The words that brought chills to every student’s bones has a new meaning in these days of technology. This interesting information came to us from the American Libraries Magazine in their article, “Privacy and School Data.”

What we traditionally think of in a student record – grades, transcripts, teacher notes, attendance, conduct – has changed. The content is much more granular in detail and includes metadata such as login times, type and location of device, websites, and social interactions, etc.

Metadata is very revealing and can provide insights into student activities that were impossible to gather and evaluate before.

The argument is that all this data falls under intellectual privacy and the need to have a place where students and other users feel safe and can learn about things without repercussions. Libraries may have been that space in the past, but the digital environment is not particularly a private one these days.

Many are encouraging libraries and their librarians to be mindful in adopting new technologies to assess the benefits and burdens of the technology.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.