Category Archives: LSC-555

Ethics, Privacy Law, and the Library

S Conger et al make the claim that “Globally, privacy law is not a settled issue;” (S Conger et al p. 402)  they then go on to show the differences between multiple countries or groups of countries in terms fo privacy law. I would like clarification on this topic, to understand further what they mean.  For instance, the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1791, and in this document is one of the major underpinnings of privacy rights in the United States.  To quote  the fourth amendment for our discussion here:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (U.S. Const Amend. IV)

Now, it is evident from the text of the amendment that this limits what the government can do with respect to intrusion on personal privacy, but the importance of this in the context of privacy laws is this: we ought to be secure in our persons, including electronically. So this is an ethical question not a legislative- meaning that we need to address how people act, and not address it as a matter of legislation.  I would argue strongly that new laws will not make people more moral, and what good is a new law if the old one’s are not respected by, and benefit, all members of a society?

The reason I started the post out with this manner is to address the nature of the beast of the online self with respect to privacy.  Each of us should be secure in our persons, and not fear that an ethical breach will occur, because as a society we should trust one another. I know this does not address the transnational/corporate arguments of S Conger et al’s paper, but it all must be viewed in the context of simplicity; it is the idea of personal freedom that ought to be protected.

S Conger et al explore the four different levels of relationships between online parties, or entities. The first level “is the individual with his personal information. The second party is a vendor/provider with whom the first party engages in a transaction to obtain benefits.” (S Conger et al p. 404) The second party can only obtain what the first party gives it, and there is always a limit to what a person is willing to reveal online which reaches different individuals at different times; this can be referred to as “perceived reasonableness of data.” (S Conger et al p. 404) The authors go on to speak of a social construct of personal data transactions “in which the individual gives up some amount of privacy in order to obtain benefits” (S Conger et al p. 405); at many times in the article, S Conger et al speak about the “collective good.” The third level in this dynamic of relationships is within the realm of “data-sharing partners” (S Conger et al p. 406) such as Experian and  governments (mentioned in numerous places within S Conger et al’s article). S Conger et al state that “legally ambiguous methods used by some third parties include pretexting, that is, posing as a customer to obtain information, using spyware to collect data and click streams, and repurposing collected data without permission.” (S Conger et al p. 406) The fourth party described in this relationship of entities is the “illegal entities.” This last list includes: “hackers, thieves, and third party employees who violate company policy.” (S Conger et al p. 406)  The fourth party is what is at the heart of the privacy debate, because it is this group which sows the most seeds of mistrust for which privacy issues must be addressed. For instance “ More than 550 million records including personal identifying information have been breached since 2005 in the USA, while reported global losses add another 200 million records.” (S Conger et al p. 407)  If you haven’t heard of businesses like LifeLock yet, please look into them for your own personal data protection. No system is perfect, but having someone else protect your online identity and privacy may just be worth looking into. (Note: I do not currently, nor have I ever worked for LifeLock.)

S Conger et al proceed to discuss four emerging technologies and their impact on personal information privacy: GPS, RFID, Smart motes, and bio-organisms (the links go to articles I found pertaining to the selected topic). “Characteristics of the emerging technologies that pose threats to privacy relate to their ubiquity, invisibility, invasiveness, collectability of heretofore uncollectible information, programmability and wireless network accessibility.” (S Conger et al p. 409)

It is hard to extrapolate the real significance of this article for libraries, except that we should be highly in tune with ethical actions and Personal Information Privacy. Within that mindset, libraries must think about such things as user accounts, patron data, Digital Rights Management (Zimerman p. 95), and cloud computing (Bansode and Pujar p. 506).

Do you ever feel like…

Cloud computing provides one of the easiest targtes for the fourth party described by S Conger et al. “Even though there are some concerns in using cloud services such as privacy, security, etc., some of the libraries have already embraced this new technology to run some of their services.” (Bansode and Pujar p. 506)  Bansode and Pujar provide an excellent analysis of different types of cloud computing and cloud computing initiatives which highlight the benefits of various cloud computing services. I would like to look at a disadvantage of cloud computing that they go over in their article: data security and privacy.

