Internet in the Library -- the Sky is Not Blue Comments on the Selected Library Problems When Offering Patrons Access to the Internet

Feret, Blazej; Szczepańska, Barbara
January 2004
IATUL Annual Conference Proceedings;2004, Vol. 14, preceding p1
Conference Proceeding
In the past few years, libraries, including academic libraries, became not only a place in which users could find information supporting teaching and research, but also hubs for patron access to the Internet and its vast resources. However, the Internet is not a "good boy", and the information easily found with search engines or peer-to-peer programs may be used for bad goals. Should academic libraries promote unrestricted access to the Internet for the sake of people's right to open access to information, or should they rather restrict and filter the incoming information to that actually related to the subjects of studies? If information is to be restricted, then to what and how should it be restricted? Another question is what is legal in the library and what is not? For example: is it legal to install and use peer-to-peer programs like eMule or Kazaa? Ninety-nine percent of the time they are used for downloading music, video and program files from other users. In most countries it is illegal to distribute music and movies in the form of electronic files, but the related legislation is in many aspects still not precise. So what should library policy be towards the Internet access and use in the library? Quite often the problems of misusing Internet tools extend from user to staff and pose the following question: what is allowed for library staff regarding the use of Internet and how deeply should the managers control the staff activities and content of their PC-s? The paper will aim at describing the most important problems that libraries face when providing access to the Internet.


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