Archive for February, 2007
In Palmer, Alaska, Brian Tanner was arrested for using the public library’s wi-fi in their parking when the library was closed. Local police had tired of chasing Tanner from various locations where he was accessing open ended wi-fi and arrested him. They confiscated his laptop to see what files Tanner had downloaded as well.
Is this really a legal issue or the responsibility of the people who hold the access points? All wi-fi hardware/software allow their owners to create password protected access so that only selected users may take advantage of it. If an owner fails to opt for this protection, does it mean they can still say “no, you can’t use it” and be legally binding?
We really haven’t set up ethical rules for the digital age yet. We still argue over ideas like privacy for users in public settings, rights applied to digital information, what can/cannot be written over emails and whether we should have some sort of program in place to restrict content to certain users on public computers.
Our computers are designed to find hotspots now and even default to open wi-fi networks when available. My Nintendo Wii has actually picked up two other open networks near my house along with my own wireless system. If an upgrade was placed into the program to access the fastest network or default to another open network when my wireless went down, would it make me criminally liable?
It seems this is more of an ethical question over a legal one. I certainly wouldn’t argue that Tanner seems to have a lack in ethics and common sense but it also seems that there were protective measures the library could take to prevent his access as well.
In the physical world we have many different legal words for the various types of theft as it is not simply a black and white issue. Are we going to find ourselves at a point where we need to do the same for the digital world as well?
On a semi-tangent; is his being chased from point to point really enough evidence to confiscate the laptop?
As promised in my post on February 20th User 2.0 Innovative Library Sites (Part 1- Academic Libraries) here is Part 2 of the preliminary list of Innovative Library Sites – this time for public libraries. Thanks again to David M. Drados, PhD student at Rutgers University, SCILS, and Lynn Silipigni Connaway of OCLC. This list was compiled from suggestions of librarians from the dig_ref listserv, from journal articles, and librarian colleagues.
Again, this list is not meant to be definitive, is a work in progress designed to start a discussion. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed!
- Ann Arbor District Library (MI) Uses the open source Drupal content management system with incorporates blogging, tagging, user comments, and RSS feeds. Its location page is tied into Google Maps.
- Arlington Heights Memorial Library (IL)
Features “Vlogs” – Video casts.
- Atlantic City Public Library (NJ)
Site features podcasts as well as RSS feeds.
- Denver Public Library (CO)
Has RSS feeds for library news and local events, podcasts, teen MySpace Account.
- Goshen Public Library & Historical Society (NY)
Maintains several blogs on various topics—book reviews, computers, library news, and also has a MySpace page.
- Hennepin County Library (MN)
Has blogs for library news and teens, RSS feeds built into the catalog along with user reviews/comments, a MySpace account and, podcasts.
- Memorial Hall Library (MA)
Library director maintains a Blog and site has a wiki with an accumulated collection of reference question called “Andover Answers,” teen podcasts, and a MySpace page and an online community calendars.
- Mesa County Public Library District (CO)
Has a library director blog, a staff “librarian’s love” blog, and links to online book clubs.
- Salida Regional Library (CO)
Links to Library Elf which allows users to track due dates on checked out items; local digital archive link, downloadable audio books, director (weekly) newspaper articles, and staff recommendations.
- Stevens County Rural Library District (WA)
Maintains a library news blog and a public wiki project designed to create a guide to Stevens County, including local history.
- Westerville Public Library (OH)
Features director, teen and adult services blogs, library Flickr and MySpace presence, RSS feeds, podcasts and videocasts, user rating of catalog items with links to Amazon, B&N, Novelist and Syndetics for reviews.
- Worthington Libraries (OH)
Has a teen blog along with an associated MySpace site.
“A tempest has been brewing over a children’s book…” begins today’s New York Times editorial. Ahhhh, the passive voice… last refuge of scoundrels.
Perhaps it is too much to expect the Old Gray Lady to acknowledge that, prior to it’s own troublesome reporting, there was nothing brewing but a fairly respectful professional discussion on librarians’ discussion lists (or as the Lady quaintly refers to them, “message boards”.)
Perhaps it is too much to ask that, having started this hooha (if that’s the right word–gulp), the Lady restrain from invoking comparison’s with Marian the librarian. Surely this is writing at it’s absolute laziest! Hey Lady, while you were at it, couldn’t you have thrown in a comment or two mentioning that librarians’ commitment to intellectual freedom is generally, oh I don’t know, as tall as an oak? As deep as the sea?
(Note to the NY Times editorial board: The next time you want to disabuse your readership of the “Marian the Librarian” stereotype, it might be more effective to point out that REAL librarians don’t fit the stereotype, rather than pointing out that Marian herself was actually quite a bawdy gal, judging from her reading habits.
Check this out: It wouldn’t be fair to characterize Arthur Sulzberger’s comment that “I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either” by saying that he’s kind of like Nero, fiddling while the MSM burns. You know why? Because Nero really played the LYRE. See how that works?)
But I get it, Lady. mentioning Marian, was really just an easy transition to mentioning her love of Balzac, which sounds kind of like “ball sack” which is another way of saying scrotum (giggle, snigger), so we can all see how wonderfully witty, cultured, well-read, AND terribly bawdy the Times editorial board is. Look out Dorothy Parker, you’ve got competition! Oh wait, you’ve been dead for 40 years. My bad.
Well anyway Lady, thanks for throwing in that last bit about helping children on their journey from ignorance to knowledge, blahdiddy, blah, blah, and for not using the word “shhhh” anywhere in the (final draft) of the editorial.