“The biggest concerns about cloud computing are security and privacy, especially if the organisations are dealing with sensitive data such as credit card information of customers. If the proper security model is not yet in place, then  the data stored on the cloud is vulnerable to attacks from viruses, theft, etc. In addition to that, since the services are offered over the Internet it is very difficult to assess the physical location of servers and software and security audit is hard to undertake.” (Bansode and Pujar p. 510)

So, what are the roles of information professionals in dealing with the issues and challenges. I think the biggest thing we can take away from this discussion, though it was brief, is that we must be concerned for the other’s data privacy and protection.  As an institution, the library, it is our duty to meet the privacy needs of our patrons and keep them informed of their rights to the best of our ability and understanding. We should also, when optimal, provide information literacy sessions on online privacy, even if it is incorporated into the user’s regular library experience.




Librarianship and Web 2.0

Web 2.0 technology allows us to further make sense of our information.  The technology takes the static page of a website and turns it into something more dynamic.  In a sense, it is like going from 2D to 3D. Web 2.0 technology also allows users to engage with and interact with one another, which has been one of the most powerful advances in the web.  We now have sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr, but how can these be utilized by librarians to engage with patrons and increase the reach of library interest. In their article What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint Isto Huvila et al. incorporate various ways of rethinking the library, and the role of librarians in particular, to incorporate more of the uses of Web 2.0 technologies and platforms. One thing we should take away from their article is “the ability to adjust to rapid change is a key skill for library professionals in the Web 2.0 world.[1]”

Roadsign for Social Media

In the library where I work at, for instance, we incorporate a couple different Web 2.0 technologies, and employ the tools of social media to engage with our patrons.  Off of our website, we have links to a blog that we use chiefly to communicate events, displays, and material within the library; while on our social media sites we incorporate all of the material we blog about and material deemed to be engaging to our users.  We are slowly building up an audience by engaging in social media, but the important question to bear in mind is is the time spent doing social media by librarians worth the money? Collins and Quan-Haase mention the “dichotomy between the perceived benefits of social media in libraries and the actual impressions,views, and desires of patrons.[2]”  This dichotomy could be because “ students were uncomfortable using social media sites for academic purposes.[3]” As Benjamin Franklin axiomatized in his Advice to a Young Tradesman, “time is money[4]” and we can extract that doing social media cost the library time and resources. If students and patrons are not engaging with the content, then at what point does the library cut it’s loss?  At this stage, I think it is still too early to tell, but the first thing to do is to get people to know of our presence on various social media platforms.

When using social media, material in one location can be disseminated into various other social media sources, such as articles from the library blog can be posted onto the libraries Facebook or Twitter page; the same can be said about videos posted to sites such as Youtube.  The real strength comes in linking the sites to the original, and using them for the dissemination of information. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter require constant updating to keep users engaged, while sites such as blogs and Youtube are viewed as repositories for information and can be searched as such[5].  Collins et al tell us that “a video post has a wider reach than any other static, textual based content, such as tweets or Facebook posts[6].” I believe this is because people can further find what they are looking for later, whereas searching through facebook and twitter for old posts can be cumbersome.

I have recently started using Facebook to showcase a browsable microcosm of our libraries collection. The goal here is to showcase some of our more frequently used, new,  and unique items.  What I have done with each picture is provided the title and the link to each catalog record where users can go to find more information.  I wanted to keep this as stripped down as possible do to the nature of this platform; too much information will get people disinterested rather quickly. Each image also includes the call number where patrons can find the item in our collection.

This image shows how the Catholic University of America's Theology and Humanities Services Library is using facebook to display some of their catalog.

