Matthew Reidsma. Masked by Trust: Bias in Library Discovery. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2019. 194p. Paper, $28.00 (ISBN 978-1-63400-083-3). LCCN 2019010995.

Lizzy Walker


In his book, Masked by Trust: Bias in Library Discovery, Reidsma addresses the increasing use and misplaced trust in search engines, and how library software developers have integrated Google-like elements into discovery systems. Since libraries license these systems, users believe that they are more reliable than web, or general purpose, search engines. However, the author asserts that, since library discovery systems are created by people with biases, they are not as neutral as vendors and libraries claim. Reidsma references several important researchers throughout the text, such as Safiya Umoja Noble, Cathy O’Neil, Carole Cadwalladr, and others, who have published works regarding algorithmic bias. These, in addition to his own research into algorithms in library systems, help support the author’s assertion that library systems are not immune from bias, thereby making the case that even library systems are not neutral.

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