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IL2009: Trying Not to Filter: Internet Filtering Technologies Update

This is my session for Internet @Schools this year about the status of internet filtering, how it works, our own libraries testing of four internet filters, and our successful battle against a city council member’s proposition that the library begin filtering all public computes.  SJPL remains an unfiltered library, and I am proud of that fact.  This presentation gives some information about that experience and what internet filters are like today.

You can view my presentation on Slideshare and also below.

You can also view the original materials from the San Jose Public Library’s filtering challenge, something we created for our community when the filtering proposal was initially made.  We’ve preserved it on the website as it continues to be an important resource for other libraries and we do still occasionally get inquiries from the public about the outcome and reasons for the city council’s decision.  Some of these documents may add some understanding for folks working on internet filtering issues at their own libraries.


“IL2009: Trying Not to Filter: Internet Filtering Technologies Update”

  1. Lesley Williams Says:

    Hi Sara,

    Did you look at CipaFilter? Any comparison stats? One of the things that most bothers me is filters which don’t tell you when a site has been blocked; you just get a “site unavailable” message. We filter only about half our stations and patrons can choose which to use. Our biggest problem is with MySpace pages being blocked.

  2. Sarah Says:

    We did not take a look at CIPAFilter. I have heard some pretty bad things about it, though. But without substantiation, I don’t feel I can make a judgment on it. All filtering companies fail to tell you which sites are on their blacklists and how they get there (what their standards are). It’s a “company secret” but basically the way they get the sites is through basic Google searches, and automated cataloging of content. That is inappropriate in a library environment where information is life, information is what we deal in. Trusting the blocking or unblocking of content to a computer, or at best to a low-paid intern at the company, is not appropriate for information professionals. This, along with the fact that the technology simply doesn’t work, is why I rail so strongly against filters in any format. It’s wrong. Period. And for librarians not to speak out against it constantly is also wrong.

  3. internet filter Says:

    Internet filtering is important but only for kids I think now MPB is doing that.

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