Confidentiality and privacy in reference service

Reference librarians are sometimes faced with how best to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information gleaned from the reference interview. Other professions have directly confronted the legal and ethical problems inherent in client confidentiality. Yet, reference librarians remain without firm guidelines in this area. The existing official statements tend to be overly simplistic and unenforceable. Also, they do not recognize that occasionally confidences must be broken to satisfy a more stringent ethical requirement.