Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pathfinder-Scholarly Communication in Information Ethics

Title: Scholarly Communication in Information Ethics


This electric pathfinder is for the use of college students and professors, librarians, and anyone interested in the use of scholarly communication when dealing with information ethics as well as anyone who is interested in properly using information in a scholarly work.

Electronic Sources:

Official blog of the Association of College and Research

American Library Association Website

An information community’s discussion forum

American society for information sciences and technology

Webpage devoted to information ethics

American Library Association’s code of ethics

Print Resources:


Council on Library and Information Resources, (1999) Scholarship, instruction, and libraries at the turn of the century: results from five task forces appointed by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Council on Library and Information Resources. Washington D.C.; Council on Library and Information Resources.

Thomas, Charles; (2002). Libraries, the Internet, and Scholarship: tools and trends converging. New York; CRC Press

Soete, George (1999). Issues and Innovation in educating faculty on scholarly communication issues. Washington, D.C. Association of Research Libraries.

Shapiro, Debra (2005). EScholarship : a LITA Guide. LITA, Chicago, Ill.


Carney, Stephen Michael (2003). Democratic Communication and the Library as Workplace, Journal of Information Ethics, 12(2).

Speaks of communication and ethics, and the library’s role in both.

Albright, Kendra (2003). Ethics of Electronic Information in the 21st Century: 2003, Library Hi Tech News, 21 (1).

Reports on the conference in regards to “ethics of electronic information” that was held in October of 2003.

Sturges, Paul (2003) Doing the Right Thing: Professional Ethics for Information Workers in Britain, New Library World, 104(3), pgs 94-102.

Speaks of the need for a new code of ethics in the British Library system, and discusses what was wrong with the old code.

Calvert, Philip J. (2001). Scholarly Misconduct and Misinformation on the World Wide Web, The Electronic Library, 19(4), pgs 232-240.

Blog 5

Part 1: The Role of the Professional.

The topic for my pathfinder involves the use of scholarly communication within information ethics. Just the thought of this topic brings to mind the thought of the role of information professionals in bringing this idea to life. One big concern is that of plagiarism. Another concern is that of hacking into another person’s computer to either steal information/identity, or to cause mischief, or to cause damage to a corporation/government (Tavani pgs 177-179). Its is the goal of any information professional to allow access to all forms of information, but is it also the goal to prevent the misuse of the information, or does the professional just stand back and watch as events unfold. This could be as simple as a student not citing a work in their paper that a librarian helped them find sources for, or it could be as harmful as watching as a patron of a library use a computer there to hack into another persons files, because the library computer does not have a firewall or blocker on it, because that would restrict the access to information. The pathfinder that I am working on does not deal with the hacking issue, but which is mentioned here because it does tie in, but the pathfinder does deal with the issue that involves plagiarism, in the since that this is a breach of the use of scholarly communication, and does directly involve ethics in the information society. The ALA code of ethics states that “We recognize and respect intellectual property rights”. Which in my mind seems to state that if a librarian knows of or discovers the misuse of work citing, that it must be brought to the attention of the original author.

Part 2: The Role of Associations:
Capuuro has stated that “it is therefore possible and sensible to develop an information science as a rhetorical discipline, with ethical, aesthetic and political aspects as basic parameters”. This is where I believe that Associations come into play. These associations, such as the ALA, play a very important public role. They are the ones who in my mind are the public’s main body of knowledge into the workings of the library, and if these associations are not, they should be. It is the responsibility to make the public aware of the rights that they posses in regard to the availability of information, and to observe and defend these rights. It is also the association’s responsibility to acknowledge any problems that may occur and to attempt to solve any of these. The associations also have the responsibility to defend the policies in regards to information to all those who question the policies. These responsibilities, these polices are shaping the way that the public views the way that they gather information, and with all things is constantly evolving.

Capurro, R. (1992). Information technologies and technologies of the self.

Tavani, H.T. (2004). Ethics & technology: Ethical issues in an age of information
and communication technology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ethics and the ALA- Blog 4

ALA Code of Ethics

We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.
We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

