994)
In October of 1994, I gave a talk at the annual meeting of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility on the issue of access to the "information highway." This talk has travelled around the Net during these years, visiting places I've never even been. I think this file is having more fun than I am.
This talk is now available in Spanish-- thanks to Alicia Ocaso -- and in Italian, -- grazie a Norberto Patrignani.
Universal Access: Some Global Issues (San Francisco, September, 1994)
We often forget that the Internet is a global telecommunications system, especially when we talk about issues of access. The World Affairs Council in San Francisco asked a few of us in the area to come in and talk about this issue.
Cyber-Activist's Top Ten List (DEFCON ][, August 1994, Las Vegas)
There's nothing more fun than spending three days in the virtual reality of Las Vegas. It's 114 degrees outside, but who goes outside anyway?


Resource Description and Access (RDA); Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century. With Diane Hillmann. D-Lib Magazine, January/February, 2007. v. 13, n. 1/2
Although the subtitle of this piece was too subtle for many readers, this D-Lib opinion piece that Diane Hillmann and I wrote states our opinion that the work on this proposed next version of the library cataloging rules "can only keep us rooted firmly in the 20th, if not the 19th century." The library catalog must undergo radical change to throw off its card-based legacy, or libraries will be left in the dust by more nimble providers of information services. This paper generated considerable discussion at the Seattle 2007 ALA conference, but it's going to take more than some articles to make change happen. Some of us are working on next steps.
The Future of Bibliographic Control: Notes from the meeting, March 2007
This was a fascinating meeting that took place at Google's offices in March of 2007. The meeting was organized by the Library of Congress as part of their project to define the future of bibliographic control. Speakers were Timothy Burke, a professor talking about research, Tony Hammond, on technologies of networking, Andrew Pace, on library systems, Dan Clancy, of Google Books and Google Scholar, and Bernie Hurley, on academic libraries. I live-blogged the talks, then created this combined file with some comments. The most interesting talk by far, IMO, was that of Professor Burke, who basically said that we should dump library catalogs and start over. His complaint was that catalogs do not give the "sociology" of the cataloged items. Lots to think about.
The Automation of Rights. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 3, pp. 326-329.
Copyright law creates legal protection for works in any fixed format, whether analog or digital. But actual protection, that is, the prevention of copying, is much more difficult for digital works than it is for those in physical formats. Digital works can be covered by licenses that mandate certain uses, or they could have actual technical protection measures. This article looks at digital rights in a broad sense, and its effect on libraries. Preprint
One Word: Digital. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 2, March, 2006, pp. 205-207.
In 1967, the year of The Graduate, the one word was "plastics." Today our word is "digital." But like 1967's term, ours represents a wide range of different meanings. This article offers some of the different meanings of "digital" based on the intended functions of the format: there are digital formats intended for preservation, for machine-manipulation, for end-user viewing, etc. Clarity of purpose will help us move forward with digitization projects and treatment of our born digital resources. Preprint
Unicode: The Universal Character Set. Part 2: Unicode in Library Systems. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 32, n. 1, pp. 101-103.
Libraries own materials in every language that has produced documents. This means that their catalogs need to record holdings in all of those scripts. Until recently, many of the needed characters were not available for library online catalogs. With Unicode, the possibility exists to have every language and every script represented. There are some details to be worked out, however, like how (or if) to present a single sort order when the languages involved don't use the same alphabet, and how we will provide the appropriate keyboards for our users. Preprint. Link to Part I.
Managing RFID in Libraries. In: The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 31, n. 5, pp. 486-489
This article doesn't have any new information about RFID, perhaps because there isn't anything really new to say at this moment in time. It does give my perspective on the role of RFID in libraries as a fairly efficient inventory management tool. Nutshell: It's not a question of whether RFID is good or is evil; libraries cannot afford to be the Plain People of the information world, hanging on to their buggy whips while others are powered by internal combustion engines. Preprint.
Libraries and Standards, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 31, n. 4, pp 373-376
A follow-up on my article Standards in a Time of Constant Change, this looks at recent trends in library standards. Libraries no longer occupy a standards space of their own, but share standards with the general information technology world and with the World Wide Web. Even where libraries are consciously creating standards for their information systems, there is no single organization that shepherds these efforts. It's a confusing world, and perhaps we could do better.
