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Zimmer joins NISO-RDA Working Group on Privacy Implications of Research Data Sets

Feb 11, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Zimmer joins NISO-RDA Working Group on Privacy Implications of Research Data Sets

CIPR Director Michael Zimmer has been named a co-chair of the RDA/NISO Privacy Implications of Research Data Sets Working Group, a joint NISO and Research Data Alliance project, focusing on the privacy implications of shared research data. Zimmer will be joining Todd Carpenter (NISO) and Bonnie Tijerina as co-chairs leading this effort.

The working group will explore issues related to scientific research data sets that contains human subject information, as well as related datasets that have the potential to be combined in a way that can expose private information. The goal of the group is to develop a framework for how researchers and repositories should appropriately manage human-subject datasets, to develop a metadata set to describe the privacy-related aspects of research datasets, and to build awareness of the privacy implications of research data sharing. While privacy is related to the ethical, legal and data publishing issues surrounding data management of which privacy is a part, this working group is focused specifically on privacy-related concerns.

The group will focus on world-wide legal frameworks and the impacts these frameworks have on data sharing, especially with human-subject data. After gathering these legal strictures and comparing the differences and similarities, the group will begin crafting a set of principles that will provide guidance to the researcher and repository communities on how to manage these data when they are received. Building on these, the group will craft a set of use cases on how the principles will be applied. After these elements are completed, an effort to advance the principles through promotion and community outreach will be developed and executed.

The group has released a case statement that is open for comment.

Marti Koller Wins 2015 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award

Mar 20, 2015   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Marti Koller Wins 2015 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award

Marti Koller, English Department Chair at the Baldwin-Woodville High School in northeastern Wisconsin, has been named the winner of the 2015 WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award. The award is given jointly by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA).

A long-time advocate of intellectual freedom, Koller has battled censorship and educated students about the principles of intellectual freedom and first amendment rights. In her work as a classroom teacher she has incorporated awareness of free speech, censorship, and intellectual freedom into the curriculum to inform and empower students on their academic journeys and beyond into their adult lives. Koller has resisted efforts to restrict content and materials, as well as holding administration accountable for following school board policy in formal reconsideration of materials both in her classes and in others.

The authors of the nomination letter recommending Koller wrote “on multiple occasions, she has lead a charge to protect the shelves at Baldwin-Woodville High School. She has defended not only content in our district, but also the proper process of challenges” and “she has pioneered a focus on censorship issues in each of her classes…her leadership has been essential in the growth of staff, students, and community.” Furthermore, “as a result [of her efforts] I believe there is increased reluctance by school officials to circumvent the established process and arbitrarily remove or restrict materials.”

Koller will be honored at the WEMTA Awards Luncheon on Monday, March 23, 2015 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Recognition will also be given during the WLA Conference in the Fall, 2015.

Since 2010, WLA and WEMTA have collaborated to give the annual intellectual freedom award. This award recognizes the contribution of an individual or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin. Funding for the award is generously provided by TeachingBooks.net and the Center for Information Policy Research at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Zimmer joins NISO Project on Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems

Mar 18, 2015   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Zimmer joins NISO Project on Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO), a non-profit standards organization that develops, maintains and publishes technical standards related to publishing, bibliographic and library applications, has been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems. The grant will support a series of community discussions on how libraries, publishers, and information systems providers can build better privacy protection into their operations. The grant will also support creation of a draft framework to support patron privacy and subsequent publicity of the draft prior to its advancement for approval as a NISO Recommended Practice.

In support of the project, NISO has convened a steering committee of practitioners, consultants, and advocates dedicated to supporting patron privacy. CIPR director Michael Zimmer has accepted an invitation to join the steering committee, and will contribute to project’s three phases.

The first will be a pre-meeting discussion phase, which will consist of four virtual forums to discuss privacy of internal library systems, privacy of publisher systems, privacy of provider systems, and legal aspects influencing data sharing and policies. Each of the discussion sessions will be a three-hour web-based session designed to lay the groundwork for a productive in-person meeting at the conclusion of the American Library Association meeting in San Francisco, CA in June 2015. Following the in-person meeting, a Framework document will be completed detailing the privacy principles and recommendations agreed to by the participants, and then circulated for public comment and finalization.

Additional information is available at the NISO website.

Preliminary Assessment of Proposed Wisconsin State Budget on Libraries and Information Services

Feb 12, 2015   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Preliminary Assessment of Proposed Wisconsin State Budget on Libraries and Information Services

The recently announced 2015-2017 Wisconsin state budget proposal has received considerable attention for is potential impact on the University of Wisconsin System. Among the other entities impacted by the proposed budget is the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin. 

