Fred Atkinson wrote:
> So, then you are saying that they should remove ham radio books from
> the library? I don't think so.
I wouldn't think a reputable quality ham-radio book would present any
problem in a school library. Because the book would be for younger
readers, I would hope that the book contains prominent cautions and
warnings about any power dangers in the equipment or installing
outside aerials. When I was a kid there were ham radio books in both
school and public libraries. It was considered a wholesome hobby.
There were also ham radio clubs in school.
>> As to the Internet: There is a great deal of mis-information out
>> there, some of it even dangerous. Anybody can set up a site and put
>> anything they want on it; that by no means makes it authoritative or
>> appropriate. Even legitimate organizations screw up on their Internet
>> sites by failing to keep the information timely and accurate.
> There has been misinformation in publications since the beginning of
> time. Anyone can write and sell a book if they want to go to the
> trouble. How is this any different?
While anyone can write a book and pay to publish it, getting it
distributed and purchased is another matter entirely.
There is a big difference between book publishing and Internet web
pages. Anyone can set up a web page at very modest cost that looks
authoritative and accurate but may be actually garbage or even a scam.
On the other hand, to get a book published and distributed takes a lot
of effort. Reputable book publishers make some effort to edit serious
non-fiction offerings (not including fad books such as diet books).
Books for libraries are reviewed and rated. It is by no means a
perfect system; but my point is that there is at least some editing
and selection process going on at various levels; on the Internet
there is none whatsoever.
>> As mentioned, student "access" is already quite limited in many ways.
> So, we justify limiting them to things that could be beneficial to
> them to achieve that end?
The original argument "students are now being limited to what they can
see" was a bad premise to begin with -- kind of a "Have you stopped
beating your wife yes/no?" question. Every time this issue comes up
activists get all excited about supposed constitutional rights, etc.,
and things get blown all out of proportion. Starting statements like
that is bad public discourse.
My response remains merely that for a variety of reasons things were
always limited to students. I also note that schools and institutions
bear much liability if kids abuse what they have. That is, the school
and its administrations get into the trouble, not the kids who did the
mischief. It is only reasonable for the administrators to take steps
to protect themselves. It is no different that employers who limit
employee's Internet access or "free speech" in the workplace to cover
It's easy for outsiders, who bear no liability risks, to tell other
people what to do and what risks to bear. But not exactly fair.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Lisa Hancock, I really do not care for
your attitude on this. If books are good (because they were very
time-consuming and costly to prepare and edit) and web pages are bad
(basically for the lack of the same reasons) then how do you explain
some of the total crap which has been published over the years, such
as the literature published by A. Hitler and others in Germany during
the 1920-30's and much also in America? And although I am only a mere
web publisher and could not begin to meet the expenses required of
having an editorial/fact-checking staff, my attitude is that the
_truth will eventually prevail_ and any sort of ethical web publisher
tries his best to make room for _all sides_ of an issue to be aired.
What you have done is give a slap in the face to everyone who has
attempted to present some social issue or another using the web as the
media of choice because of its low cost and ease of use. Not everyone
can _afford_ the cost of fancy printing and binding; all they want to
do is present the facts as they know them to the largest number of
people possible. Many or most of us under those circumstances do at
least use a kind of peer-review policy. PAT]