The important piece to take away from this blog post is to incorporate various methods to reach your library’s users, and to be engaged with them.  Web 2.0 technologies can help libraries with this, but it is important to know how to use them and to how to use them effectively and holding onto the “traditional core values and competences of librarianship.[7]”

Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian


* Gary Collins & Anabel Quan-Haase (2014) Are Social Media Ubiquitous in Academic Libraries? A Longitudinal Study of Adoption and Usage Patterns, Journal of Web Librarianship, 8:1, 48-68, DOI: 10.1080/19322909.2014.873663
* Huvila, I., Holmberg, K., Kronqvist-Berg, M., Nivakoski, O., & Widen, G. (2013). What is Librarian 2.0 – New competencies or interactive relations? A library professional viewpoint. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 45(3), 198-205.
* Kaushik, A. & Arora, J. (2012). Blogs on marketing library services. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 32(2), 186-192.
* “Advice to a Young Tradesman, [21 July 1748],” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2014-10-23]). Source: The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 3, January 1, 1745, through June 30, 1750, ed. Leonard W. Labaree. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961, pp. 304–308.
[1] Huvila et al. 203
[2] Collins et al. 49
[3] Collins et al. 52
[4] Franklin, Advice to a Young Tradesman
[5] Collins et al. 61
[6] Collins et al. 63
[7] Huvila et al. 203

Discussion on HCI

In this post I will be discussing Human Computer Interaction (HCI), which has been discussed since the “early 1980’s.[1]” What is great about HCI is that users can merge several different areas of research. Ebert et al point out numerous examples such as “scientific visualization, data mining, information design, graph drawing, computer graphics, cognition sciences, perception theory, and psychology.[2]” One recent example, that is possibly taking HCI to a whole new level, was done in a study by Grau et al entitled Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies where brain-computer interfaces and computer-brain interfaces were used to allow the study participants to communicate through brain to brain communication across varying countries with the aid of computer technology; I imagine in some ways to be like telepathy.

HCI is an important factor to consider when designing interface and interaction because of the constancy and pervasive way computers and computer technology are being integrated into our everyday experiences. As with any technology, the goal is always to make easier the work of the user. Gupta, in his article Human Computer Interaction – A Modern Overview, stated that “the main focus of HCI practitioners is to create an adaptive and intelligent system designs which efficiently get embedded with user’s natural environment.[3]” By being more integrated into our natural environment users will experience what Gupta refers to as a “liberal sense of comfort[4]” with computer interaction, and with that familiarity and comfort we, as a society of users, can begin to capture and make more sense of all of the data around us. This harkens back to the suggestion by Mark Weiser in 1998 to “introduce the idea of embedding the computers everywhere in everyday objects so that people can interact with many computers at the same time.[5]”

HCI usability “covers all interaction between the user and the system[6],” which means it is as important to the designing stage of a system as is the Systems Design Life Cycle. Ebert A. et al note that “perception starts in the human senses, of which a growing number is relevant for HCI with the expanding variety of available effectors: to the traditional short list of vision and hearing we are adding taste, smell and the various ‘tactile’ senses of pressure, pain, temperature, equilibrium, proprioception and kinesthesia.[7]”
Computer and software designers are continuing to take an interest in this field and users should stay abreast of the topic as well so that when the technology comes out the user can already feel accustomed to it.

For an interesting discussion on what HCI can become watch Jeff Han’s TED Talk on The radical promise of multi-touch interface.


Achim Ebert, Nahum D. Gershon, Gerrit C. van der Veer. “Human-Computer Interaction: Introduction and Overview.” Künstliche Intelligenz 26, no. 2 (2012): 121.

Grau C, Ginhoux R, Riera A, Nguyen TL, Chauvat H, Berg M, Amengual JL, Pascual-Leone A, Ruffini G. “Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans using Non-Invasive Technologies.” Pubmed 9, no. 8 (2014).

Gupta, Rachit. “Human Computer Interaction – A Modern Overview.” International Journal of Computer Technology and Applications 3, no. 5 (2012): 1736.

Moreno, A. M., Seffah, A., Capilla, R., & Sanchez-Segura, M.-I. “HCI Practices for Buidling Usable Software.” Computer 46, no. 4 (2013): 100.
[1] Ebert, A. et al. p. 121
[2] Ebert, A., et al. p. 121
[3] Gupta, R. p. 1737
[4] Gupta, R. p. 1737
[5] Gupta, R. p. 1737
[6] Moreno, A. M. p. 102
[7] Ebert, A., et al p. 124

Two Important aspects to consider when designing or adopting an ILS

Introduction to ILS

“The Integrated Library Systems (ILSs) were developed in the 1990s primarily for printed material,” (Yang 1) yet, as is observable in many libraries, the means by which libraries automate many of their more mundane functions is changing; the struggle remains in keeping up with these changes. As is true of most advances in technology, ILS advances should be made with the framework in mind to simplify the users needs and to avoid unneeded/ unwarranted stress.

