Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Data warehouses

There is an article in the May 9 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education that discussed the possibility of schools having huge databases of student information. Florida has assembled such a database, which allows them to track students from "kindergarten through graduate school and beyond." They said this kind of information can be very useful for assessment and research. They can do studies to see if their education is having positive effects.

But of course their are concerns about privacy. There is concern that it could violate FERPA laws. And a security breach into the system could be a major problem. Research studies must be careful as well. Even if personal information has been removed, if they are looking at a small group (say a class with a few students) it could reveal too much.

The article also mentioned that there have been several news reports lately on "fusion centers" at law-enforcement agencies that can quickly pull up personal information on anyone.

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