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TBTF for 1995-07-07: A cyberlibrary and net.censorship

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Fri, 7 Jul 1995 06:15:02 -0400

[We start off today with a good example of a traditional service moved whole
into Cyberspace.]

>>From Edupage:

University of Michigan's School of Library and Information Science has
established an Internet Public Library on the World Wide Web. The site,
<http://ipl.sils.umich.edu/>, offers the usual reference assistance and even
a story hour for children. "We'd like to be a model for traditional
libraries, to show them how they can use their own libraries to mount
information on the Internet," says the IPL's director. (Chronicle of Higher
Education 1995-07-07 A16)

[The cited URL is graphically magnificant but not speedy over a 14.4 link.
See the text-only version at <http://ipl.sils.umich.edu/index.text.html>.]

[Now a variety of items from the net.censorship / cyberporn / protect-the-
kids battlefront.]

The report "Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway" by
Carnegie-Mellon University computer science researcher Marty Rimm (published
by the Georgetown Law Journal and featured in the July 3rd Time magazine
cover story on cyberporn) is being attacked by critics who think it is
sensationalistic. Vanderbilt marketing professor Donna Hoffman calls it "a
very bad piece of misleading research, and the way it was released shows a
clear pattern of media manipulation." Hoffman's critiques of the Rimm study
and the Time cover story are at <http://www2000.ogsm.vanderbilt.edu/>. Various
law professors have defended the study, and George Washington University law
professor Anne Wells Branscomb characterizes the study's methodology as
"academically rigorous." (New York Times 1995-07-03 p.24)

[Rimm has now responded with a rebuttal; see

A "content rating field" will be added this summer to the World Wide Web,
allowing browsers (and their parents) to know what kind of content is posted
at a given site. Tim Berners-Lee, who designed the WWW when he worked at
CERN in Switzerland and who now directs the WWW industry association located
at MIT, says: "The analogy to draw is with movie and video-game rating
systems. Initially, the new technology will permit voluntary self-rating
systems." (New York Times 1995-07-03 p.24)

House members Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a
bill last week that would bar the FCC from regulating Internet content, and
would instead provide incentives for private sector policing of online smut.
(Multichannel News 1995-07-03)

>>From NetSurfer Digest

SafeSurf is a parents' organization that takes an interesting tack in the
recently trendy movement to shelter kids from the shadier aspects of the
online world. SafeSurf advocates changing the focus from identifying "bad"
sites to marking "good" sites where children may frolic without worry. The
group proposes that sites appropriate for children identify themselves with
a HTML comment at the top of their pages. This "child-safe" code could be
read by suitably configured browsers, and sites not so marked would not be
displayed by the browser. More details and a nice collection of kid-friendly
links can be found at SafeSurf's page: <http://www.safesurf.com/wave/>.

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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
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