customization is a double-edged sword

Eric Lease Morgan eric_morgan at
Mon Oct 23 10:52:27 EDT 2000

Thomas Dowling (tdowling at wrote:

>> The disadvantage is privacy. It is possible to know what individuals are
>> using and what individuals are interested in. While, as a profession, we
>> regularly purge our circulation records, we can not regularly purge our
>> "MyLibrary" profiles. Doing so would defeat the purpose of the entire system.
>> What are we going to do when the FBI comes knocking on our door asking to see
>> the profile of an individual who is making death threats?
> It seems to me that part of the answer should be addressed in software; design
> the customization program so that it either cannot, or can be configured not
> to, associate an individual's identity with the profile (at least not on the
> server side).

If I understand this correctly, then I don't think this is (completely)
possible because of our licensed data.

In order to provide access to licensed data we, as a profession, must make
sure individual users are a member of our community. It is not possible to
retain a person's anonymity *and* validate their existence in a user group.
Is it?

Eric Lease Morgan

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