Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

Minor Musings

Posted by lpearle on 29 July 2013

Books, Reading, Etc.

School Life

Tech Stuff

Posted in Books, Collection Development, Links, Privacy, School Libraries, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness, Work Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Minor Musings

Posted by lpearle on 28 February 2013

Books, Reading, Etc.

School Life

Tech Related

Posted in Books, Links, Privacy, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness | Leave a Comment »

Minor Musings

Posted by lpearle on 9 September 2012

Books, Reading, Etc.

School Life

Tech, Tools and Other Stuff


And finally, I just loved this quote from an interview on Powells:

Straub: I had to do so much research. I had no idea how much fun research could be. It turns out, to my great delight, that if you write a book about something that is really fun and interesting, research is also fun and interesting. [Laughter] (Emma Straub on Laura Lamont)


Posted in Books, Ethics, Musings, Pedagogy, Privacy, School Libraries, Techno Geekiness | Leave a Comment »

Diversity in action

Posted by lpearle on 19 October 2010

At the start of each year, our Admissions Office reports on the composition of the student body: male/female ratio, class sizes, and how many students come from HUGS (“historically underrepresented groups”).  What they don’t report is diversity in learning styles, economic status, sexual orientation, athletes vs. artists, science nerds vs. humanities fanatics, and other equally good measures of ‘diversity’.

As a faculty, I’d argue that we’re relatively diverse with one major exception: the liberals far outweigh the conservatives.  That’s not a slant that’s new to academic institutions – it’s been reported on, and decried by conservatives, for years.

One of the things I’m proud of, perhaps incorrectly, is that I keep my biases and personal preferences relatively hidden and am neutral on most “hot button” issues .  Even the topic of what my personal favorite genre for reading is not something I’ll readily discuss (dark mysteries, but that doesn’t mean I won’t drop everything and read a student suggestion in any genre).

So last week, after observing back-to-back conversations with two students, my assistant laughed at the diversity I was showing.  One student, a leader in the Young Conservatives club, is considering ROTC in college… the other is a leader in our GSA and was so excited about having met Kate Bornstein.  And I thoroughly enjoyed both conversations and genuinely like both students.  There are adults at MPOW, and at MFPOW, would couldn’t do that (I worked with one woman who would grade conservatives more harshly than liberals, and boys that were conservatives harshest of all.  Sad thing is, the students knew it because she was so open about her biases. And one person I currently work with said how sorry he was that most of my family are die-hard Republicans.)

I’d like to think I’m doing my bit to keep diversity alive.

Posted in Ethics, Privacy | 1 Comment »

One person’s #TEDxNYED – Openness

Posted by lpearle on 8 March 2010

I think this topic flowed well from the first (Participation), but perhaps that had to do with the speakers in this grouping. It was at about the start of this session that I noticed that there were many people who, like me, were taking notes the old-fashioned way.  One fellow pen-and-paperer said that this forced him to type up his notes and assess them (something that I much prefer to the live-blogging type of note-taking).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conferences, Musings, Pedagogy, Privacy, School Libraries, Student stuff, Techno Geekiness, Work Stuff | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Privacy Thoughts

Posted by lpearle on 27 February 2010

Today three things happened that got me thinking about privacy:

  1. @lbraun2000 tweeted approvingly about this NYTimes article, saying that libraries need to consider adopting this model.
  2. I heard about PleaseRobMe, a website that links to Foursquare in an attempt to make people aware of their privacy breaches. (although, as this post posits, it’s a case of plus ça change)
  3. I received an e-mail from a cousin that said he’d been mugged in Britain and was without cash, credit cards or cell phone and needed my help.

How do these tie in together?  It’s all about privacy.  If my cousin (whom I know is not in Britain but is safe at home, unmugged) had alerted Foursquare that he was, indeed, away from home shopping for something, and then used his smartphone to make the purchase, I would know by following his Twitter feed.  Being his cousin, I could take vicarious pleasure in traveling with him and commenting on his taste (and bank account).

