Trip Report: ILI 2011
About ILI 2011
I recently attended the Internet Librarian International (ILI) 2011 conference which was held at the Tara Copthorne Hotel, London on 27-28th October. I have already summarised What Twitter Told Us About ILI 2011on the UK Web Focus blog, with Martin Hawksey providing a follow-up post on Visualising the #ili2011 Twitter archive. On the JISC Observatory blog I have provided a summary of ”What’s On The Technology Horizon? A Talk at the ILI 2011 Conference“.
What Other People Have Said About ILI 2011
Other blog posts about the conference have included Jo Alcock’s summary of the event, the Digitalist reviews of the The New Normal Needs You panel session and the The Future Internet and Digital Innovations keynote talks, Karen Marie Øvern’s summaries of Internet Librarian International – day 2 and Internet Librarian International – day 2 and the SLA Europe review of the Future Ready Panel Session. In addition Information Europe Today has published several summaries of the main sessions at the conference including Open up your library data and unlock its power and Librarians as agents of social change together with feature articles on Technology Trends to Watch and Academics do not have deep understanding of OA.
I should also add that many of the speakers have made their slides available, either on the ILI 2011 conference Web site, on Slideshare or via the ILI 2011 Lanyrd page so if you are interested in finding out more about the various talks in many cases it should be possible to view the speakers’ slides as well as read the trip reports which have been provided on various blogs.
Personal Reflections on ILI 2011
I’ll avoid replicating what others have already said, especially as I was only able to attend for the first day of the conference. However one thing that struck me during the opening plenary talk and with discussions I had with some of the speakers at the event was a seemingly uncritical acceptance of the importance of social networking services in the support of library work with surfacing services within Facebook, in particular, seemingly being accepted as the norm.
On the evening before the conference in response to questions about privacy concerns related to use of Facebook several people, from outside the UK, were aware of the issues but seemed to be feel that such concerns were not significant, although if there was a significant backlash against such services, libraries would have to respond.
This view seemed to be confirmed in Klaus Tochtermann’s plenary talk plenary talk on “How The Future Internet Will Shape Librarie” in which he explained how ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft, the world’s largest economics library, seeks to make its content and services available through its Facebook page. In response to a question I raised it seems that that have been moves in Germany to make services which choose to host content on Facebook responsible for data protection implications of this decisions, rather than placing responsibility on Facebook itself. However despite such developments, which do not – yet – appear to have been implemented, I was not aware of any significant preentations during the conference on the ethical aspects of Library use of social web services, with the exceptions of Karen Blakeman’s talk on Searching With Google which addressed the privacy implications associated with use of Google services, and the talk on Innovations in Usage Analysis given by Dave Pattern and Bryony Ramsden in which they did talk about the need to anonymise usage data related to use of Library services and the decision to not analyse data for courses for which there were small numbers of students, since this could make it possible to identify usage patterns for individual students.
What does this tell us? Might it be that we have assumptions that trusted organisations such as libraries should have high standards related to privacy issues which are not necessarily the case elsewhere? This is obviously a gross generalisation. But while I was reflecting on the fact the emphasis given to legal and privacy issues in a session provided by two JISC-funded Activity Data projects, I remembered the OCLC’s Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World which was published in 2007. As I descrbed in a blog post shortly after the report was published
“The report is based on a survey of 6,545 participants carried out between 7th December 2006 and 7th February 2007. The participants were from the US (a total of 1,801), Canada (921), UK (970), France (821), Germany (846) and Japan (804). An additional survey of 4,000 US library directors was also carried out, with 382 replies from library directors from academic, public, community college, school and special libraries being received. Interviews with selected information professionals (including myself and Andy) were also carried out.”
My summary of the report went on to add:
Some particular issues of note are worth commenting upon, however. There seems to be a discrepancy between the views of library directors concerning privacy issues and the general user community: librarians have real concerns about privacy, and are less likely to make use of social networks for relationship buildings and for fun. Ironically general users “do not rate most library services as very private” even though “the majority do not read library privacy policies.” Most users do, however, “feel commercial sites keep their personal information secure” but only “about half think library Web sites keep their personal information secure“. The nature of trust of commercial social network services is also increasing with use.
Perhaps the seeming acceptance of the privacy risks in making use of services such as Facebook simply reflects that although librarians may have been concerned about privacy issues in the early data of the social web, they now share an acceptance with their users of a greater acceptance of changing views regarding privacy?
It will be interesting to see if social networking services such as Diaspora and Unthink, which are specifically addressing issues such as privacy and ownership of content will change users views on social networking services. and results in significant migration to such services.