The Center for Information Policy Research contacted John DeBacher, Director of Public Library Development at the DPI, asking if there was any internal assessment of how the proposed state budget might impact library and information services in Wisconsin. In response, we were provided a preliminary budget summary document,  adapted from information provided to the Wisconsin Library Association’s Library Development and Legislation Committee (LD&L).

We are sharing this preliminary assessment from the DPI below for informational purposes.

PrelimBudgetSummary2016 LibrariesPreliminary Assessment of Proposed Wisconsin State Budget on Libraries and…

Choose Privacy Week 2015 with Neil Richards: Intellectual Privacy

Jan 23, 2015   //   by cipradmin   //   Events, News  //  Comments Off on Choose Privacy Week 2015 with Neil Richards: Intellectual Privacy

The UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research is excited to welcome Prof. Neil Richards for a talk about his new book Intellectual Privacy in celebration of Choose Privacy Week, the annual initiative of the American Library Association that invites the public into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age.

Richards_Intellectual_PrivacyChoose Privacy Week 2015 with Prof. Neil Richards
“Intellectual Privacy”

Monday, May 4, 2015

Alumni Fireside Lounge
UW-Milwaukee Student Union
2200 East Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee WI 53211

About Intellectual Privacy:

Most people believe that the right to privacy is inherently at odds with the right to free speech. Courts all over the world have struggled with how to reconcile the problems of media gossip with our commitment to free and open public debate for over a century. The rise of the Internet has made this problem more urgent. We live in an age of corporate and government surveillance of our lives. And our free speech culture has created an anything-goes environment on the web, where offensive and hurtful speech about others is rife. (More…)

Neil Richards is an internationally-recognized expert in privacy law, information law, and freedom of expression. He is a professor of law at Washington University School of Law, a member of the Advisory Board of the Future of Privacy Forum, and a consultant and expert in privacy cases. He graduated in 1997 from the University of Virginia School of Law, and served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. His first book, Intellectual Privacy, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

The Center for Information Policy has been a proud supporter of Choose Privacy Week since its inception in 2010. Past events have included a panel discussion on “Emerging Privacy and Ethical Challenges for Libraries in the 2.0 Era” (2010), participation in an ALA webinar on “Youth Privacy” (2011), the screening of the documentary “Big Brother, Big Business: The Data-Mining and Surveillance Industries” (2012), and hosting a talk by Dr. Kelly Gates on “The Computational Work of Policing” (2013).

CFP: 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization

Nov 8, 2014   //   by cipradmin   //   Events, News  //  Comments Off on CFP: 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization

The Center for Information Policy Research is proud to again be a sponsor of the 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization (previously called Ethics of Information Organization). The official conference website is here, and the original call for papers is provided below.

The Big Deal: 3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization

May 28-29, 2015

Milwaukee, WI

The role of ethics in knowledge organization has moved from the background to the foreground. Objectivity and literary warrant alone have been shown to be insufficient for ethical knowledge organization. Ethical concerns have been demonstrated in the roles of exclusivity and point-of-view, the relationship between literary and cultural warrant, in the creation of knowledge organization systems that embrace socio-political symbolism, and in the evolution of standards and professional best practices for the implementation of knowledge organization. Following the success of conferences held in 2009 and 2012, The Knowledge Organization Research Group joins with the Center for Information Policy and Research of the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to present the Third Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization. We welcome papers and posters on any aspect of ethics and knowledge organization including but not limited to: bibliographic standards, cataloging and indexing best-practices, classification, controlled vocabulary, technology, the professions, cultural, economic, political, corporate, international, multicultural and multilingual aspects of knowledge organization.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Tina Gross, Catalog Librarian/Associate Professor, St. Cloud State University
  •  Joe Tennis, Associate Professor, University of Washington, and President, International Society for Knowledge Organization


Call for Papers

We invite submission of proposals which will include name(s) of presenter(s), title(s), affiliation(s), contact information and an abstract of 750 words for papers; 300-500 words for posters.

All abstracts will be published on the website of the UWM, Knowledge Organization Research Group (KOrg). Full papers will be published in a special issue of Knowledge Organization.

