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I am seldom in a US library, but ever since I learned about the EROTICS research, whenever I *am* in a place with supposed "public access" I always attempt to make searches on sexual health to see what comes up - or not. I am also curious about how filters affect multi-lingual access. <br /><br />Who gets to decide what people can view (or post) is always a tough call. I for example do not report sexist or demeaning videos on youtube as inappropriate content but do do so when a video shows a clear violation of rights - ie, women being assaulted online including portrayal of the victim´s face.<br /><br /> I also have to admit that I agree personally with this statement of the Denver Public Library - "In addition, we feel that accessing pornography in a public place is inconsistent with the welcoming and comfortable environment we seek to provide." Having been in cybercafes where just to walk to your computer you see varied images of sex acts on your neighboring screens I have to agree that in my case, those cybercafes do not make me feel welcome or safe for me or my kid. But, everyone´s definition of pornography is different, and imposing one definition over another - and furthermore hoping that filtering software can understand one´s complex definitions - point to the need for solutions other than filtering.<br /><br />At least in the case of the Denver Library system, it seems like they are caught between a rock and a hard place - having to comply with legislation that has a very narrow scope or at least a highly subjective one (and if they do not comply, being liable to lawsuits in sue-happy US) and that passion of librarians - access to knowledge and information. I read their computer/internet policy which governs general use, and noted that at least in their specially created "teens" site there is a section devoted to sexuality, sexual pleasure and health, specifically selected by staff (but just a snip of what is available on this subject and limited information about what to do if you are raped or a victim of incest). http://teens.denverlibrary.org/life/sex.html. <br /><br />The computer policy also refers to keeping the privacy screens on the computers and erasing customer histories - if these two measures were employed consistently even on personal laptops the "welcoming" library concern would be addressed.<br /><br />Thanks for providing a different entry point into the great research done on EROTICS - and to help us all build better arguments and understanding regarding the need for a free and accessible internet.

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Thank you very much for your input. I really liked the idea - will take it as <br />a proposal - of making searches on sexual health to see what comes up - or <br />not in all places with public access. Your comment is so interesting that <br />could be a blog post by itself :D Wait to read the about to come out second <br />EroTICs edition!!
Posted on 08/01/2011 - 21:50 | Reply
I am seldom in a US library, but ever since I learned about the EROTICS research, whenever I *am* in a place with supposed "public access" I always attempt to make searches on sexual health to see what comes up - or not. I am also curious about how filters affect multi-lingual access. <br /><br />Who gets to decide what people can view (or post) is always a tough call. I for example do not report sexist or demeaning videos on youtube as inappropriate content but do do so when a video shows a clear violation of rights - ie, women being assaulted online including portrayal of the victim´s face.<br /><br /> I also have to admit that I agree personally with this statement of the Denver Public Library - "In addition, we feel that accessing pornography in a public place is inconsistent with the welcoming and comfortable environment we seek to provide." Having been in cybercafes where just to walk to your computer you see varied images of sex acts on your neighboring screens I have to agree that in my case, those cybercafes do not make me feel welcome or safe for me or my kid. But, everyone´s definition of pornography is different, and imposing one definition over another - and furthermore hoping that filtering software can understand one´s complex definitions - point to the need for solutions other than filtering.<br /><br />At least in the case of the Denver Library system, it seems like they are caught between a rock and a hard place - having to comply with legislation that has a very narrow scope or at least a highly subjective one (and if they do not comply, being liable to lawsuits in sue-happy US) and that passion of librarians - access to knowledge and information. I read their computer/internet policy which governs general use, and noted that at least in their specially created "teens" site there is a section devoted to sexuality, sexual pleasure and health, specifically selected by staff (but just a snip of what is available on this subject and limited information about what to do if you are raped or a victim of incest). http://teens.denverlibrary.org/life/sex.html. <br /><br />The computer policy also refers to keeping the privacy screens on the computers and erasing customer histories - if these two measures were employed consistently even on personal laptops the "welcoming" library concern would be addressed.<br /><br />Thanks for providing a different entry point into the great research done on EROTICS - and to help us all build better arguments and understanding regarding the need for a free and accessible internet.
Posted on 07/29/2011 - 12:24 | Reply