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Cyberculture and Personnel Security

Cyberculture and Personnel Security
Source: Defense Personnel Security Research Center
Report I — Orientation, Concerns, and Needs (PDF)

Computers and related technologies, such as smart phones and video games, are now a common part of everyday life. Many people spend a large portion of their waking hours using and socializing through these devices, forming what is known as a cyberculture. Personnel security investigative and adjudicative standards were developed before these products were widely available; however, cyberculture bears relevance to personnel security due both to the presence of existing security issues and potential effects on psychological outcomes and workplace performance. Although cyberculture has many beneficial effects, this project evaluates how participation can negatively affect personnel security and employee performance. This initial report provides context, outlines presently actionable findings and strategies, highlights some questions that cannot yet be answered, and draws on outside research to guide future research. Information from many sources was examined, including academic research journals, other federal organizations, news reports, and cyber environments, to understand cyber activities relevant to personnel security. Participation is widespread in U.S. society and popular among all age groups. Some cyber activities, such as foreign associations, can be reportable per existing investigative criteria, so procedures should be updated appropriately and promptly. Other topics require research before action is recommended. One concern is how online disinhibition, where people who become more willing to disclose personal information, deceive, or become hostile, affects personnel security. Increased willingness to disclose may amplify the counterintelligence concerns for individuals targeted by hostile parties. There are also many potential negative effects on impulse control, mental health, physical health, and workplace behavior. Future research is intended to further guide policy, workforce awareness, investigations, and adjudications.

Report II – Ethnographic Analysis of Second Life (PDF)

This report presents the results from an ethnographic examination of a popular virtual social environment, Second Life, as the second part of a larger effort to study the impact of participation in cyber activities on personnel security and safety. Research has shown that cyber participation can spill over into individuals’ offline lives, which could be of security concern to the extent that their online behavior demonstrates poor judgment and/or undermines their reliability. Several immersive ethnographic methods were used in the present study, including participation observation, group discussions, and one-on-one interviews with 148 Second Life users who resembled the demographics of clearance holders. The reported findings include a description of behaviors of potential concern, a set of case studies that outline the behaviors of actual users, and a framework of user personas that attempts to distinguish between innocuous use of no apparent security concern from problematic use that may pose risks to national security. These findings contain implications for updating personnel security policy regarding cyber involvement.

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Home Location Identification of Twitter Users

Home Location Identification of Twitter Users
Source: arXiv.org

We present a new algorithm for inferring the home location of Twitter users at different granularities, including city, state, time zone or geographic region, using the content of users tweets and their tweeting behavior. Unlike existing approaches, our algorithm uses an ensemble of statistical and heuristic classifiers to predict locations and makes use of a geographic gazetteer dictionary to identify place-name entities. We find that a hierarchical classification approach, where time zone, state or geographic region is predicted first and city is predicted next, can improve prediction accuracy. We have also analyzed movement variations of Twitter users, built a classifier to predict whether a user was travelling in a certain period of time and use that to further improve the location detection accuracy. Experimental evidence suggests that our algorithm works well in practice and outperforms the best existing algorithms for predicting the home location of Twitter users.

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Oyster Books: Worth the Price of Admission?

Oyster is a new IOS app being hailed as the Netflix for books. It involves paying a monthly subscription fee of $9.95 per month to gain unlimited access to over 100,000 eBook titles.  The service is only available on an Apple iPhone or iPad.  An Android app may be released in the future, but no release date has been announced.

The service launched on September 5, 2013 to a start-up company based in New York. Currently there are 8 employees, none of which are librarians.

This new service has over 100,000 books from a small handful of publishers, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Workman and Smashwords. They are adding new titles frequently.

Read the full story

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Thinking of creating a Facebook page for your library? Consider these important details.

This was originally posted on the UNYSLA blog  by Jeremy Cusker and is reposted here with permission.

Many otherwise well-informed, technically savvy librarians can miss important details when it comes to Facebook. This is especially important when librarians consider setting up Facebook pages for their institutions. 

1.) Not everything (perhaps not even most things) you post on Facebook will reach all subscribers. This is especially true for a page with many followers. If your whole experience with Facebook is communicating with friends and family, this fact can take some people by surprise. It simply is not possible for a Facebook page with many, many followers (perhaps more than 50 or 60) to receive every update made to a given page. The sheer volume of data would be unmanageable.

Instead, Facebook’s algorithms determine what makes it through to each user based on a joint consideration of that users’ expressed interests, the nature of the post (see below), and the volume of posts made by your page (also see below).

If you want all posts to be seen by all subscribers, every time, then what you want is either Twitter or a blog with RSS, not Facebook.

2.) It is especially unlikely that your posts will make it through to the majority of users if you do not make regular updates. When deciding whether or not to start up a Facebook page for your library, be advised that for it to work well, it will need to be constantly updated–at least once every day or so. As described above, failure to regularly post content will cause updates to your Facebook page to become that much less likely to make it through to individual users. Facebook’s algorithms will ‘de-privilege’ your updates and posts to appear in the feeds of fewer and fewer of your followers.

3.) If you do not regularly interact with followers who like or comment on your updates, it becomes more unlikely that your posts will make it through to your users. Again, if you are looking for a way to merely make announcements about what is going on in your library, then Facebook is probably not the tool you want. Facebook’s algorithm improves the likelihood of your updates appearing in people’s feeds based not only on how often you update, but on how often you interact with your followers. Do you ‘Like’ their posts? Do you respond to comments?

Again, it bears emphasis: Facebooking is, if not a full-time job, then certainly not a light time commitment.

4.) It’s better to post or re-post things from within Facebook itself than from ‘outside’. Want to pass along an interesting news item to your followers? Go to that news source’s own Facebook page, find that article and cross-post it from there. Facebook consciously de-privileges posts of content that come from sites outside of Facebook itself, making it that much less likely to show up. It does this both because such cross-posts eat up more memory and also because it adds more clicks and fractional revenue to Facebook itself.

5.) Overall, consider what you want your Facebook page to accomplish for your institution and how much effort you want to devote to it. It’s easy to create a Facebook page, hard to keep it going on a daily basis, reaching users. A Facebook page is not a perfect analog for a traditional organizational website, nor as a straightforward means of publicizing news and events. Consider Twitter and/or a traditional site with RSS tagging if those are your goals.

 

Have questions? Contact Jeremy Cusker at Cornell University Library, jpc27(a)cornell.edu.

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Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online |Pew

Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

A new survey finds that most internet users would like to be anonymous online, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous online. Some of the key findings:

  • 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
  • 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government.

The representative survey of 792 internet users also finds that notable numbers of internet users say they have experienced problems because others stole their personal information or otherwise took advantage of their visibility online. Specifically:

  • 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
  • 12% have been stalked or harassed online.
  • 11% have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
  • 6% have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
  • 6% have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
  • 4% have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.

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