OLJ TASK: Identity, Privacy, Security & Trust


Task: Based on your readings on issues related to online identity, privacy and/or trust, think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

What is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?

What can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

From completing the readings on the topic, it is clear that the presentation and management of online identities is an issue that is increasingly growing in importance. Looking at the topic from an organisational viewpoint (that being one of a library), managing identities on line is crucial. As the OCLC report states ‘respondents place a high importance on the ability to protect their identites and personal information on the internet’ (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins,2007). The report also states that over half of respondents feel that its important for the library to keep their personal information private’ (De Rosa et al., 2007). Therefore, it is important for libraries to have a privacy policy that is clearly visible to all patrons and to ensure that information is kept private.

Another concern that was raised in the report relates to managing identities online. One of the highest concerns for respondents was the issue of spam/advertising (De Rosa et al., 2007). Therefore, it is important that libraries present themselves as a useful service designed to meet user needs, rather than an organisation that is just trying to promote themselves with no heed to what users really want.

In regards to what we can share and what should remain private Raynes-Goldie raises some interesting points. The study speaks of ‘context-collision’ which results from ‘Facebook’s flattened friend hieracrhy'(2010). The study raised the concern of things like tagging people in photos and the privacy loopholes resulting in non-friends being able to view photo albums (2010). Therefore, in terms of what we should share, both people and organisations need to be mindful of what they may find themselves tagged in. As the author states ‘what is appropriate for a users’ friends to see may not be appropriate for their employer’ (2010). The article also recommends regularly cleaning your Facebook wall.

Harris also raises some salient points in terms of what should be shared and what should be kept private. The article recommends that firstly you should always follow education board policies (2010). Added to this Harris recommends avoiding ‘mixing personal and school profiles’ and that organisations should consider establishing an organisational profile (rather than a personal one) once principal approval has been sought (2010).


De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing_part3.pdf

Harris, C. (2010). Friend me?: School policy may address friending students online,School Library Journal, 1 April. Availablehttp://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6724235.html

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2775/2432