But what if I were someone else, someone less loving and supportive?  I’d have a general idea how long it would take him to return (and in this case, Britian to Boston can’t be done in anything less than a few hours).  I’d also have a general idea about his tastes and his net worth, so would know that I’d have quite a bit of time to get in and get out of what could be a very nicely appointed home. I could be wrong (about the home and the net worth; it could be a gift bought on credit), but if this were my m.o, chances are I’m pretty good at finding my mark.

I’m also concerned about using this technology in libraries.  Yes, I think it’s a great idea that we let people know that libraries are being used, that books are being borrowed, and that this is more than just babysitting snow day children.   My concern is about the child (or teen) borrowing a book about a sensitive topic and that information getting out.  How do we protect that information?  How do we protect that child/teen?

This issue of privacy is increasingly worrisome for me.  I see students (and adults) sharing information on Facebook and Twitter that previously they might now have shared.  I know things about some of my “friends” that I don’t want to know, and I try not to overshare with them in return.  How do we talk with our students about these issues if we ourselves are losing our boundaries?

My fear is that we’ll go too far with our lack of privacy, and then there’ll be a backlash that negates some of the really good things about these new tools.

Posted in Privacy | Leave a Comment »

What’s the buzz?

Posted by lpearle on 10 February 2010

Google’s all abuzz with Google Buzz.  According to the screen that shows up when I log in, I’m supposed to start sharing my updates, photos, videos, links, etc. with all the other Googlers out there.  (quick question: if people have become “peeps” and my twitter friends are “tweeps”, will we now start talking about “geeps”?  Or are they just geeks?)

Wendy tweeted

My folly was connecting GGL Buzz to Twitter, but quickly rectified that. I love reading my PLN’s shared bits in Reader, but Buzz? Too much.

But Briar commented that (on Facebook, no less)

Google Buzz could be an excellent “new Facebook” if we can get critical mass there (the fun of Facebook being the mix of close friends and random acquaintances) – way more convenient, shows status updates, photos and links, fairly usable on iPhone…

I think the question is, do we need Facebook <i>and</i> (or?) Twitter if we have Google Buzz?  Yes, part of this goes back to my thoughts about destination fatigue and the boundaries we establish, but a larger part of this is a question about what we want from each site, whether Google can take the place of two other sites, whether we need separation or if consolidation is the way to go.  After all the complaintscomments about the new Facebook design, that might be impetus enough for a migration.

I have some problems with the “opt out” nature of Google Buzz (“Your Google Reader shared items, Picasa Web public albums, and Google Chat status messages will automatically appear as posts in Buzz. To edit your connected sites or change privacy settings, view connected sites.”), and there’s always a concern about the oversharing of information with Google (I <i>will</i> get to the post from NEIT09, I promise!!).  But Buffy has a starting buzz that has ideas, well, buzzing around in my head – integration with Google Apps/Docs, working with students on claiming their Google Profile and a host of other things.

Will Buzz replace Twitter and Facebook?  Do we want it to?  Should it?  I have no answers to this right now, but I will be watching.

(oh, and if you want to know how to buzz with the best of them, FastCompany has all you need to know).

Posted in Privacy, Techno Geekiness | 2 Comments »

Making Connections

Posted by lpearle on 18 November 2009

Julia Stiles’ post about Twittering in a forest struck a nerve.

People need to have a record of their experience to validate it, to remember it, to understand it. Why else did we start writing? That’s all the more exaggerated now in this hyperactive age of constant reportage; Twitter, Facebook, three million “news” stations each with incessant tickers and four screens. Everyone seems to want a record of even the most mundane occurrences. “I wish I had a tissue” “I’m talking to my Dad!” “I can’t get my hair to stay still!” “I missed my train!” “I’m taking a dump!”

It feeds into this session I attended at NEIT09. Scott McLeod asks Are we too connected? (SwissToni might disagree).

