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Methods and resources to monitor internet censorship

Ina Fourie (Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Constance Bitso (Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town, Pretoria, South Africa)
Theo J.D. Bothma (Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of the importance for library and information services (LIS) to take the responsibility to find a manageable way to regularly monitor internet censorship in their countries, and to suggest a framework for such monitoring and to encourage manageable on-going small scale research projects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper follows on contract research for the IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression on country specific trends in internet censorship. Based on an extensive literature survey (not fully reflected here) and data mining, a framework is suggested for regular monitoring of country specific negative and positive trends in internet censorship. The framework addresses search strategies and information resources; setting up alerting services; noting resources for data mining; a detailed break-down and systematic monitoring of negative and positive trends; the need for reflection on implications, assessment of need(s) for concern (or not) and generation of suggestions for actions; sharing findings with the LIS community and wider society; and raising sensitivity for internet censorship as well as advocacy and lobbying against internet censorship. Apart from monitoring internet censorship, the framework is intended to encourage manageable on-going small scale research.

Findings

A framework of internet censorship monitoring can support the regular, systematic and comprehensive monitoring of known as well as emerging negative and positive trends in a country, and can promote timely expressions of concerns and appropriate actions by LIS. It can support sensitivity to the dangers of internet censorship and raise LIS’ levels of self-efficacy in dealing with internet censorship and doing manageable, small scale research in this regard.

Originality/value

Although a number of publications have appeared on internet censorship these do not offer a framework for monitoring internet censorship and encouraging manageable on-going small scale research in this regard.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The paper follows on contract research for the IFLA Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) on country specific trends in internet censorship.

Citation

Fourie, I., Bitso, C. and J.D. Bothma, T. (2014), "Methods and resources to monitor internet censorship", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 723-739. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-11-2013-0156

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited