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Data Bill of Rights

I’ve mentioned Wesabe’s Data Bill of Rights before. John Battelle has now posted on his formulation of a bill of rights:

So, I submit for your review, editing and clarification, a new draft of what rights we, as consumers, might demand from companies making hay off the data we create as we trip across the web

Some of the rights he lists are:

Data Transparency

The ability to tell what data is stored is probably one of the easier ones to provide but John points out the more difficult point of possibly showing what else is derived from your data such as recommendations. You can likely easily see what items you’ve reviewed in the OPAC or Worldcat, but seeing how OCLC or the library has used that data in recommendations or relationships may be more difficult to portray. How much detail is important? It would probably be easy to list the systems that use the data and how they use it. Giving people control over it may be more difficult (I want to review things but not included in recommendations, etc.)

Data Portability

This is probably one of the first things I look for. I’ve put effort into too many new sites without any way of getting my information out in a usable way. One of the main things I worry about with the move to some “social catalogs” is that patrons will have a difficult time getting the information they put in, out. Can they export their reviews and ratings? Can they build applications on top of their data or even do the basic blog widget? Even a feed with decent data would be helpful for some sites. IMDb and Netflix could use some help in that department.

Data Editing

The ability to remove information, permanently, should be offered. If you offer to keep patron history then patrons should have the ability to remove everything, or specific items. I think this is especially important in the age of the patriot act. Patrons may want the benefits of recommendations, reading lists, etc but want to remove specific items for privacy reasons. If your going to offer opt-in services then opt-out should allow the ability to completely opt-out including removing old data.

Data Anonymity

With libraries being privacy-centric, the ability to opt-out (or most likely not being automatically set as opt-in) should probably be a no-brainer.

Data Use

As I touched on earlier, if you are building services on top of the data then there should be easily read information on how the information is being used. This is a good idea in that you also let people know the benefits of opting-in and may have a higher rate of people using the feature. Recording checkout history may look more appealing once they know the various services that use the information. Having the drawbacks listed would also be nice. I personally think any data recording checkbox in libraries should probably be accompanied by a snippet/warning about the patriot act.

Data Value

Listed as the ability to sell your own data, this is probably easily summed up as not taking ownership of your patrons information. Leave the ownership with them, granting yourself rights to use the data with their permission.

Data Permissions

Probably another more difficult (more time and effort) one to implement. Depending on the system there’s probably quite a few things you could do. Allowing only certain others to see your reviews, private/public tagging, etc. Something to keep in mind when thinking about the system. I believe there was quite a bit of debate around finally enabling private bookmarks and the for: tags. There’s trade-offs involved.