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Internet Filters: Library Access Issues in a Cyberspace World. Paper delivered at the IFLA/FAIFE Open Session Lecture, 65th IFLA Council and General Conference, August 25, 1999, Bangkok, Thailand

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  • In the cyberspace universe of instant access to information and images of all kinds, how should librarians around the world respond to pressures for political and technological regulation of the Internet? What is a reasonable balance between the conflicting goals of open access and community values? Between children’s rights and parental responsibilities? Do Internet filtering software products provide a solution? Are they useful tools for identifying and controlling creative content on the Internet? Do they help librarians, teachers, and parents? Will they protect children and teenagers from exposure to ideas and images claimed to be damaging? Or are Internet filters merely the latest technologies for censoring certain ideas that are unpopular or controversial with the political elite? Do they result in viewpoint discrimination, in restricting and suppressing access to non-conforming expression? The topic of Internet filters is an exciting and challenging one for librarians because it represents the intersection of our roles as advocates for intellectual freedom, as organizers of information, and as promoters of reading and media literacy. It gives us the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise, and to increase our contribution to society at large and around the world.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution 3.0 International