Submit proposals via email to Inkyung Choi: ichoi@uwm.edu

  • Abstracts due: February 16, 2015
  • Notification of acceptance by: March 16, 2015
  • Full papers due: July 16, 2015

Poster: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/groups/sois/webdocs/events/EthicsInKO-CFP.pdf  


The Program Committee:

Melissa Adler, University of Kentucky, USA

Jihee Beak, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Allyson Carlyle, University of Washington, USA

José Augusto Chaves Guimarães, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil

Jane Greenberg, Drexel University, USA

Birger Hjørland, The Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark

Lynne C Howarth, University of Toronto, Canada

Joyce Latham, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Patrick Keilty, University of Toronto, Canada

Hur-Li Lee, Conference Co-Chair, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Jens-Erik Mai, The Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark

Steven J. Miller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Hope A Olson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Sandra Roe, Milner Library, Illinois State University, USA

Richard Smiraglia, Conference Co-Chair, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Joe Tennis, University of Washington, USA

Michael Zimmer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Sponsored by:

UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies

The Center for Information Policy Research

The Knowledge Organization Research Group

CIPR is a Proud Sponsor of 2015 Information Ethics Roundtable

Sep 16, 2014   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on CIPR is a Proud Sponsor of 2015 Information Ethics Roundtable

The UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research is proud to be a co-sponsor of the 2015 Information Ethics Roundtable, hosted and organized by Dr. Alan Rubel at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies

Now in its thirteenth year, the Information Ethics Roundtable an annual conference that brings together information scientists, librarians, philosophers, and social scientists to discuss ethical issues such as intellectual property, intellectual freedom, and censorship.

For 2015, the theme is “Transparency and Secrecy”. The full call for papers is available here, and posted below.


Welcome to the Information Ethics Roundtable 2015.

Date: April 9-10, 2015
Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Memorial Union South
Theme: Transparency and Secrecy

Keynote Speakers

  • Louise Amoore, Professor of Geography, Durham University (UK), author of The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability (Duke University Press, 2013).
  • Christopher Kutz, C. William Maxeiner Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs, University of California, Berkeley.

Theme Description

Transparency is important in a variety of ways, and disputes about transparency and secrecy permeate much of our public discourse. This year’s meeting of the IER seeks papers from a variety of perspectives and disciplines addressing questions about transparency and secrecy, for example:

  • What is transparency? What does it mean for something to be kept secret or made transparent?
  • What justifies transparency in different domains?
  • When is transparency bad, or unjustifiable? When is secrecy good, or justifiable?
  • Lots of organizations seek to make government and corporate actions transparent (e.g., fact-checking organizations, open records advocacy organizations, market watchdog groups). Do they succeed? What criteria should we use to determine whether they succeed? Do they introduce other questions of information flow?
  • What policies in scientific research and publishing, in journalism, in government, and in commerce best promote transparency?
  • Is secret law really law?
  • Is it possible to maintain and build trust within a climate of secrecy?

The goal of the 2015 Roundtable is to bring together scholars and professionals to examine these and related issues pertaining to transparency and secrecy, broadly construed. Hence, we welcome submissions on these and any related topics, and we encourage submissions from a broad range of disciplines. 

Abstract Submissions

Please submit an abstract of about 500 words to ier@slis.wisc.edu by January 5, 2015. Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and notification of acceptance status will be sent by January 20, 2015.  Paper drafts for commentators will be due by March 10, 2015. 


More information is available at http://ier2015.org.  For specific questions and inquiries, please contact organizer Alan Rubel at arubel@wisc.edu.


CIPR Research Lunch: Porn, Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality: Standing at the Digital Crossroads of Constitutive Choice

Sep 3, 2014   //   by cipradmin   //   Events, News  //  Comments Off on CIPR Research Lunch: Porn, Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality: Standing at the Digital Crossroads of Constitutive Choice

Please join us for this CIPR Research Lunch on Sept 17, 2014, featuring Dr. Christopher Terry (Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies). A light lunch will be provided.

Porn, Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality: Standing at the Digital Crossroads of CIPR-terry-bannerConstitutive Choice
Dr. Christopher Terry
Lecturer,  Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies, UW-Milwaukee

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
12:30 – 2:00pm
NWQB 3511

2025 E Newport Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211


In The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications, sociologist Paul Starr developed a theory of “constitutive choice” to explain how the U.S. systems of mass communication had evolved differently from those of other countries. Starr explains that the design a country’s communication system is reflective of a society’s  value system related to free speech, access to information, privacy and copyright. Just as with earlier systems of mass communication, as digital technology becomes a fundamental part of our media environment, we see three key issues arise-Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality. In terms of a media system, this is part and parcel of the constitutive choices we face in terms of the integration of the next generation of mass communication.\

Our digital media environment was shaped by the constitutive choices made in relationship to earlier communication systems but also by the changing of our traditional value system away from a citizen orientated perspective to one based in economics. Although the basic design of digital communications are reflective of the constitutive choices made for systems of communication as far back as the U.S. Postal System, the change in values away from citizen access has had a profound effect on how the system operates, the values it serves and the ways information is distributed.

The design of a system is reflective of its values, and with these changes, the dynamics, operation and design of our communication system have shifted substantially. Although policy researchers and other academics frequently discuss these changes as separate issues, the reality of modern issues of privacy and the ethics of mass data collection can be increasingly tied to the issues of surrounding digital copyright, access to information and net neutrality.

