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Title:Library Privacy in Context
Author(s):Pratter, Jonathan
Subject(s):Libraries --Automation
Library personnel management
Online library catalogs
Library catalogs and users
Abstract:The English word private comes from the Latin privatus meaning "withdrawn from public life, deprived of office, peculiar to oneself, or private," and which is itself the past participle otprivare, meaning "to bereave or to deprive." 1 The Greek word idiotes means both "private person" and "ignorant, ill-informed person" and is derived from idios meaning both "private" and "peculiar" and which gives us the English idiot and idiosyncrasy. 2 Hannah Arendt has suggested that a large part of what we consider the private and intimate realm was held by the classical Greeks to be the sphere of mere necessity and material dependence. 3 A citizen of classical Athens had to leave the family and household and enter the public realm the polis in order to achieve freedom and the realization of his human potential. 4 Arendt's view has been criticized recently, but even her critic concedes that life as a member of the polis was primary. "One's existence, one's values, one's fulfillment as a member of the human species was dependent on being a member of the polis." 5 All of this suggests that the classical civilizations had an idea of privacy that is foreign to ours today. They devoted a lot of attention to the question of what constitutes the good life. Yet they assigned a modest role to privacy as a part of life. Certainly consideration of the ancients does not require us to throw over our own understanding of privacy. It should bring us to give some thought to it as a value in modern life.
Issue Date:1985
Publisher:Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:In D. Shaw, ed. 1985. Human aspects of library automation : helping staff and patrons cope: Papers presented at the 1985 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library and Information Science: 117-125.
Series/Report:Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing (22nd : 1985)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1985.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-07-10

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