Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

The Research Process

To gather information for this report, the Center:

a. conducted a discussion of the issue on September 16, 1997 with ten members of the Center's Community Advisory Board (comprised of business and civic leaders) and eight University faculty, members of the Center's Steering Committee (including faculty from philosophy, communication, law, engineering, and religious studies), and three Center Directors (in charge of campus and community programs).

b. conducted a discussion on September 18 with Karen Burnett (Coordinator of School Libraries, Fremont Union High School District), Susan Fuller (Santa Clara County Librarian), Anne Marie Gold (Contra Costa County Librarian), Victoria Johnson (Director of the Sunnyvale City Library), Mary Jo Levy (Director of the Palo Alto Public Library), and Jane Light (Director of the San Jose Public Library). Summary minutes of this discussion are included as Appendix 5, along with email messages from other librarians.

c. conducted a "focused discussion meeting" on September 22, 1997, lasting over two hours among 13 advocates of limited access, with an additional 17 people attending. Shanks and Stenger conducted the meeting. All participants originally suggested by the City Councils and others as focus group participants were invited to participate if they favored limited access. (Appendix 6 includes a sample letter of invitation.) A flyer and letter of invitation (Appendix 7) was also distributed in public libraries throughout the county the weekend before the discussion. During the meeting, JPA and CAC members in attendance were able to submit written questions, as were other members of the audience, and most questions were incorporated into the discussion.
Only the 13 discussion participants were invited to speak during the meeting. We explained this was not the place for public debate or disagreement. Any person with an opposing viewpoint was invited to express it in writing after the meeting (either by mail or email) or to speak with me or another Center faculty member by phone or in person, as the limited time for this project allowed. Summary minutes, organized around the questions posed for discussion, are included as Appendix 8. This Appendix also includes email messages sent to the Center after the meeting.

d. conducted a similar focused discussion on September 24, 1997, also lasting over two hours, among 14 advocates of open access, with an additional 19 people attending. Summary minutes, organized around the questions posed for discussion, are included as Appendix 9. This Appendix also includes email messages sent to the Center after the meeting.

e. reviewed thirty email messages sent by librarians, advocates of limited access, and advocates of open access. Messages whose authors agreed to be on the record are included where appropriate in the report.

f. supplemented these meetings and email messages with twelve private phone or in-person conversations, sought either by us or by the other party.

g. gathered information on five filtering software companies: in-person interviews with representatives of Netnanny (CEO Gordon Ross and Les Jickling) SurfWatch (Susan Larson and Ali Solomon); phone interviews with representatives of SafeSurf (Wendy Simpson and Founder Ray Solar), Cybersitter (VP of Marketing Mark Kanter), and X-Stop (CEO Ray Bradshaw).

h. tested the ease with which one could access sexually-explicit sites on the World Wide Web; tested X-Stop's filtering software, especially their librarian filter, for five days.

i. discussed relevant legal matters with two Santa Clara University law professors and a lawyer at the National Law Center.

j. met in executive session with 24 Santa Clara County librarians.

k. conducted a phone interview with Terry Jackson, San Bruno Librarian, whose library has installed filters; and with David Burt of Filtering Facts, an organization advocating the use of filters in libraries.

l. sought new problem-solving approaches and solutions through conversations with Steve Cisler, former librarian and Senior Scientist in the Advanced Technology Group at Apple Computer where he runs the Apple Library of Tomorrow Program; Jeanette Garretty, Vice President and Senior Economist at BankAmerica Corporation; Anthony Pozos, Vice President of Human Resources at Amdahl Corporation; and Suzanne Shaw, KRON-TV Anchorperson.

m. reviewed newspaper coverage of the recent history of this issue in the County in The San Jose Mercury News, The Gilroy Dispatch, and The Morgan Hill Times.

Because of time limitations we were unable to pursue the many suggestions we received of other individuals to contact or written or on line information to gather.

Back to the Table of Contents or voice your opinion.