Each group of participants in the library systems has needs that must be addressed when thinking about an Integrated library system.  In this blog post I will be addressing the librarians who, when thinking about ILSs, must ask the question of “Does the product meet my needs?” I seek to address this question within the context of Electronic Resource Management (ERM).  The second group that I will be considering in this post is library users, who would pose the question more like this: “Can I find what it is I need?” For their needs, I will be looking at Discovery Tools. The purpose here is not to be thorough in addressing ILSs, but to provide some context by which we can better understand the systems we engage with as a profession.

There are many aspects to contemplate when considering designing or adopting an Integrated Library System: technology, services to your library, cost, open source or proprietary product, users, collaboration, dealing with vendors, and communication with other systems and organizations. As with any large scale/ high value purchase, the more known about the item before hand the better informed the choice will be, and the more confident the buyer will be that the correct decision was made.

From the Librarians Perspective: ERM

As librarians, we are generally more aware of the information and work that is required to make knowledge accessible, findable, and retrievable, but the ends and outs of an Integrated Library System are not usually something we think about every day. In her article From integrated library systems to library management services: time for change?  Sharon Yang makes the observation that “Ideally, a library system should be able to add, index, display, and search RDA fields, but not all the current [as of March 2013] ILSs are readily made for this task.” (Yang 1)  Yang goes on further to state that “at the center of the new library systems is a knowledge base which stores important information needed for a library’s daily operations.” (Yang 4) These new electronic resource management (ERM) systems seek to simplify the entire process. One way in which ERM systems help facilitate holistically integrated ILSs is by requiring “library staff to login to separate modules for tasks based on the division of work or library functions.” (Yang 3) This meaning that Librarians do not need to login to multiple portals or systems to fulfill their various functions and responsibilities, but can do everything within the same system at various points.

One of the larger debates taking place in the world of libraries at the moment is on whether to adopt Open Source Software (OSS) or to purchase a Proprietary Product (PP). There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both, but the most important factor is your need and an understanding of what is being purchased (short and long turn). Sigi Goode noted that, with respect to not utilizing OSS,

“a lack of conventional and ongoing support [is] a critical factor in [library administrators’] decision not to adopt and [they] perceived a lack of reliable support avenues: ‘we think there’s a real lack of tangible support.’ Managers appeared concerned that, if no equivalent to commercial support existed, they would risk having to support their software applications with their own resources. One respondent wrote, ‘We’re not interested because it’s not a commercial offering.’ Tellingly, another wrote, ‘we really don’t know anything about them and don’t want to know. We want someone we can sue when things go to the wall.’” (Goode 675)

Andrew Asher et al. point out in their article Paths of Discovery: Comparing the Search Effectiveness of EBSCO Discovery Service, Summon, Google Scholar, and Conventional Library Resources that “one critical question for libraries considering the implementation of a discovery tool is whether the tool would add enough value to justify its cost in comparison to tools like [Google Scholar] or a library’s already implemented suite of research databases.” (Asher et al.  477) Another problematic situation arises when the company that the library has been doing business with for many years goes bankrupt or merges with another institution? Many adapt this question as to a reason for supporting OSSs in the library because all of the content is stored and managed by the library itself, and not by an outside vendor. Kris Ven et al. noted in their article Should You Adopt Open Source Software? that  “Organizations using proprietary standards… might face significant costs during data migration” (Ven et al. 56)

From the Users Perspective: Discovery Tools

For a great background, accompanied with vendor reported distinctive features and general user comments, I strongly recommend the reader to find the chapter entitled “Major Discovery Product Profiles” in Library Resource Discovery Products: Context, Library Perspectives, and Vendor Positions by Marshall Breeding.