I love connecting to my PLN with Twitter/Facebook and reading their blog posts (although nothing beats being with them at a conference). The amazing Elizabeth Abarbanel wrote a post about her PLN (linking to this from David Warlick). So… where does that leave me?

Conflicted. Putting myself “out there” professionally feels right, but sharing innermost thoughts this publicly feels increasingly wrong. Of course, there’s the permanence factor – all those old posts are cached somewhere. I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

Posted in Ethics, Metablogging, Privacy | Leave a Comment »

A car-crash world

Posted by lpearle on 17 April 2007

Seems like the world is getting crazier and crazier (although Doug asks, “How much of this will really matter at this time next year?”). The problem is, it should matter.

  • It should matter that during the tragedy at Virginia Tech we were glued to the television, listening to the inanities the newsreaders spewed. One actually had the insanity to ask a student how it felt to be in a place that had just undergone the worst school shooting in America. How many complained about the crassness of that question? How many of those at the school winced and asked the cameras to leave them to their grief?
  • It should matter what happened to Kathy Sierra. Civility in public discourse is needed Heck, civility in public life is needed. Without it, what do we have?
  • It should matter that hypocrisy is all around and few are crying out against it. Many have blogged about the Imus Incident (personal favorite posts can be found here, here here and here), and what he said was wrong. Did the punishment fit the crime? Only if we also go after the rappers (despite their so-called defense), and Al Sharpton, and all others that engage in this sort of speech.
  • It should matter that my students aren’t careful or concerned about their privacy, and that they don’t care that what they post may be mean, vengeful or defaming of someone else. This should matter most of all, because if we don’t start here, what hope do we have for our future?

Sorry doesn’t seem strong enough, yet that’s what we’re treated to again and again.

Watching a car crash can be addictive. Watching a slow car chase can be mesmerizing. It’s time to snap out of our national trance.

Posted in Ethics, Privacy | Leave a Comment »

Conservatively thinking

Posted by lpearle on 15 April 2007

I spent some time the other day with a colleague – we were taking the train to NYC together, and had time for a good “gossip” about work. I mentioned that one of the students had been telling me about the various people at MPOW that had profiles on an internet dating service.

Now, leaving aside the question of whether or not this student should have known that these profiles existed (any site that only asks that you say you’re Over 18 is just asking for younger people to enter), it’s a bit striking that several of my colleagues would be so… indiscreet. I know this is a radical thought in this day and age of “everyone let it all hang out online” but really, if you work in an environment with students that are – to say the least – electronically connected, perhaps it’s not the best idea to put up a profile talking about your sexual likes and dislikes along with an identifiable photo in a forum that’s easily accessed. Interoffice dating is touchy enough (is there a power imbalance? what if you break up?) without adding the internet and all that to the equation.

My train buddy agreed. She’s younger than I (29 vs. 45) and yet she felt that all this on-line dating stuff was somehow cheesy and wrong. Some of my friends are out there, online, looking for that Special Someone (and one friend has even found a companion this way), but I tend to agree. It’s just a little too out there, a little too public.

A while ago, Walt Crawford Totally Wired wrote about invading teen’s MySpace or texting (or Facebook) lives. In conversations with this student, MySpace and Facebook are often mentioned. After one exchange, I mildly commented that perhaps I should look at these sites – the answer was an emphatic No. Don’t. Not because there was necessarily anything there to be ashamed of, but because it was somehow an adult intruding where they shouldn’t (danah boyd spoke about this at the OCLC Symposium in Seattle).

When I suggested that this was akin to their going to the dating site and seeing who was looking, the student was shocked.

My feeling is that if you’re going to be open enough to put it all out there – on MySpace, a personals site, in a blog, where ever – then you have to accept that people that you might not want to have look in (and possibly comment or interact with you) may just do it. One friend had to take down posts for possible legal reasons. I know employers do it all the time.

Let’s be careful out there.

Posted in Ethics, Privacy, Work Stuff | 1 Comment »