Standards in a Time of Constant Change, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 31, n. 3, pp 280-283
The term "standard" once implied something that was fixed and would not change. This meaning of the term is no longer viable in an environment where technology is in a state of constant change. The whole standards landscape, and the organizations that support it, is going through a significant change of its own in an attempt to keep up with the world around it.
Understanding Metadata and Its Purposes, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 31, n. 2, pp 160-163
The main message here is that any particular metadata is useful only in that it solves a specific problem. When you are looking at a metadata format, whether it is MARC21, METS, MODS, Dublin Core, or any one of many dozens of metadata formats that have been developed, you must understand it in its context. And when looking at a metadata format with the idea of making use of it for a project of yours, that context is key to determining if the metadata will indeed work for you.
Catalogs, Card - and Other Anachronisms, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 31, Issue 1 , January 2005, Pages 60-62, doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2004.12.001
This is the first of my columns for the Journal of Academic Librarianship. I had only about two weeks' notice before this one was due, so I decided to write up one of the busier bees in my bonnet: our profession's continued clinging to the catalog card, and all that it means. So I take on main entries, inverted entries, and... well, even entries themselves.
Metadata: Data With a Purpose. California Library Association Meeting, November, 2004.
This is a written version of the talk I gave at CLA. It is an attempt, in just 20 minutes, to answer the question: what is metadata, and will it replace library cataloging?
Future considerations: the functional library systems record, Library Hi Tech v. 22. n. 2, 2004, pp. 166-174
Written for a special issue (which turned out to be two special issues, and this is the second) on the future of the MARC record and library systems record in general. In this piece I try to imagine a record format that is both hierarchical, in the FRBR sense, and faceted. That latter means that the record can have parallel facets for description, discovery, display, etc., thus allowing the record to expand as new library systems functions are desired. Well, it'll make more sense when you read it.
The Virtual Union Catalog, in: Lass, Andrew and Richard E. Quandt, Union Catalogs at the Crossroad, Hamburg, Hamburg University Press, 2004. pp.pp. 51-66
This is the talk I gave in Estonia in 2002 that has now come out in book form. It was part of a conference on union catalogs in the Eastern European countries. It was fascinating because the creation of union catalogs in those countries was causing a radical shift in how libraries functioned. For the first time they were exchanging data, doing cooperative cataloging, and seeing themselves as part of a collection of libraries rather than separate institutions. This did not always go well and some of the essays in this book talk about the social tensions that arose as libraries attempted the shift from Soviet centralization to the democratization of information resources.
Rights Management and Digital Library Requirements, Ariadne Magazine, issue 40, July, 2004
Where I describe "some aspects of rights expression languages favoured by the commercial content industries and how these may differ from the rights needs of digital libraries."
Primer on MODS, in Computers in Libraries, February, 2004. p. 21
Just a one-pager but part of an issue with one dozen such pages on standards. A good place to start to understand some of the most current acronyms.
E-books: It's About Evolution, Not Revolution, in netConnect, Fall, 2003, pp. 8-12
This article is a general update about the state of the art and business of e-books. With the dampening of some of the dot.com hype the e-book picture is actually becoming more sensible. There is still a lot of change happening and no one knows where we might end up, but some solid work is being done both on the technology and on the business side. What isn't quite happening yet, and what I look forward to, is a re-definition of "book" to include things that didn't really fit into the hard copy world, such as the publication of individual essays (of any length), stories, poems, novellas, etc., and even possibly a return to serialized works. Put your thinking caps on, folks, there are great possibilities!
"...the country's National Library also had been ransacked" April 20, 2003
Among the tragedies of the war to liberate oil, the National Library of Iraq may have been looted and burned, I say "may" because there is very little information at this time about the library. This piece chronicles my attempt to glean information about the library amid the articles on the better publicized destruction of the museum of antiquities.
Also in the war theme, I wrote a letter to friends abroad in March. Also available in Italian via Neural Online
Privacy and Library Systems. February, 2002
For those who heard me speak in Santa Barbara in March, here is an outline of that presentation, entitled "Library Privacy Before & After 9/11". This obviously needs to get written up in full sentences with the appropriate commentary, and I promise it will appear here as soon as I can get to it.