The library has come a long way in making access to information easier for it’s users.  This is because, “within the library, faculty and students have come to expect a simplified, fast, all-inclusive, and principally online research experience that mirrors their use of Google and other search engines.” (Asher et al. 464) There are a myriad of problems here though, one of the greatest of which is the reliance on the Discovery Tools algorithm to do the research for the user.  Andrew Asher et al. emphasize this point strongly at various times in their article:

  1. “The situation of information overabundance makes strategies for evaluating and discerning high-quality information of paramount importance. Unfortunately, students often lacked the conceptual understanding required to complete this task adequately, instead relying on the search systems to do the work for them, in particular, by using the search engine’s relevancy rankings to determine resources’ relative quality.” (Asher et al. 472)
  2. “By following this practice, students are de facto outsourcing much of the evaluation process to the search algorithm itself.” (Asher et al. 474)
  3. “Given their uncertainty in evaluating resources, many students imbued the search tools themselves with a great deal of authority.” (Asher et al. 474)
  4. “Since what is found most quickly and most easily is also what is most likely to be used by students, each system’s biases in the types of resources is reflected in the resources they choose.” (Asher et al.  477)

For more on why this is not necessarily the best method for conducting research, see the section “FALLACY, LOGICAL: Fallacies of weak induction” in the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. It is very likely that the results will get the user what they need, but that does not mean that the user should solely rely on the Discovery Tools algorithm to determine what it is that is needed for their research.  The Discovery Tools of today are continuing to be improved upon, and it is this authors hope that the need of relevancy ranking biases, and cross communication upon competitive vendors will be more fully addressed in the coming years.


    ILSs are changing rapidly, just as the way major advances in technology over the past few decades have dramatically changed the way things have been done. The key concepts in all of this though are 1.) Does it simplify my life (or the life of the users)? and 2.) How do I use these new tools?


Asher, A. D., Duke, L. M., & Wilson, S. (2013). Paths of discovery: Comparing the search effectiveness of EBSCO discovery service, summon, google scholar, and conventional library resources. College & Research Libraries, 74(5), 464-488.

Goode, S. (2005). Something for nothing: Management rejection of open source software in Australia’s top firms. Information & Management, 42(5), 669-681. doi:

Joseph, P., & Namjoo, C. (2013). A comparison between select open source and proprietary integrated library systems. Library Hi Tech, 31(3), 435. doi:

Major discovery product profiles (2014). Retrieved from

Stump, D. J. (2005). Fallacy, logical. In M. C. Horowitz (Ed.), New dictionary of the history of ideas (pp. 775-776). Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Retrieved from

Ven, K., Verelst, J., & Mannaert, H. (2008). Should you adopt open source software? IEEE Software, 25(3), 54-59. doi:

Wang, Z. (2009). Integrated library system (ILS) challenges and opportunities: A survey of U.S. academic libraries with migration projects. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 35(3), 207-220. doi:

Yang, S. (2013). From integrated library systems to library management services: Time for change? Library Hi Tech News, 30(2), 1.

SDLC as a model for project management

What is SDLC and how can we use it when developing a strategy for project management? In this post, I hope to answer this question by examining the impact of SDLC on users’ and stakeholders’ involvement.


 Systems Design Life Cycle is a model, or a series of models, that seek to explain the process by which a product, or service, comes into being.  As Mahizharuvi et al. state in their paper A Security Approach in System Development Life Cycle  “Many models are being adopted by … companies, but most of them have similar patterns. Typically each phase produces deliverables required by the next phase in the life cycle .”(Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254)

 The Waterfall Model is “the base for all models” of system development .”(Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254), and as such it is a good place to examine the theories behind system development.  The waterfall model consists of five linear parts:

  1. Requirements (which leads to)
  2. Design (which leads to)
  3. Implementation (which leads to)
  4. Verification (which leads to)
  5. Maintenance

 In the requirements phase, a need has already been established and the developers look at everything that is needed to get that system actualized. In that sense, the requirements phase is like an NFL Coach who has a vision for his team to win the Super Bowl and looks at his team and staff to figure out what he has and what it will take to achieve his goal. After the coach determines what is needed to achieve the vision, he begins to design a program for his team to follow that will push them to achieve the desired outcome. The design process includes the practice schedule, the workout routines, to some degree the eating habits, and the psychophysiological and spiritual well being of the team.  One important component to the design process is bringing the team together to work as one; to bring them into the vision.  Implementation takes the entire design of the coach and actualizes it through practice and training. Verification comes when the team is competing in regular season games while maintenance comes into reviewing the game and analyzing the play for what needs improvement and fine tuning the design and implementation strategies.

