Now here is an interesting Twitter feed: A running report on every book being checked out of all of Harvard’s libraries. Feels voyeuristic to me, but you have to stretch your imagination to figure out how this would be an invasion of privacy. If the tweets are close to real time, maybe somebody could watch who comes out of Widener library right after “Anglo-Saxon Wills” was checked out, and maybe identify the person who is trying to challenge a millennium-old bequest. (That is a real example — at least the name of the book part.) Still, even without being able to figure out who is reading this stuff, knowing that SOMEBODY is RIGHT NOW finding a need to read that classic tome, “Documents diplomatiques. Deuxième Conférence internationale pour la répression de la traite des blanches (18 avril-4 mai 1910),” — well, I just can’t help thinking it is none of my business. The book is about the white slave trade. Am I just a prude?
Re-identification is a very sophisticated art these days. Maybe someone can figure out how to make mischief by correlating these data with some other source. I can’t think of a way off the top of my head. What think you?