Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Access, Internet, and Public Libraries
A report to the Santa Clara County Public Libraries

Table of Contents:

Foreword and Disclaimer

Executive Summary

1. Introductions

2. The Project and the Markkula Center

  1. Project Goals
  2. Independence, Neutrality, and the Markkula Center

3. The Research Process

4. The Promise and the Problem: The Internet and its World Wide Web

5. Sexually-explicit materials: How much of a problem?

  1. Is There Sexually-Explicit Material On The Internet?
  2. How Does One Find Such Material?
    1. Through Yahoo
    2. Through Altavista
    3. Direct URL Access
    4. Common Words Leading To Sexually-Explicit Sites
  3. Aside From Filtering Software, What Prevents Access To Such Material?
    Adult Verification Systems
  4. Conclusion

6. The Impact Of Sexually-Explicit Materials And Pornography

7. Limited Access For Minors

8. The Library Bill of Rights

9. Open Access

10. Laws And Legal Issues

11. The Effectiveness Of Filtering Software

12. Industry Self Regulation

13. Making A Good Decision

14. Proposed Solutions

15. Recommendations

16. Conclusion

PC users download
the entire library report.

Mac users download
the entire library report.

Written by:

Thomas E. Shanks, Ph.D.
Executive Director,
Principal Investigator

Barry J. Stenger, Ph.D.
Director of Ethics Programs

With assistance from:
SCU students Kristine Wimberly, Joseph Westfall, Terry Brasch, Mark Ralkowski, Steve Campo, Michael Danielson, and Marc Hanson

This report was originally published in 1997 and updated in March 2002 by Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Research Assistant Tamar Weber.


  1. The Library Bill of Rights
    An Interpretation: Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks
    Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries
  2. "Ethics group hired for libraries"
  3. "An Approach to Ethical Decision-Making"
    "Approaching Ethics"
  4. "Thinking Ethically"
  5. Minutes and E-mail - Librarians
  6. Invitation to Focused Discussion
  7. Focused Discussion Flyer
  8. Minutes and E-mail - Limited Access
  9. Minutes and E-mail - Open Access
  10. Research on Pornography
  11. The Gilroy Story
  12. "Filtering Facts"
  13. Excerpts from the Decency Ruling
  14. Filtering Debate and Criteria
  15. Santa Clara County letter and policy

    Presented By:

    The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
    Santa Clara University