FIMS Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2016






Library Trends

First Page


Last Page



Protecting user privacy and confidentiality is fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship, and such protection constitutes one of eleven values in the American Library Association’s “Core Values of Librarianship” (2004). This paper addresses the concerns of protecting privacy in the library as they relate to library users who are defining, exploring, and negotiating their sexual identities with the help of the library’s information, programming, and physical facilities. In so doing, we enlist the aid of Garret Keizer, who, in Privacy (2012), articulates a fresh theory of the concept in light of American social life in the twenty-first century. Using Keizer’s theory, we examine these concerns within the context of the rise of big data systems and social media on the one hand, and linked data and new cataloging standards on the other. In so doing, we suggest that linked data technologies, with their ability to lead searchers through selfdirected, open inquiry, are superior to big data technologies in the navigation of the paradox between openness and secrecy. In this way they offer a greater potential to support the needs of queer library users: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning (LGBTQ).


Originally published in LIBRARY TRENDS, Vol. 64, No. 3, 2016 (“Valuing Librarianship: Core Values in Theory and Practice,” edited by Selinda A. Berg and Heidi LM Jacobs), pp. 492–511. © 2016 The Board of Trustees, University of Illinois

Find in your library