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Google Docs - maybe not

Google’s overall goal is to have a record of every e-mail we have ever written, every contact whose details we have recorded, every file we have created, every picture we have taken and saved, every appointment we have made, every website we have visited, every search query we have typed into its home page, every ad we have clicked on, and everything we have bought online. It wants to know and record where we have been and, thanks to our search history of airlines, car-hire firms and MapQuest, where we are going in the future and when. John Arlidge  Google. Who's looking at you? Times of London Online, October 21, 2007. (Thanks to Stephen's Lighthouse for this link.)

bigb.jpgAs do many Internet users, I take major advantage of Google products. The search engines (of course), the iGoogle startpage, gmail, and more recently, Google Docs. Our tech department has even been tossing around the idea of replacing our Exchange e-mail/calendaring/contacts server with an institutional version of Google Apps. The ease, effectiveness, and cost - or lack thereof - make Google's stuff very, very seductive.

But are we paying a hidden, very high price - our privacy - for Google's services? I agree with Stephen Abrams when he suggests that "[The above] article should be must reading in all information literacy education. Our users (and ourselves) should be making conscious choices."

I've written about the need for teaching students to be making informed choices about how much information they provide online "So Tell Us a Little About Yourself" that goes beyond simply protecting oneself from strangers. My recommendation in 2003 was:

“How much do you want others to know about you?” is a question we should be asking our students to ask themselves. It is a question that can only have a personal answer. But it should be an informed answer.

I'll stand by that. And suggest that the issue is more important now than ever.

Oh, for those of you who Twitter each stray thought, personal itch, and titch of gossip, do you ever wonder who might be collecting and analyzing these bits?


International School Library Day

isldlogo.gif International School Library Day
Fourth Monday in October each year

(From International Association of School Libraries' - IASL's -  website

International School Library Day was proclaimed by the IASL President, Dr Blanche Woolls, in 1999 and reaffirmed by the IASL President, Peter Genco, in 2005.

The first International School Library Day was celebrated on 18 October 1999, with the theme, "A Day in the Life...".

The ninth International School Library Day will be held on 22 October 2007.

International School Library Day 2007
Date: 22 October 2007
Theme: Learning: Powered by your school library
Join us in celebrating this day!
IASL's Coordinator of International School Library Day is Rick Mulholland of Canada


I'll miss you at AASL

The AASL Conference next week will be the first one I have missed since 1994. I am having separation anxiety as I feel the excitement of those of you who will be heading off to Reno. From what I see it looks like a great program and some terrific sessions.

I made a deliberate decision not to attend this year. For the second conference in a row, planners have not allowed members to submit workshop proposals. For a volunteer organization, this is wrong, and I will not attend any AASL conferences until this policy is changed. Yes, I have voiced this complaint to AASL conference planners and the AASL leadership.

The primary problem, beyond displaying a lack of confidence in the rank and file that they have something of value to present in a workshop setting, is that the workshop choices don't give new voices, fresh experiences and different viewpoints an opportunity to heard. God bless the chosen workshoppers, all high quality people who have a lot to offer, but let's face it, none are exactly spring chickens, if you know what I mean. (Were I giving a workshop, I'd have been an oldie as well.)

I suspect that I am probably the only person bothered by this. And let me be clear - I'm not mad about not doing a workshop - I'm mad about not being given the chance to even be rejected. There is a big difference.

expo07graphic.jpgJust so you won't worry too much about me, do know I'll be working this Friday while AASL is in session with librarians in the Plano, TX area at their Library Expo gathering.

Yee, haw! Looking forward to it.