• Avoiding the Great Data-Wipe of Ought-Three: Maintaining an Institutional Record for Library Decision-Making in Threatening Times

      Nicholson, Scott (2003)
      Because of the USA PATRIOT Act and similar legislation that allows the government to track the actions of individuals suspected of terrorist activities, many librarians are concerned about protecting information about library use at any cost. Some propose that the solution is to delete all data from the operational databases whenever possible; in fact, a recent New York Times article discusses daily shredding of library records from the Santa Cruz Public Library System (“Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New F.B.I. Powers”, Apr. 7th, 2003). However, deleting all data associated with library transactions will make data-based evaluation and justification of library services difficult; therefore, libraries must seek a balance between protecting the privacy of patrons and maintaining a history of library transactions.