Friday, August 11, 2006

Airline travel, computer equipment & us

The world again changed yesterday when airlines quickly updated their security policy in the wake of an alleged terrorist plot uncovered in England. I have heard of people not being able to take computer equipment or electronic devices on airplanes. (Although the Transportation Safety Administration says that this equipment is allowed on flights in the U.S. However, Continental notes that on flights from England, electronic devices must be checked.) If this is true on any flight, it means allowing your equipment to go out of your control. It could be lost, stolen or broken. It means not being able to work (or play) electronically while waiting for your flight or while sitting on a plane. And it means not being able to contact people to tell them where you are and that you are safe.

If checking electronic equipment becomes more widespread, then people will travel with fewer electronic devices and expect to be able to use devices wherever they are going (for free or at cost). This could change amenities at hotels and convention centers. It could also change the number of people coming to libraries and Internet cafes to do work. If you are connected with a library of any kind, you might want to think about the impact this could have. If the rules changed, and people couldn't carry electronic devices, how might that effect your library? And if you are not in a library, still ask -- what impact would this have on my organization and how we work?

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