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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS058103)

Author
WATANABE,Tadashi
Titile
A Trap of Intellectual Freedom: What Brings the Con・‥entiality of User Information to Japanese Public Libraries?
Issue
No.58, p.103-115
Issue date
2007-12-31
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Purpose: The Japanese public library community is struggling with the issue of protecting the confidentiality of user information, because this is a key point in obtaining users’ trust. The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether the community’s efforts are consistent with its aims.

Results: Japanese libraries are often requested to delete user information as soon as possible in order to protect user privacy. This policy is not only based on strengthening sensitivity to privacy, but also on the fact that police have ordered the disclosure of user information repeatedly in the past, and, by complying with their legal duties, librarians get labeled as disloyal. However, it is difficult to implement customized services like Amazon’s recommendations without collecting user information, and the lack of such innovative client-centered services causes public libraries to stagnate. Therefore, it is obvious that the library community itself poses the largest hindrance to progress by refusing to improve its own services.

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