POST: Should Libraries Be the Keepers of Their Cities’ Public Data?

Linda Poon’s (CityLab) article “Should Libraries Be the Keepers of Their Cities’ Public Data?” looks at the ways in which public libraries engage with open data, and in the process raises interesting questions about the ethics of data dissemination and the role of libraries in protecting privacy. From the article:

Libraries are committed to protecting patrons’ data—in fact, [Pratt Institute professor of library science Debbie] Rabina says it’s strongly emphasized in library science education—and they often delete records of searches. But what does it mean for the library’s commitment to their patrons when they are pressured into entering public-private partnerships with companies that think differently about consumers’ data?

While focused on public libraries, this article raises interesting questions that apply to academic environments as well, particularly as campus libraries increase their engagement with digital data, data literacy, and DH projects that involve public data.