This is the outline of my talk for the Illinois State Library program on "library privacy after 9/11". This is a plain text version of a presentation very similar to the one I did for the California Library Association. If you are with a library that is contemplating revising its privacy policy in light of these changing times, feel free to crib ideas from this presentation.

Stakeholders and standards in the ebook ecology: or, it's the economics, stupid! December, 2001
I was asked to write an article about e-book standards for the journal Library Hi Tech. The standards themselves are not terribly interesting, but the making of the standards is a fascinating process. The people I have met who work on these standards are smart, idealistic folks who want to do what's right. Then reality strikes.
Is MARC Dead? (American Library Association Conference, July, 2000)
"MARC" in this case is MAchine Readable Cataloging, whose death is longed for by many librarians. This is the record format used by library systems for what used to be the data on the catalog card. Radical when it was developed in 1965, the poor soul is somewhat dated at this point. Believe it or not, emotions run high when discussing this topic in certain circles. My answer? It's not the container that matters, it's the content.
A Librarian's Letter to Silicon Valley (July, 1997)
When I heard that Bill Gates was giving millions of dollars of Microsoft software to U.S. libraries it was clear to me that folks in the computer field have no idea what libraries need from them. I wrote this letter, which was resoundingly rejected by local newspapers. Since then, I've been seriously toying with the idea that we really do need a collaboration between libraries and the computer industry to create tools for public access. Anybody got a few million bucks to help me get this started?
Why Librarians Should Rule the Net (April 10, 1997, Fort Worth, Texas)
This is a talk I gave at the Texas Library Association meeting. I have added the text of my talk to the slides so this is a kind of do-it-yourself slide show. (The bluebonnets were in bloom along the side of the highway, and Texas hospitality is the best!
Libraries on the Information Highway: The Problems and the Promise (InfoPeople, August and September, 1996)
The State of California is funding library access to the Internet through the InfoPeople project. Each library gets a computer, modem, and an Internet account. But the best thing about this project is that libraries are given training - not just in how to set up their computer and surf the Net, but in all of the aspects of managing and maintaining Internet access for the public. As part of that training, I spoke to some librarians about the issues of censorship, privacy and copyright.
Electronic Information - Some Implications for Libraries (Benicia, CA, June, 1995)
Libraries are wondering how electronic information will change their role and the work they do. Some of the suggestions here might be surprising.
Libraries and Censorship (Asilomar, April, 1995)
Libraries are a strong anti-censorship force in our society. This talk explains that libraries are our archive of the "commons of knowledge" that is vital to civilization. Censorship is not only a threat to our present freedoms, it places great limitations on our future.
Libraries and Access (CFP '95)
I gave this talk at Computers, Freedom and Privacy in March of 1995 on the topic of Libraries and Access. Unfortunately, our panel was at 9:00 a.m. on the second morning of the conference. I was surprised at how many die-hards did show up, but for all of those who partied hard the night before, here's some of what you missed.


