Saturday, September 08, 2012

Alterations, Little by Little

From September 1 to October 31, 2012, Armacost Library is holding an Intellectual Freedom Blogathon featuring posts on topics concerning censorship, the freedom to read, view, and express, and the connection these various freedoms have to individual life experiences and the state of society. The following essay is part of the Armacost Library Intellectual Freedom (ALIF) Blogathon. 
When discussing preserving Intellectual Freedom, often the first thing that comes to mind is the right to access information privately, unencumbered by restrictions or bans.

"When the flame of the sulphur splinters Nookd"
Barnes & Noble’s Nook incident, in which the word "kindle" was replaced with the word  "nook" throughout the e-text of War and Peace, is also a violation of intellectual freedom, albeit an advertising mishap. Though this may have been an innocent enough attempt at advertising, changing the text in a published work can be detrimental to the integrity of a library collection.

In 2011, the publisher New South Books decided to produce an edition of Huckleberry Finn that eliminated or changed racial terms into an alternate word than the one used in the original work.

This form of censorship is another instance in which it is necessary for librarians to ensure library patrons’ rights are not violated via censorship through omission or alteration of original texts or works. 

Stephanie Milner
Armacost Library Intern, Summer & Fall 2012
Student, San Jose State University School of Library & Information Science

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