BiblioCommons Community Lists - The Minimum to Be Done
07 Oct 2021
Update 2021-10-18: I've now had replies by email from the Vancouver and Edmonton public library systems, and have shared the suggestions for design changes below with them, as I think it's important that Bibliocommons institutional customers advocate for the needed changes as well as a random ex-librarian / software developer with a Twitter account.
Update 2021-10-08: Some members of the Biblicommons team reached out to me this morning and said they generally agree with the suggestions below regarding the recommended design changes to help make the nature of community-created lists more clear, and will be considering them based on user testing and work with their library partners. I appreciate their responsiveness and attention on this matter, kudos to them.
Some fast updates on yesterday's post Public Libraries, BiblioCommons, and COVID-19 Conspiracy Platforming, written on my coffee break via the GitHub file editor.
- I haven't heard back yet from representatives of any of the public libraries I contacted about the issues described in the post, either on Twitter or in replies to emails I sent this morning to the executives in charge of technology at the library.
- Sam Popowich wrote a smart post about intellectual freedom issues in libraries generally that mentions this issue.
- Several people sent me some suspect Bibliocommons lists. The most startling one was the thinly-veiled anti-semitism list.
- A number of smart library people via Twitter discussed some of these issues with me in ways that helped clarify my thinking:
- Mita Williams on the value of community list-making and her own use of lists in Bibliocommons
- Galen Charlton found an example of a community-created list being confused with a library-created list in a news article
- Becky Yoose gave me some history on how the community-created lists feature used to be designed, as someone who previously worked for a library using Bibliocommons
In the short term, I think the minimum to be done should include the following, and I hope that libraries using Bibliocommons will take these as a starting point for advocacy with the vendor:
- Design changes to make the difference between community-created and library-created lists very obvious
- Design changes to make it clearer that community-created lists can come from users of any library system using Bibliocommons
There are larger and more complicated issues, but I think those changes could be made relatively quickly, are hopefully uncontroversial in making no changes to community-created content moderation or terms of service, and would address some of the concerns.