the shrinking librarian

A shy violet keeps a library & information science scrapbook.

Posts tagged internet filtering

Mar 27

Feb 22

Jan 5

Nov 5

Aug 2

Jul 11

Jun 27
Sure beats “privacy screens.”  (Swiss Army Librarian via LISNews)

Sure beats “privacy screens.”  (Swiss Army Librarian via LISNews)


Jun 14

May 19
Why internet filters don’t work and why libraries who filter are wrong
ReadWriteWeb’s coverage brought up the ethical argument against filtering. Just because someone is using a library computer, does that mean that he or she automatically has less access to information? It shouldn’t, and libraries are fighting for information access rights every day.
Besides the ethical argument against filtering there are plenty of practical arguments. Namely, filters don’t work, they cost a lot of money, and take a lot of time to operate.
… Looking at our own library’s study as well as all of the published studies done in the last decade, it’s consistently found that 15-20% of the time, content is over-blocked (e.g. benign sites that are blocked incorrectly). And 15-20% of the time, content is under-blocked (e.g. sites deemed “bad” gets through anyway). This means that out of 100 interactions (website views, searches), 15-20 of them will be incorrectly allowed through and 15-20 of them will be incorrectly blocked. We found that overall, filters have only about a 60-70% accuracy rate for traditional text content.
… Filters simply do not work on multimedia content, which is usually what people think the filters are for (naughty videos and photos). The accuracy in filtering images, audio, video, RSS feeds, and social networking content is embarrassingly low: about 40%.

This article is a good librarian’s-eye view of the Supreme Court decision and the current filtering situation.  I recommend clicking through for a quick rundown of how filtering software really works—or more to the point, fails to work.
This article also mentions the point of my last post, which is the so-called “unblocking” process for adults.  Most patrons are too embarrassed to even request unblocking, and those who do apparently have to wait hours or even days for the library to enable the site that shouldn’t have been restricted in the first place.
*climbs off soapbox*

Why internet filters don’t work and why libraries who filter are wrong

ReadWriteWeb’s coverage brought up the ethical argument against filtering. Just because someone is using a library computer, does that mean that he or she automatically has less access to information? It shouldn’t, and libraries are fighting for information access rights every day.

Besides the ethical argument against filtering there are plenty of practical arguments. Namely, filters don’t work, they cost a lot of money, and take a lot of time to operate.

… Looking at our own library’s study as well as all of the published studies done in the last decade, it’s consistently found that 15-20% of the time, content is over-blocked (e.g. benign sites that are blocked incorrectly). And 15-20% of the time, content is under-blocked (e.g. sites deemed “bad” gets through anyway). This means that out of 100 interactions (website views, searches), 15-20 of them will be incorrectly allowed through and 15-20 of them will be incorrectly blocked. We found that overall, filters have only about a 60-70% accuracy rate for traditional text content.

… Filters simply do not work on multimedia content, which is usually what people think the filters are for (naughty videos and photos). The accuracy in filtering images, audio, video, RSS feeds, and social networking content is embarrassingly low: about 40%.

This article is a good librarian’s-eye view of the Supreme Court decision and the current filtering situation.  I recommend clicking through for a quick rundown of how filtering software really works—or more to the point, fails to work.

This article also mentions the point of my last post, which is the so-called “unblocking” process for adults.  Most patrons are too embarrassed to even request unblocking, and those who do apparently have to wait hours or even days for the library to enable the site that shouldn’t have been restricted in the first place.

*climbs off soapbox*



Page 1 of 2