September has proven itself to be a busy month for all of us! This week we’re taking a breather from our usual (longer) posts by highlighting a few resources that you might find of interest, and some homework, to boot.
What to Read
For years there has been a concerted effort in getting libraries to secure their websites through HTTPS, but have those efforts paid off? A recently published article by librarian Gabriel Gardner describes how much further we have to go with HTTPS on library websites, but it doesn’t stop there. The article also describes how libraries are complicit in third-party tracking with various web trackers found on library websites, including (unsurprisingly) Google Analytics. Give this article a read, then hop on over to your library website. How is your library website contributing to surveillance by allowing third parties to vacuum up all the data exhaust your patrons are leaving behind while using the library website? We’ve written about alternatives to Google Analytics and other forms of tracking if you need a place to start in reducing the third-party tracker footprint at your library.
What to Watch/Read
At LDH, we talk a lot about ethics and technology. You might be wondering where you can learn more about the ethics of technology without diving headfirst into a full-time college course. If you have some time to watch a few TikTok videos and read a couple of articles during the week, you’re in luck – Professor Casey Fiesler’s Tech Ethics and Policy class is in session! You can follow along by watching Dr. Fiesler’s TikTok videos and doing the readings posted on Google Docs. But you can do much more than following along – join the office hours or the discussions in the videos!
What to Do
Perhaps you’re looking for something else to do other than website or ethics classwork. We won’t hold that against you (though we really, really recommend reviewing what trackers your library website has). So, here’s a suggestion for your consideration. It’s been a while since we did our #DataSpringCleaning. Do you dread cleaning because there’s always so much stuff to deal with by the time we get around to doing it? Taking five to ten minutes now to dispose of patron data securely can go a long way to reducing the amount of data you have to deal with during the annual #DataSpringCleaning. It’s also an excellent privacy and security hygiene habit to adopt. Spending a few minutes to secure sensitive data can fill in the gaps in your schedule between meetings or projects, or it can be part of your routine for starting or ending your workday. And it does give you some feeling of accomplishment on particularly frustrating days where nothing seems to have gotten done.
If you come across any library privacy-related resources that you would like highlighted in the newsletter, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, best of luck with the workweek, and we’ll catch you next week.