A worked example of library privacy using ontological friction

For each library privacy scenario:

They will all have an INFORMATIONAL PRIVACY component

They will also involve ONE or MORE of the following privacy types

  • Bodily privacy
  • Spatial privacy
  • Communicational privacy
  • Proprietary privacy
  • Intellectual privacy
  • Decisional privacy
  • Associational privacy
  • Behavioural privacy

The flow of personal data (and therefore the privacy level) can be adjusted by one or more of the following ontological frictions

  • Temporal
  • Spatial
  • Sensory
  • Obscurity
  • Training & Awareness
  • Information behaviour
  • Context
  • Regulatory
  • Technological

A worked example:

In Virginia a husband requested circulation records of his wife to prove she had been “exploring avenues of divorce” before he filed the papers


  • Informational privacy
  • Decisional privacy
  • Intellectual privacy

And the flow of personal data is determined by the following types of friction:



  • Keeping the information for the minimum period required


  • Anonymising the borrowing records as soon as items are returned to the library

Training & awareness

  • Ensuring that all library staff are fully cognisant of the library’s policies and procedures and their obligations under the law