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Serendipity, or Is It Synchronicity?

In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.
—Louis Pasteur
No sooner did yesterday's intern spark bloggerous debates about privacy and the Internet than OCLC released its latest report, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, which is available as a free PDF download.

The report is based on responses from a little more than 6,500 people from six countries—Canada, US, Japan, France, Germany, and UK—who completed online surveys between December 7, 2006 and February 7, 2007. I'll leave you to parse it in greater detail, but there are two passages I'd like to share. The first is quite relevant to yesterday's post.
The builders of the social Web are comfortable and open. The Internet is now an everyday activity like making a phone call or watching TV. Internet activities are familiar and comfortable and, perhaps as a consequence, are not seen as particularly private. . . . [T]he more users participate on their favorite social and commercial sites, the more trust develops between the users and the sites. (p. 8-3)
Two things worth noting before I give the second passage: 382 respondents were identified as library directors; among all respondents, 28% had not visited a library building or library Web site in the previous year.
We see the social Web developing in an environment where users and librarians have dissimilar, perhaps conflicting, views on sharing and privacy. There is an imbalance. Librarians view their role as protectors of privacy; it is their professional obligation. They believe their users expect this of them. Users want privacy protection, but not for all services. They want the ability to control the protection, but not at the expense of participation. (p. 8-4)
That last sentence is so key. Librarians are trained to control. It's in the profession's terminology: access, distribution, controlled vocabulary, authority record. But in the current creator/consumer digital climate, the user wants to be in the driver seat.

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