This project proposes that at the center of all of these issues, standing at the ethical crossroads between the choices we make in relationship to access to information, copyright and privacy in the digital age, is a significant series of intellectual property cases involving the illegal downloading of pornography. More than any other example, the nature of these cases illustrates the intersection between these essential values in the digital age. In terms of privacy, violators have been identified using an invasive tracking mechanism. In terms of net neutrality, internet service providers are using these cases as justification for throttling or content blocking. In terms of copyright, the constitutional premise of copyright to stimulate and enhance has been replaced by a desire to use existing copyright law as a way to coerce financial settlements by threatening to expose serial downloaders. These collective changes are setting a dangerous precedent that undermines our system of communication and the role it plays in a democratic society. Pornography has replaced political speech as non-governmental entities control our access to information.

This paper combines historical, legal and policy research to trace the significant changes in terms of ethics, law, content distribution, our value system and constitutive choice to illustrate that the time to rethink and reevaluate our priorities is now.

CIPR Launches Archive of Public Library Challenges

Aug 16, 2014   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on CIPR Launches Archive of Public Library Challenges

To assist in research on intellectual freedom and the rights of library patrons to read, seek information, and speak freely, the Center for Information Policy Research has launched an archive of challenges to public library materials, currently housed at the Digital Commons at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.

We strive to collect and make available all relevant complaint materials, news reports, public comments, relevant communications available through public records requests. The archive currently contains materials related to the 2009 challenge at the West Bend (WI) Community Memorial Library, which was recently featured in a special issue of Library Trends, and we are currently collecting materials related to the 2013 challenge at Orland Park Public Library (IL).

Library Trends special issue on West Bend Challenges

Aug 16, 2014   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Library Trends special issue on West Bend Challenges

Former CIPR co-director, Dr. Joyce Latham, along with Barbara Jones, director of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, have edited a special issue of Library Trends dedicated to the 2009 controversy over select Young Adult books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library.

The special issue, titled “The West Bend Challenges: Open Access and Intellectual Freedom in the Twenty-First Century“ serves as “a case study of a library confronting organized challenge to its execution of its role in American culture,” and the articles contained within the issue reflect a broad range of important perspectives to help understand the West Bend controversy, and apply its lessons beyond the borders of this Wisconsin city:

This issue of Library Trends is a case study in intellectual freedom and the conflicts that so often surround it (Appendix I and Appendix II in this issue provide statements on the matter of intellectual freedom by the American Library Association). The case study is a research tool that can be used to advance a range of social inquiries, allowing investigators to study “how general social forces take shape and produce results in specific settings” (Walton, 2009, p. 122). Case-based research allows investigators to explore one event, institution, or organization from multiple angles. The particular focus encourages a detailed description that can expose multiple themes related to the case, enriching the analysis. West Bend Community Memorial Library (WBCML) was selected for this study because of the complexity of the events and their visibility. The availability of documents and digital exchanges generated by multiple participants related to the “materials challenges” and professional authority support a robust research process. This study investigates the strategies of conservative social agents in their attempts to recast the role of the public library as a negative element in advancing the public good.

But it is also a case study of the resistance to the expansion of the public sphere to include traditionally marginalized populations, such as GLBTQ populations. In her essay in this issue of Library Trends, Loretta Gaffney argues that, in the view of the challengers, “any GLTBQ content in YA literature was propaganda aimed at indoctrinating youth with the view that homosexuality was normal,” which violated their family values. As Michael Zimmer and Adriana McCleer indicate in their essay, the WBCML controversy was one in a string of social disruptions focused on school budgets, social climate, and education. Coalitions of conservative and religious groups aligned with social reactionaries to impact social progress toward open inquiry and inclusivity, anchored in a rhetoric of public stability.

This collection of essays provides context for understanding the challenges by situating them in the community of West Bend, exploring the relationship of the West Bend challengers to their predecessors, analyzing the language employed by the challengers in reference to that employed by the library profession, theorizing the motivations and success of the library’s grassroots supporters, and, finally, revisiting the policies currently in place intended to facilitate dialogue about library services among professionals and community stakeholders.

Contributions include a summary of the West Bend case co-authored by CIPR Director Michael Zimmer and SOIS PhD student Adriana McCleer, as well as insights by former CIPR fellow Loretta Gaffney addressing the issue of YA literature and its relationship to conservative activism; Emily Knox analyzing the various interpretations of “censorship” as a broader concept, and a specific one within the West Bend debates; Mark Peterson exploring the role of the counter-movement within the controversy, and the question of whether a public sphere can actually function in American society; and former CIPR fellow Jean Preer surveying the challenge process within Wisconsin public libraries, and produces a trenchant analysis of “best practices” for addressing intellectual freedom practices within a public library’s community.