Cohen et al. (2010, p. 21) highlight two SDLC models in their paper A Software System Development Life Cycle Model for Improved Stakeholders’ Communication and Collaboration: a traditional model and an IS acquisition process model. The “traditional phase” of SDLC includes the following aspects:

  1. Requirements (which leads to)
  2. Analysis (which leads to)
  3. Design (which leads to)
  4. Construction (which leads to)
  5. Testing (which leads to)
  6. Installation (which leads to)
  7. Operation (which leads to)
  8. Maintenance

 The IS acquisition process model(Cohen, 2010, p. 21) is very similar in construct, but, as you can see below, there are slight differences in strategy.  The IS acquisition process model looks like this:

  1. Justification (which leads to)
  2. Evaluation (which leads to)
  3. Preparations for Acquisition (which leads to)
  4. Request for Proposals (which leads to)
  5. Vendor Evaluations and Choosing (which leads to)
  6. Contract Negotiations (which leads to)
  7. Implementation and Maintenance

Before going further, I want to provide some context for how I am looking at Project Management (PM). PM is the process by which an objective is established, and a plan of action is created in order to actualize the desired result with clear directives on who will be doing what when and, to some extent, how.

 All projects are designed to be used by someone. In the library, our users are, generally, the public; when we are designing systems we must always keep our users in mind. The result of our work should be an easy to use product that is simple and intuitive.  Bhute et al. display various diagrams in their article System Analysis and Design for Multimedia Retrieval Systems that illustrate various relationships between Administrator/Manager and Users and how they interact with systems and servers.

 One aspect of the SDLC that we have been missing so far is…



 According to the Internet Theft Resource Center there have been a total of “521 security breaches” so far this year (2014) compromising approximately “17,829,689 individuals” (perhaps some of those are repetitive). (ITRC, 2014)  As is True in life, one of the most valuable assets we possess is trust, and in the world of databases that trust takes on the form of security of personal information such as name, email address, personal address, telephone numbers, social security numbers, et c.  As designers and administrators of databases, there is a moral duty to the consumer that their information cannot be breached.

 How do we fix this in our concept of the System Design Life Cycle and Project Management?

 Mahizharuvi et al suggest that security requirements be an inclusive component of and “identified during the system development lifecycle.” (Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.253) They go on further to state that “to define requirements, systems engineers may, in conjunction with users, perform  a top-down and bottom-up analysis of possible security failures that could cause risk to the organization as well as define requirements to address vulnerabilities.” (Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254)

 Spears and Parrish “suggest that the time is ripe for IS professionals to begin incorporating security into the analysis and design of an IS as a means to reduce security vulnerabilities and data breaches.” (Spears, 2013, p.18)

 The biggest component of incorporation of security into the SDLC and PM spheres is to have them as a functional part of the beginning, middle, and end of the process as opposed to an ad hoc inclusion at the end.



  • Avinash N Bhute, B B Meshram. (20113). System analysis and design for multimedia retrieval systems  . The International Journal of Multimedia & its Applications, 5(6), 25-44.
  • Identity Theft Resource Center. (2014). 2014 ITRC breach report. Retrieved from
  • P.Mahizharuvi, a. D. K. A. (2011). A security approach in system development life cycle. International Journal of Computer Technology and Applications, 2(2), 253-257.
  • Shalom Cohen, Uzi De Haan, Dov Dori. (2010). A software system development life cycle model for improved stakeholders’ communication and collaboration  . International Journal of Computers, Communications & Control, V(1), 20-41.
  • Spears, J. L., & Parrish, J. L.,Jr. (2013). IS security requirements identification from conceptual models in systems analysis and design: The fun & fitness, inc. case. Journal of Information Systems Education, 24(1), 17-29. Retrieved from