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Home arrow Report Categories arrow Computer & Internet arrow Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, OCLC Report

Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, OCLC Report

January 09 2008

Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, OCLC Report, Asiaing.comThe practice of using a social network to establish and enhance relationships based on some common ground—shared interests, related skills, or a common geographic location—is as old as human societies, but social networking has flourished due to the ease of connecting on the Web.

This OCLC membership report explores this web of social participation and cooperation on the Internet and how it may impact the library’s role, including:

  • The use of social networking, social media, commercial and library services on the Web
  • How and what users and librarians share on the Web and their attitudes toward related privacy issues
  • Opinions on privacy online
  • Libraries’ current and future roles in social networking

The report is based on a survey (by Harris Interactive on behalf of OCLC) of the general public from six countries—Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—and of library directors from the U.S. The research provides insights into the values and social-networking habits of library users.

Download Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World

PDF format, 10MB, 280Pages.


The new Web is a very different thing. It is a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.

—From Time, “Time’s Person of the Year: You,” by Lev Grossman, Dec. 13, 2006

I wrote in the introduction of our last landscape report, Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005), that the report “didn’t challenge as much as it confirmed” what we knew about library use, the library brand and the ever-growing appetite for Internet information services. The Perceptions study confirmed our belief that “Googling” and Internet search engines had gone from fads to phenomena to infrastructure, and that libraries had to reach out to users on the Internet—not wait, or hope, for users to find the library in the rapidly expanding universe of digital information resources. With “books” as the dominant perception (brand) of libraries, users were comfortable with the occasional trip to the library to find a book of interest, but were more than comfortable substituting a visit to Yahoo! or MSN or Google for a visit to the library to get quick access to digital information. And information consumers were confident that what they found on the Internet was as credible and as trustworthy as information obtained from a library.

Eighteen months later, the story is in many ways the same. Users remain confident and comfortable with Internet information resources and libraries are still seen primarily as a source of books. No surprise—and no retreat.

But of this report, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, I must say that our research doesn’t “confirm as much as it challenges” us to think about the Internet beyond “the search.” What comes next? What will information access and library services look like on an Internet that has moved beyond simple search, beyond corporate Web sites, past the library Web site, and beyond the blog? What is it that motivates, even inspires, millions of users to spend hours online, not searching for information, but creating information, building content and establishing online communities? What drives users to not only contribute information, but to contribute “themselves,” creating detailed personal profiles on social sites and sharing that information to establish new relationships with hundreds of new virtual friends? No longer accurately defined as “information consumers,” Internet users are becoming “information producers” and will soon be the primary authors, producers and architects of information on the World Wide Web.[...]

Cathy De Rosa
Vice President for the Americas and
Global Vice President of Marketing

Visit Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World, OCLC's Web Site

Founded in 1967, OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials.

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