NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ720342
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1041-7915
Studying Indiana Public Libraries' Usage of Internet Filters
Comer, Alberta Davis
Computers in Libraries, v25 n6 p10-15 Jun 2005
A lot of literature from the past few years has discussed the importance of bridging the digital divide that exists between those with Internet access and those without. Public libraries have often declared themselves to be that bridge. This article looks at how Indiana's public libraries allow the citizens they serve access to the Internet. With a grant from the University Research Committee of Indiana State University, this author studied the use of filtering software and other restrictions that have been placed on patrons' computer usage. To determine Internet policies and usage in Indiana, a survey was mailed to all 434 Indiana public libraries (239 main and 195 branches) in the autumn of 2003. Thirty-three percent (144 of the 434 mailed) of the surveys were returned. Findings from the survey indicate that 66 percent of Indiana libraries have filters currently in place, and another 22 percent said that they are planning to install filters in the future. Several factors drive the use of Internet filters in public libraries. For example, CIPA, the Children's Internet Protection Act, mandates that schools and libraries install filtering software or risk losing their eligibility for federal funding. Some libraries, however, spoke out against filtering, claiming that filtering is intrusive and unnecessary, and that children's use of the Internet is the responsibility of the parents. Other libraries indicated that they used a form of non-technological filtering--the library computers were located in an environment that could be viewed and monitored by the staff. Survey results also showed that 88 percent of the responding libraries place restrictions on patrons' usage of computers (restricting pornography, e-mail, and chat rooms). Ninety percent place restrictions on juveniles' use of the Internet. The article includes a list of filtering software currently used in libraries. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750. Tel: 609-654-6266; Fax: 609-654-4309.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana