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Librarians and user privacy in the digital age


Abstract


Innovative, digital information programs have been launched involving libraries around the world. These programs permit people to satisfy their information needs regardless where they, the information resources they need or the information specialists whose assistance they need to utilize those resources, may be; or, for that matter, the time of day when those needs arise. They utilize the latest communication technologies, including Instant Messaging (IM). IM permits real-time, interactive consultation with the information professionals best able to deal with particular information needs. These programs are exemplary manifestations of knowledge management principles. Global, digital reference services combined with a growing body of machine readable information and high speed, readily accessible communication networks are bringing the concept of the virtual library, if not to complete realization, then surely within reach.
However, in the US and in many parts of Europe surveillance laws and the primacy accorded intellectual property threaten to undermine the promise and efficacy of this emerging, global library, information and knowledge resource.

This paper explores the potential and promise of the knowledge resource that digital information sources make possible, and the legal and social impediments that threaten the full realization of that promise.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2423/i22394303v1n1p159

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Copyright (c) 2011 S. Michael Malinconico

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.