[bksvol-discuss] adult content designation

  • From: Nicole Gnutzman <nicoleg@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 11:43:36 -0700

Dear volunteers,

I'm the Director of Literacy Operations at Benetech (you can go to 
http://www.benetech.org/about/management_team.shtml#ng to check out my 
profile). The Volunteer Program, Collections Development, Membership and 
Technical Support groups report to me. You may see me chime in periodically on 
policy-related issues raised by the volunteer list when the policy is outside 
of the volunteer program, but still under the purview of operations. I'll leave 
volunteer policy communication in the capable hands of Scott and Pavi. All 
policy-related communication is reviewed by me; Betsy Beaumon, General Manager, 
Literacy Program; and Jim Fruchterman, Benetech's CEO. 

Scott and Julie Carpenter, Collections Development Manager, brought the adult 
content designation issue to my attention and we sought input from the team at 
Benetech to answer your questions and concerns.

The adult content designation has been in place at Bookshare from its launch in 
2002. From the start of the membership process, minors are protected from 
viewing adult content. The default for all members under the age of 18, 
including students covered by the Bookshare for Education grant, is to NOT see 
adult content.  A parent or guardian must give permission to Bookshare in 
writing for members under the age of 18 to access books with adult content. 
Although the default for members over 18 is to have all content enabled in 
Bookshare, all members over the age of 18 may choose to block adult content. 
This feature is in "My Account" under "Preferences." 

Bookshare has developed an adult content filter that runs all text through a 
quality assurance (QA) process in which the text is compared to two lists of 
trigger words. One list is of terms severe enough that one instance of that 
word trips the adult content filter; the other list requires multiple instances 
of the term to trip the filter. No matter whether the filter is tripped or not, 
the final determination is still made by a member of the collection development 
team. We do not allow an algorithm to trump human judgment when it comes to 
placing books in the adult content category. 

Bookshare is content-neutral and strives to serve all portions of its 
community. This includes members in our community who wish to opt-in to seeing 
adult content and those who wish to opt-out of seeing this material.  We are 
grateful for all volunteer contributions to our collection.



Nicole Gnutzman
Director, Literacy Operations

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