Privacy and User Information. A talk given at the ALA/OITP Ebook Task Force preconference January 23, 2003
The preconference brought together publishers and librarians to talk about their views of ebooks, in an attempt to foster understanding of our respective constraints ("so why don't publishers just...?"; "Those librarians, they never..."). I gave a brief description of why privacy matters and tried to recognize some of the limitations that library policy places on information providers.
Make Sure You Are Privacy Literate, Library Journal, 10/1/2002.
This article presents the necessity for a library "privacy audit", especially of computer systems and services that may be hidden sources of information about user information-seeking. Because of the implementation of the USA Patriot Act these seemingly innocent records could result in the unnecessary violation of library user privacy. Libraries are advised to remove unneeded records and to secure library systems in order to comply with existing state and federal laws that are based on our right of intellectual freedom. [NOTE: This is now available only to subscribers. A preprint version is available to all.]
Privacy and Library Systems. February, 2002
This is the outline of my talk for the Illinois State Library program on "library privacy after 9/11". This is a plain text version of a presentation very similar to the one I did for the California Library Association. If you are with a library that is contemplating revising its privacy policy in light of these changing times, feel free to crib ideas from this presentation.
Privacy and Library Systems, Presentation at the 2001 California Library Association Meeting
The "USA-Patriot" act was signed into law on October 25, 2001, and on November 4 of that same year a panel was organized to address issues of how this new bill might affect libraries. We say "might" because much is still unknown about the effects of this new law. Mary Minow covered particular aspects of the law relating to law enforcement requests for library records. Gordon Conable put the law into perspective with some lessons from the recent past. I covered the more mundane issue of library systems and privacy.
The Internet and Privacy, Netconnect, Winter, 2000
This article is based on the talk that I gave at the LITA forum in Portland in November, 2000. It is an explanation of how web sites gather information about you through innocent-seeming features and services, and what you can do about it. A side bar encourages libraries to develop privacy policies and post these on their web sites -- because although libraries are highly dedicated to the privacy of their users, they seem to have forgotten to tell anyone.
Statement for Panel Discussion on P3P, September 19, 2000.
The NTIA held an Online Privacy Technologies Workshop and Technology Fair to show off new developments in privacy technology. There were speakers and panels and I spoke on the panel on P3P implementation. There were seven speakers and one hour so we each got three minutes. Here is what I said in mine.
A Cookie Study, January, 2000
After using a cookie cutter program for some months I became curious about all of the cookies in my "rejected" list. I went about looking them all up to see who they were and what they wanted with me. The answers, while not entirely surprising, confirmed some of the sinister feelings that we get about the folks who intrude on our hard drives.
Privacy: a talk given at SHARE, San Francisco, February, 1999
Looking for your Right to Privacy? Think that computers are spying on you? This annotated slide presentation talks about privacy law, computers and how the decisions that we make that can affect whether technology invades or protects privacy. In a nutshell MAKE PRIVACY THE DEFAULT.
Privacy and Free Speech (July, 1998)
This is the brief talk that I gave at the AALL meeting in Anaheim on July 13, 1998. The "Primer," below, was the handout for the talk and gives much more detail about how the Internet affects privacy.This talk explains why you should care.
-- Thanks once again to Alicia Ocaso of Montevideo, this piece is now available in Spanish.
A Primer on Internet Privacy (July, 1998)
I was on a panel at the American Association of Law Libraries meeting in Anaheim on July 13. The panel was on the topic of privacy and had representatives from Lexis/Nexis, the Direct Marketing Association, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and me. We were asked to debate the issue of self-regulation of privacy on the Internet. This piece, which was issued as a handout, explains the various ways that the Internet can compromise your privacy, from cookies and clickstream to the proposed Privacy Protocol. In the end, computers do not invade our privacy, people do. Privacy is not a technology, it's a choice we have to make.
Digital Signatures: Identity in Cyberspace (December, 1997)
This article, written for the AALL Spectrum gives a non-technical introduction to digital signatures: what they are, why we need them, and why we don't have them yet.
Privacy or Paranoia? (Sun Server, v. 11, n. 2, February, 1997)
This article of mine on electronic monitoring appeared on the front page of Sun Server magazine in February, 1997. It's to the credit of editor Larry Storer that he would address this problem so prominently in a technical publication.
P3P: Pretty Poor Privacy? An ongoing discussion.
The new W3C protocol "Platform for Privacy Preferences" is seen by some as solution to our online privacy problems. A reading of the documentation shows that it is probably not what people assume it is, and while it may serve to empower users who are sending their personal data to Web sites, it will also make it easier for sites to demand data from users. Here's the quiz: how is P3P like Mr. Potato[e] Head? This article answers that question. Also, I've authored an FAQ on P3P, for those who prefer their info in a more Socratic format.
  • The Center for Democracy and Technology has written a rebuttal to this and other criticisms of P3P.
  • I have written a reply to their rebuttal in which I talk about information, value, and what it means to have a choice.


Forbidden Technologies, November, 1999
We live in a world that is the culmination of centuries of technological progress. Right? Not quite. In fact, what we see around us is a selection of possible technologies minus the many that failed, were lost, or were forbidden. Warning. This one is about s-e-x!. A review of Rachel Maines' Technology of Orgasm.
"How Hard Can It Be?" in: Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace. Seattle, Seal Press, 1996. pp. 42-55.
This piece looks at the image of computing as a world of heroic men. The title comes from an exchange in the film Thelma and Louise:

Louise: ... And steal Darryl's fishin' stuff.
Thelma: Louise, I don't know how to fish.
Louise: Well neither do I, Thelma, but Darryl does it - how hard can it be?

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