Top Technology Trends, 1999 ALA Annual Conference

Technology and library users, an ongoing discussion

Technology experts who are members of the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association, met for a managed discussion in New Orleans on June 27, 1999.

The LITA experts agree that the following issues are worth keeping an eye on:

Privacy and Electronic Confidentiality

Libraries don't seem to have done much work yet on the practical aspects of deciding how to extend protection of patron confidentiality to their use of the Web and electronic databases. Here are some resources that provide a background for the less technical aspects. (Material on the technical aspects of authentication is easy to find through any search engine.)

Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
This is an official American Library Association document that provides the basis for the library approach to this issue, but no specifics, since this issue is comparatively new in this particular incarnation. Architecture is Policy Case Study: Cooperative development as a means for a standards-based Implementation for Privacy on the Internet.
"Outlines the process by which business, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and a technical standards body approached the problem of creating a simple solution to the problem of posting privacy policies on the Internet, in a way that would be:
1.widely available and open to all interested parties;
2.low-cost and easy to implement;
3.capable of scaling with the Internet and new regulatory concerns." The Emperor's New Clothes: Privacy on the Internet in 1999.
Briefly outlines the results of the Internet Privacy Policy Survey and considers the application of the HEW's Fair Information Principles of 25 years ago to Web privacy. "Self-Regulation and Privacy Online," FTC Report to Congress
Summarizes and links to 7/13/99 report surveying privacy protections by commercial organizations, how data is gathered, etc. Describes efforts of the Online Privacy Alliance, TRUSTe, BBBOnline, and others. Concludes that self-regulating efforts should be relied on for now. Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 Basic Rights of Children Under 13 and their Parents
"The Act, when the final rules are developed by the FTC, will require that commercial Web sites that collect personal information from children under 13 obtain prior parental consent before they collect that information. The Act only applies to Web sites (or portions thereof) directed to children or to Web sites who knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. The Act does not apply to nonprofits."

Organizations Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
"The PRC offers consumers a unique opportunity to learn how to protect their personal privacy. Our publications provide in-depth information on a variety of informational privacy issues, as well as practical tips on safeguarding personal privacy." Great links to other privacy sites. Center for Media Education
"The Center for Media Education (CME) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of the electronic media. CME fosters telecommunications policy making in the public interest through its research, advocacy, public education, and press activities." Has a great interest in children's privacy. Electronic Frontier Foundation
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been established to help civilize the electronic frontier; to make it truly useful and beneficial not just to a technical elite, but to everyone; and to do this in a way which is in keeping with our society's highest traditions of the free and open flow of information and communication." Electronic Privacy Information Center
Aims to "focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values."

Search Engines and Research

Search Engines: Selected Resources Search Engine Showdown: the Users' Guide to Web Searching Search Engine Watch: News, Tips, and More about Search Engines ResearchBuzz: Great Internet News and Research Information

Preservation of New Media Formats

How are libraries going to deal with the huge speed-up in media formats – both their advent and their deaths? MP3 and DVD have arrived and seem to be surviving; on the other hand, DIVX is dead. There's a lot of material out there to provide background about this topic. One way to find more information is by using the search engine Northern Light to do the following search:

(evolving or changing or ephemeral or obsolete) and (archiving or preservation) and (media or formats or digital)

Ever-Changing Formats The Audio Revolution: Online Digital Audio DVD Info,4,37952,00.html? Behind Death of DIVX Were Angry Customers The BIG Picture Daily News Archives

Libraries and Preservation Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries Preserving Digital Information: Report of the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information Killing the Duck to Keep the Quack (Using the World Wide Web for digital preservation) Long Term Preservation of Electronic Materials Digital Preservation: Recording the recoding, or archiving the links or linking the archives? Or access and excess Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation

(publication abstract) The Digital Dark Ages? Challenges In The Preservation Of Electronic Information

Past LITA President Barbra Higginbotham noted "Our 1999 LITA National Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina, to be held November 5-7, will include programming that expands on many of the trends these LITA leaders have identified, better equipping LITA members for the 21st century."