Libraries, Electronic Resources, and Privacy: The Case for Positive Intellectual Freedom

Library Quarterly 84 (2):183-208 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Public and research libraries have long provided resources in electronic formats, and the tension between providing electronic resources and patron privacy is widely recognized. But assessing trade-offs between privacy and access to electronic resources remains difficult. One reason is a conceptual problem regarding intellectual freedom. Traditionally, the LIS literature has plausibly understood privacy as a facet of intellectual freedom. However, while certain types of electronic resource use may diminish patron privacy, thereby diminishing intellectual freedom, the opportunities created by such resources also appear liberty-enhancing. Adjudicating between privacy loss and enhanced opportunities on intellectual freedom grounds must therefore provide an account of intellectual freedom capable of addressing both privacy and opportunity. I will argue that intellectual freedom is a form of positive freedom, where a person’s freedom is a function of the quality of her agency. Using this view as the lodestar, I articulate several principles for assessing adoption of electronic resources and privacy protections.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-02-26
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
254 ( #21,963 of 58,204 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
84 ( #7,620 of 58,204 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.