Anonymity is examined in new book from the Center for the Future of Libraries
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — "Anonymity,” by Alison Macrina and Talya Cooper, is the newest volume in a series from ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries. The Library Futures Series is edited by Miguel A. Figueroa, Director of the Center for the Future of Libraries, and produced in collaboration with ALA Neal-Schuman. It focuses on emerging trends in the profession, provoking discussion on how to shape the future by sharing ideas and exploring joint solutions to the challenges facing libraries and society.
In the virtual realm, anonymity means that such bedrock values of librarianship as privacy, free speech, and intellectual freedom coexist uneasily with the proliferation of fake news, sexist and racist sentiments, and repugnant ideologies. As trusted guardians of knowledge, libraries and librarians can fill a growing need for reputable information and open dialog. Macrina, founder and director of the Library Freedom Project and a core contributor to the Tor Project, along with co-author Cooper, whose important advocacy in archives informs this work, discuss apps (Whisper, Secret) and forums (Reddit) that promote anonymity as a central feature, even as so-called true anonymity remains elusive because of pervasive user data tracking. They also examine how anonymous content has become valuable fodder for both news organizations and clickbait websites. Will the rise of anonymity and the vulnerabilities it exposes, especially for governments and businesses, lead to a movement against it? Or have our society and its technology passed the point of no return? Bringing issues and viewpoints from outside the profession into the conversation, this book will encourage libraries to think about anonymity and what it means for the future of our institutions.
Macrina is a librarian and internet activist whose work aims to connect privacy and surveillance to larger struggles for justice. She has been awarded the Free Software Foundation’s Award for Social Benefit and the New York Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award, and she was a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. Cooper is an archivist based in New York City. Previously, she was the digital archivist at the Intercept, where she managed the Snowden archive, and the archive manager at StoryCorps. She has written and presented widely about the intersections of archival ethics, privacy, and security.
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