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LIBLICENSE-L  February 2015

LIBLICENSE-L February 2015

Subject:

Re: Politico on the Pearson juggernaut

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:24:14 -0500

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From: "Hinchliffe, Lisa W" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 21:10:16 +0000

Great questions on data, privacy, and user experience. This message
may get a little long since I have been tracking on a lot of this for
awhile now - my files are lengthy - but I'll try for a summary/high
points! I'm not sure any of it rises to the level of "raging" debate.
Happy to share more if something in particular interests.

I think a number of recent posts on Scholarly Kitchen (Joe Esposito's
http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/01/22/big-sister/; Roger
Schonfeld's http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/02/05/data-for-discovery/,
and Phill Jones'
http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/02/16/outliers-and-the-importance-of-anonymity-usage-data-versus-snooping-on-your-customers/)
have done a nice job of starting to sketch the contours of the issues
at play here. These are posts as well where I would encourage to read
the comments. Good dialogue happening.

Within ALA, LITA has recently created a Patron Privacy Technologies
Interest Group (http://www.ala.org/lita/about/igs/public/lit-Pp). And,
of course, the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Initiative
(http://www.acrl.org/value) began advocated for more systematic data
collection and analysis in order to support creating, documenting, and
communicating the value of academic and research libraries a couple of
years ago - which necessarily raised these issues as well.

At the risk of self-citation ... this issue that librarians need to
engage with information content providers is part of what is behind
the "Analytics and Privacy: A Proposed Framework for Negotiating
Service and Value Boundaries" session that I presented with Andrew
Asher at CNI this past December.  The session was recorded
(http://www.cni.org/news/video-analytics-and-privacy/) and the PPT is
online as well (http://www.cni.org/topics/assessment/analytics-and-privacy-a-proposed-framework-for-negotiating-service-and-value-boundaries/).
The draft framework is also available online
(https://www.evernote.com/shard/s22/sh/3d95fca3-eba3-4902-8117-17aedd89dc19/474dfbb91811d4cda2a68d0f63a5aac4).
We welcome any and all suggestions for revisions. If you watch the
video, you will also see that Andrew and I are not in complete
agreement about the right approach so one thing we are hopefully doing
is modeling the kind of engaged discussion we think needs to happen
with people on all sides of this topic. Andrew and I will be hosting a
larger discussion/program on the next version of the the Analytics and
Privacy Framework at ALA Annual in San Francisco - "All the Data:
Privacy, Service Quality, and Analytics" on Saturday, June 27,
10:30-11:30 am, specific location not yet known.

For what it is worth, I think there are two components of the
discussion we need to be having. First, librarians need to become
better informed about how data are collected, passed, parsed, etc. and
the degree to which the features we and our users have desired in
products are dependent on these data flows. I'm not confident that we
are as fully educated on how the data work to have as robust a
discussion as we need to. Second, we need to make decisions to align
our practices with our dual and (in this arena) competing values of
privacy and service quality. At the simple level, we have done this in
circulation records by keeping a record that ties the book and user
together only when the book is checked out, but when it is checked out
we do compromise absolute privacy of the individual in order to serve
the common good of getting our books back. The networked content
environment is admittedly way more complicated than that though! At
the moment I worry that the conversations have tended to a "the sky is
falling" rhetoric about privacy that overwhelms us from taking action
as compared with an intentional and deeply reflective analysis of the
future that we want to create and what it will take to get there.

One final thought - there is one other company that collects, manages,
etc. user data that I worry about along with Pearson. iParadigms may
have even more troubling data, willingly provided (and indeed students
and others are often mandated to submit their data). If you don't
recognize the name, iParadigms is the company that runs Turnitin and
WriteCheck (plagiarism checking of student work), iThenticate
(plagiarism checking on article manuscripts for journals, grant
proposals, etc.), and Turnitin for Admissions (checking admissions
essays, personal statements, etc.).  Yes, it appears there is a
company with a database of grant proposals and manuscripts submitted
... not just those funded and accepted. All tied to user data. I'd be
far more concerned as a researcher about that user data than any
trails of what I searched for in a library resource!

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe
Professor/Coordinator for Strategic Planning/Coordinator for
Information Literacy Services and Instruction
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
[log in to unmask]

________________________________________
From: Bernie Reilly <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:17:59 +0000

My intent in referencing the Politico article was to the broach the
topic of user information in the educational and scholarly publishing
realm.  Factual errors about who owns what notwithstanding, it seems
to me that the collection and use of information about student and
faculty research by large commercial entities like Pearson represents
a turning point.  The Politico report suggests to me that Pearson is
using its integration of online learning, course management, training,
testing, and publishing platforms, to aggregate -- and monetize --
information about those in academia.  While federal regulations
strictly limit what Pearson can do with data on K-12 students, there
are few restrictions on what they can do with information they gather
post-secondary users.

I wonder about the potential impact of this on libraries in
particular.  Traditionally, libraries have erected robust firewalls
around circulation data, data about who reads and uses what.  With the
advent of electronic materials ("E-books: the books that read you.")
granular usage data can now be gathered by publishers.  While these
data are in most instances anonymized, the practice encroaches upon
the absolute privacy that researchers once had.  Given the degree to
which information industry business models depend on monetizing user
data, I doubt that this reality is likely to change, even with
government regulations.

Debate about this may well be raging somewhere out there in the
research libraries world.  If so, I would be grateful if any of my
fellow Liblicense readers could direct me to that venue.

Bernie Reilly
CRL


-----Original Message-----
From: David Groenewegen <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:35:01 +1100

To be fair, Pearson do own 47% of Penguin Random House - they may not
be the majority owner, but I'm assuming they make some money off it
and and have some say in how it is run.

David

David Groenewegen
Director, Research Infrastructure
Monash University Library
VIC 3800
AUSTRALIA
[log in to unmask]


On 11/02/2015 2:14 PM, LIBLICENSE wrote:
> From: Joseph Esposito <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 22:11:06 -0500
>
> I don't want to defend Pearson, but surely that article in Politico
> could have been fact-checked.  A good place to begin would have been
> by using Pearson's own Financial Times or its half-interest in the
> Economist.  Such an investigation would have revealed that Pearson is
> not the owner of Penguin Random House (that must have come as a shock
> to Bertelsmann) and that the statement of how Pearson really got going
> in the U.S. is simply wrong, as the acquisition of the U.S.'s largest
> and most profitable textbook publisher, Prentice-Hall, was already
> completed.
>
> I am sure there are a bunch of bad guys at Pearson.  But what is
> Politico's defense?
>
> Joe Esposito
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:02 PM, LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> From: Bernie Reilly <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 01:35:16 +0000
>>
>> The in-depth report on the British publishing giant Pearson in
>> today’s Politico (“No profit left behind”)
>>
>> http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/pearson-education-115026.html?h
>> p=r1_4
>>
>> is a timely sequel to a recent New Yorker piece on Jeb Bush’s links
>> to the for-profit education industry.  One Pearson executive recently
>> claimed that Pearson is the largest aggregator of student information.
>>
>> Bernie Reilly
>> CRL

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