Renewed threats to privacy

Mike brings this article to our attention:

FBI wants records kept of Web sites visited.

Mike writes that:

What sounds like a noble initiative to stop illicit activity on the Internet could very well be an invasion of our privacy for not only us but our end-users as well. You gotta wonder why the the FBI doesn’t go after the creators of these sites, monitor them and carry out their anti-criminal initiatives that way rather than trying to manage millions of internet users’  Web activities.

Contrast the FBI’s request with Hillary Clinton’s recent Remarks on Internet Freedom.  Secretary Clinton discusses human rights, cybercrime, government censorship.  The challenge, Secretary Clinton points out, is to provide security and address criminal uses of the Internet,  but “these challenges must not become an excuse for governments to systematically violate the rights and privacy of those who use the internet for peaceful political purposes.”

Food for thought.


Shrinking medical libraries

I’m aware of a number of hospital libraries that have lost space and/or staff in the last few years, mine included.  Part of the justification is the advent of electronic resources; administrators are convinced that we just don’t need the space any longer, and if we don’t have as much collection to maintain, we must not need as much staff, either.  As a result, we’ve had to re-examine our collection development policies, our holdings, and our practices to make do with less while staying in line with the libraries’ missions.

The latest JMLA includes 6 case studies of academic medical libraries required to reduce space in the last couple of years.  The purpose of the studies is “to point out that a trend may be developing and that lessons can be learned from libraries that have undergone a loss of space.”   In some cases, the requirement for space reduction came as a surprise to library administration and staff; in other cases, planning included time to elicit input from faculty and librarians.

Based on this sample, it seems to be only a matter of when, not if, health sciences libraries will be asked to give up space. Although advance planning and preparation cannot always lead to the outcomes that seem most desirable for the library and the parent institution, these case studies show that, as the Boy Scouts say, it is best to “be prepared.”

Freiberger G.  Introduction: be prepared. J Med Libr Assoc. 2010 January; 98(1): 24. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.98.1.009. PMCID: PMC2801978

The January 2010 issue of JMLA which includes the case studies is free online in PubMed Central: