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HSLG Virtual Journal Club, Thursday 1 December 2022 – Data privacy in our libraries

HSLG Virtual Journal Club, 1 December 2022, 11:00 – 11:45am

Data tracking in research: aggregation and use or sale of usage data by academic publishers (DFG, German Research Foundation) 28 October 2021

Click to access datentracking_papier_en.pdf

Hosted by Caitriona Lee, Health Research Board

Questions to ponder

  • What level of awareness do we individually and collectively as a profession have of the issues of data privacy described in this report?
  • What level of awareness do we need to have, and how much IT knowledge do we need to understand what is in question?
  • What choice can health librarians realistically have on this issue given that 1) we usually have little control over many IT-related questions, and 2) we have to supply e-journals and e-books to our readership.
  • We probably trust our vendors with our data, but do we know what they do with it?
  • There has been quite a lot of coverage of this topic in the literature from public and academic librarians but not much from health – are there reasons that health librarians might not write about this?
  • Is there an expectation that privacy is in practice a thing of the past – that to use any online resources, a person must accept being tracked not just by the library and the vendor but by third parties who purchase the data. Is the philosophy of privacy as a right a fading idea – that as long as purchasers of user data do not leak the data or harm the user directly, they are entitled to track users around the net?
  • We typically give library users information about data protection and use of cookies on our library websites – do we think the users read the notices, understand what is implied and perhaps change their cookie settings, or do we all just click OK to all and go straight to what we want?
  • This paper is from Germany but a lot of the work on this topic has been published by American librarians – are we less at risk in Europe with our data protection laws, or do we assume we are?
  • If this is the current state of play, what data will the publishers/vendors/conglomerates look for next?

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