Date of this Version

3-17-2021

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Building on past research regarding privacy and digital librarianship, this study surveyed managers of digital libraries across the USA to gauge prevalent attitudes regarding individual privacy versus access to information. In the wake of controversy surrounding the European Union’s 2014 ruling regarding the ‘right to be forgotten’, the authors sought to develop a better understanding of how digital library managers in the USA handle privacy concerns, such as takedown requests, especially in light of the strong protections for first amendment rights in the USA.

This research explores whether the majority of archives and digital libraries have developed privacy policies and what they consider to be the key elements of a robust privacy policy. The study also explores the shifting attitudes around privacy and access, both of digital library managers and of their institutions, in an effort to determine how these relate to the handling of such requests. Finally, the research examines how often information professionals receive takedown requests from their communities, with the hope of tracking this trend over time. This paper provides an overview of the current landscape involving privacy policies and takedown requests, and highlights some of the fundamental issues facing information professionals so that they may have the necessary resources to develop and implement privacy policies at their institutions.

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