Of librarians, preachers and 911 operators….

If I wanted to know the most common human FAQs, I’d ask librarians, preachers and 911 operators.

So said Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, to the assembled masses of the Reference User and Services Association, American Library Association. You can find a copy of his full speech here. [Strangely enough, I quoted from his speech last year as well.]

His talk was entitled Public Policy and the Future of the Internet; in it, fairly early on, he asserts the importance of the Three Is (Internet, Intellectual Property and Identity) more eloquently than I’ve been able to manage, which only goes to show. He says:

I want to highlight three major areas of policy ferment that will play out in the coming decade.

The first policy debate involves what kind of internet we have – from an architectural and deployment standpoint.

The second involves what kind of information policies we have – basically I am treferring to the kind of rules we develop about information property such as copyright, patents and trademarks.

And the third involves what kind of policies and norms we develop about our online identities – that is, the policies we construct about online privacy, anonymity and surveillance.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it. While not expressly taking an extreme “side” on much of the debate, he lays out the issues dispassionately and accurately, and places it all in a framework that will help us conclude the debates and arguments. IMHO anyway.

I also liked the way he ended the session, providing 10 reasons why the future can belong to librarians. While I’m not a librarian, my interest in information and its management, distribution and access is such that I feel like I can vicariously belong.

I will comment in more detail later.

4 thoughts on “Of librarians, preachers and 911 operators….”

  1. Does anyone out there know what Lee’s gender is? I realise I have assumed that Lee is female, for no other reason than my having known more female Lees than male Lees. Apologies if I got it wrong.

  2. From Lee’s profile on Pew/Internet :

    “Prior to launching the Pew Internet Project, Rainie was managing editor of U.S. News & World Report. He is a graduate of Harvard College and has a master’s degree in political science from Long Island University.”

Let me know what you think