Fear of Filtering: The Reality of Internet Content Management (Soreide)


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Introduction – John Felton, NLC. One of the opportunities available to assist libraries in supporting their broadband connectivity costs is applying for E-rate discounts on internet service. This necessitates complying with the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) by filtering internet access. In this session we will hear about what CIPA actually requires, about the issues a library director must deal with when deciding to filter internet access, about how filtering can be accomplished with low cost, and about the results of a survey completed by Nebraska libraries that have installed a filter.
CIPA: Myths vs. Reality – Christa Burns, NLC, will clear up some of the misconceptions about CIPA and how it relates to E-rate.
Filtering Internet Content – Pam Soreide, Holdrege Area Public Library, & George Matzen, Webermeier Memorial Library. Participants in this session will leave with a sense of what factors should be considered in the decision whether or not to filter Internet content at public workstations. Discussion will include patron perceptions and management issues.

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Fear of Filtering: The Reality of Internet Content Management (Soreide)

  1. 1. Internet Filtering In Libraries
  2. 2. History of filtering <ul><li>Libraries started filtering Internet access in the late 90s under pressure from community groups </li></ul><ul><li>CIPA and NCIPA </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why filter? <ul><li>Responsive to community expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Financial incentives </li></ul>
  4. 4. What are the options? <ul><li>Client side filters </li></ul><ul><li>Content-limited ISPs </li></ul><ul><li>Server-side filters </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine filters </li></ul>
  5. 5. Filtering vs. Blocking <ul><li>Filtering software denies access to a website based on its content </li></ul><ul><li>Blocking software denies access to a website url based on the offending site’s url </li></ul>
  6. 6. How does it work? <ul><li>Filtering by URL </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering by keyword </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering by filetype </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering tests </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pros <ul><li>Fewer reported incidents of publicly viewed inappropriate sites </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer reported incidents of prohibited behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Protects minors </li></ul><ul><li>Family-friendly public space </li></ul><ul><li>Protect staff </li></ul><ul><li>E-rate and other grant opportunities </li></ul>
  8. 8. Cons <ul><li>Intellectual freedom and equity of access core values of librarianship </li></ul><ul><li>Overfiltering/underfiltering </li></ul><ul><li>Erodes role of librarian as selector </li></ul><ul><li>Chilling effect of having to ask for unfiltered access </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cons, cont. <ul><li>Supreme Court ruling that filtering is akin to selection, not de-selection </li></ul><ul><li>Blocking software perpetually out of date. </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering software is unable to make anything but gross distinctions. </li></ul><ul><li>Local configuration can be overly restrictive </li></ul>
  10. 10. Perception vs. Reality <ul><li>People do not understand the linkage between filtering and federal requirements </li></ul><ul><li>May promote false sense of security </li></ul><ul><li>Many sites are blocked for no defensible reason </li></ul>
  11. 11. Personal experience <ul><li>Client software difficult to manage </li></ul><ul><li>Server software recommended by ESU </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable hardware a priority </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to re-register after each renewal </li></ul><ul><li>Back up your profile. </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Coverage </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusion <ul><li>Filtering can be viewed as a selection tool for digital content </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering enforces acceptable use policies. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Resources <ul><li>www.holdregelibrary.org/delicious_links.html </li></ul>
  14. 14. Questions? <ul><li>Pam Soreide </li></ul><ul><li>Library Director </li></ul><ul><li>Holdrege Area Public Library </li></ul><ul><li>604 East Avenue </li></ul><ul><li>Holdrege, NE 68949 </li></ul><ul><li>308-995-6556 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.holdregelibrary.org </li></ul>