February 11th: The Day We Fight Back

I imagine most everyone who reads this blog is aware of the 2/11 day of action, but if you’re not, the banner below (which will activate at midnight on 2/11) will show you how to get in touch with the people up top who will (hopefully) listen to our demand for real change. You can also visit https://thedaywefightback.org for information. I feel really passionately about privacy issues, although I think our networked world is changing exactly what that looks like.
Whether or not we’re having to rethink what personal information is showing up on the open web for potential employers to see, or any other perennial issues associated with our online presence, most people I talk to agree that whatever information is on our profiles (or devices, or whatever else) should be something our government can’t just listen in on whenever it wants. Using a networked device should not be an unspoken agreement to being surveilled, particularly when our networked technologies offer us the ability to strengthen our democracy and encourage participation. That’s not going to happen, however, if we feel like any potentially dissenting comment we might make, in public or private, is subject to scrutiny. I hope you’ll join me and countless others in tomorrow’s action!

 

>The Engaged Library

>Tonight in class, our discussion was on search (hardly surprising in a class on Search & Discovery), but the last few minutes of the class really got me thinking about the ways libraries engage users by learning about them. We all know that companies use cookies and other tracking technology to learn more about our browsing/shopping/searching habits. Some of them are quite good at it, and some miss the boat entirely by focusing one message only by targeting the location of the IP address but not targeting their message (“Iowa City mom finds $5 trick to whiten teeth” folks, I’m talking to you). I tend to find a lot of advertising annoying at best and intrusive at worst, but obviously it’s effective or people wouldn’t be taking the time to design ads and pay to drop them all over the web. Our instructor, Cliff Missen (of Widernet Project fame) summed it up perfectly: “Advertisers, Google, etc. know users so well, but we don’t see that going on in libraries.”
Continue reading “>The Engaged Library”