Zines, libraries & privacy issues

Zines are usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter. They are often a vehicle for radical voices. They could be a political zine, a feminist zine, an LGBT zine and so on. They are ephemeral in nature, and often have very small print-runs.

The idea of privacy and trackless searching/use is often a very important principle for infoshops

Not all zine makers want their names listed on the internet

There’s a risk that easy availability of information about zine makers, and those who are interested in their zines could be used to flag people up to the authorities.

There’s a need for searching and using the library with a degree of privacy and untraceability (“rather than give the government fodder to harass them” (Hedtke, 2007 p41)

There are a number of examples of people talking of setting up separate public and private catalogues in order to keep certain information such as zine makers names more private

Vermillion (2009) writes that “we have been contacted to remove a last name from our database that was associated with a zine title that the author felt damaged her reputation in her current career—at age 16, she had no idea that the flippant title would ever be available online”.

Digitization of fanzines from many decades ago can throw up privacy issues – fans may have used their formal legal name (rather than a pseudonym), fully in the expectation of privacy, where the material was produced a long time before the world wide web was invented, and where the circulation of the fanzines was quite limited. In a chapter entitled “Identity, ethics, and fan privacy” written by Kristina Bussee and Karen Hellekson (in “Fan culture: theory/practice” edited by Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis) they say “…many fans published under their legal names, before the adoption of pseudonyms became commonplace. The full names of many fans thus appear in print on the cover of fanzines, in their tables of contents, and in ads circulated to market the zines….These fans…deserve privacy”

Zine librarians code of ethics http://zinelibraries.info/code-of-ethics/

Siobhan Britton dissertation What we do is secret? A study of issues relating to the collection, care, and accessibility of zines in institutional and alternative collections in the UK https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:10951/

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