Monday, September 17, 2007

Evilness -- Opposition -- Policy and Procedure

Someone recently called LibraryThing for Libraries out over our terms and privacy policy. Guess what? They were right to do it!

The policy was vague. It didn't describe what we actually use library data for and how we use it. It gave us potential room to do bad things.

Well, we don't want the room. We've always treated our user and library data carefully, and we always will. So we've written it again, this time as a straight-jacket.

You can read the full text here, but the Cliff's Notes version is this:
  • We don't collect any data from or about library patrons;
  • We only use a library's data to enrich their own catalog
  • We're not allowed to change the policy suddenly
If anyone feels we've left anything out, let us know.



Blogger Lissa said...

There is still a _little_ wiggle room in the Terms of Use, but this is a great improvement.

I'm still suspicious, but you deserve a lot of credit for clarifying your policies on patron data, especially based on the rant of one obscure and very paranoid ILS sys admin.

Good on ya.

9/19/2007 9:12 AM  
Blogger David said...


You say that data will only be used to enrich the library's own catalogue. Sure, but I could see a situation where a consortium of libraries (such as ourselves) might want to know about recommended books that exist in sister libraries.


David Kane.

9/19/2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

That's a good point, we're using "library" in the way we think of them in LTFL. In fact, some of our "libraries" are collections of libraries. That would, however, be understood at the time we worked with a consortium, and agreed to. After all, the terms of service aren't the only ones possible. If a library agrees to do X with us, that's perfectly fine.

9/19/2007 1:30 PM  

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