III.  Open and unfiltered access to the Internet should be conveniently available to the academic community in the college or university library.


There should be no restrictions of use of the Internet in an academic library.  Filters have been used to justify protecting children from pornography or violence in web sites, but there can be no such justification for college students.  The very nature of higher education lends itself to open access to the Internet.  Complete and unfettered research depends on accessing all possible sources and questioning the validity and truth of each source.  The ability to encounter ridiculous information is how one knows it is ridiculous.  If the only information students received was approved by faculty, or some other group, it would represent a dilution of knowledge.  The variances of student’s views and backgrounds bring many “truths” into question (as well as the validation of many truths).


According to Rawls (1971), those behind the “veil of ignorance” would not know whether they were adults, children, or college students, therefore, the need for unfiltered access to information is in the best interest of the least advantaged.  Also, they would agree that intellectual freedom and access to information is a “primary good,” and having unfiltered access to the Internet is one way to insure that they have all of the information to become responsible and informed members of society. 


Mill (1859) does not find justification in censorship of any kind.  Restricting access to the Internet by college students is illogical.  If there is any group in society who should have access to all the information possible, it is students who are in a quest for knowledge – students who can find the truth and test “dead dogmas.”  Of course, Mill does not state that students are better equipped for this task; that is the inference for the academic librarian. 


Whether the Internet is filled with nonsense is irrelevant.  The ability to access any and all information is the primary good.  In "Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," the ALA recognizes the problems of accuracy in electronic resources, but leaves the interpretation up to the user.