For this blog I decided to focus on the ALA code of ethics which is stated above. This
code reflects a foundation in deontology. Deontology is based on the theories of Immanuel Kant who “argued that morality must be ultimately grounded in the concept of duty, or obligations that humans have to one another” (Tavini 2004 pg 48). The ALA code of ethics is grounded entirely in the foundation of duty, for example; the duty to provide the highest level of service, to not allow personal beliefs to interfere with work, to respect all patrons and coworkers. These are just a few paraphrased manners in which the concept of duty is to be filled out.
The code addresses individual members, the profession at large, and the public. All of these groups are addressed by this code, in part because it is available for all to view, but also because all are expected to follow it. Individual members of the ALA and the library profession at large is expected to follow these eight standards in order to further help the public and to provided information to all. The public is expected to follow these standards in a way that they understand that it is their right to receive the information that they are requesting, and to confidentiality, and that they should not interfere with another patron’s collection of information. There are no enforcement provisions within this code.
The code is a useful document to present the profession to a national or international audience. It is not a very strict document, it is more “conceptual ideas” (Buchanan 2000). In this manner it can present the profession in a way that all can understand what the profession is about without being confused by the profession. It also shows how the profession is reaching out to the public, and to the world in a manner that is helpful to all.
The only public policy issue that is implied is in response to the government’s wishes to be able to monitor the materials that the public looks at and borrows, which is addressed in item three where the respect for an individuals privacy is stated.
If I were to update the code I would more explicitly state the privacy issue. I would also address internet resources in a more detailed manner as that is not something that is addressed in this version of the code. Since internet and electronic resources have evolved greatly since this code was first developed, it would be in the best interest of the organization to further develop these aspects. Also, due to electronic resources, copyright laws should also be addressed.

ALA website:

Spinello, R. & Tavani, H. (Eds.). (2004). Readings in cyberethics. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.

Tavani, H. (2004). Ethics & technology: Ethical issues in and age of information and communication technology. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blog Assignments

The blogs that have just been posted are exactly what I posted for my Info 679 class. I may be editing them at some time for my own personal growth, but for right now I decided to poat them as is.

New Job, Blog 3

. You are planning to make a job change in the next two years. Although you are happy enough with where you are working, you are now in school and expect to look for something better when you graduate. How can just consequentialism and the Potter Box inform your decision-making? Are you received time-off or tuition assistance from your workplace? When should you inform your employers that you are looking for other opportunities? What else should you consider?

Empirical Definition

Currently I hold a position as an assistant manager in a retail store. Though the job does have its good points, it is not what I am looking for in life, which is why I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Library Science. The job that I currently hold knows that I am in school and knows of my plans, and has already informed me that they will try to keep me in the company. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is no tuition based assistance that might have clouded my judgment.

Identifying Values.

The values that I hold and that the company I work for hold sometimes differ. We both value hard work, and integrity, and though I value the use of respect for all and the fact that I hold strongly to rules that were laid down (except in extreme instances) the company I work for believes that the customer is always right (which is never true) and that the rules should be broken. I do have issues with a company that creates rules that one is to follow, and will hold you accountable for these rules, and yet the company themselves breaks the rules on a constant basis.


There are principles my employer and I both share, that of hard work, integrity, and the concept that one always does one’s best. The company, because it is retail, holds to the standard of making a large amount of money. I would prefer to, yes make the money and hit all of the goals that are set for the store, but customer satisfaction is more important to me. I would rather spend a lot of time with a customer who I know will come back then with a customer who will never come back. Also, I think I hold the principle of honesty a little higher then the company does.

The loyalties that I hold are not really to the company themselves, for this being retail I know that my job is expendable and that I could become unemployed at any moment. The loyalty that I hold is to the store manager of my store, who holds almost all of the same loyalties that I do. For this reason, when I do complete my degree and I am looking to leave the store, I will not feel any guilt with leaving the company.

Blog 2

Although there have been many developments of the ICT’S over the years, I find it slightly difficult to pick one’s that have made an impact on my life, mainly because for most of my life, a great majority of these ICT’s have been around. For example, I could make the case that the computer and the advent of the internet has made a huge impact on my life, it has allowed me to purse my master’s degree while still holding down a full time job. At the same time, I find it difficult to remember a time when there was not a computer in the house, and when I could not search the internet for information for school projects. One could make a case for the improvements in air travel, but then again, I may disagree. Air travel was easier and safer when I was younger then it is now, and what they call improvements really are not those at all, but just attempts to make the general public feel more secure.
The cell phone could be considered an ICT that has made a great impact in my life, and indeed it has in the personal and professional sense. The idea that my friends and family can contact me immediately is a great comfort, and in today’s age where job interviews may need to be scheduled the day of a phone call, it enables me to receive all my important calls. On the other hand, the idea of cell phones was never a far off thought to me, I remember watching Saved by the Bell, and one of the characters had a very large and bulky cell phone. And in some cases, having a cell phone is a nuisance; there are times when it is turned off, when one wishes to be alone.
Even though there have been many ICT’s over the years, it does not seem that there have been many that have had an impact in my life that has greatly affected it. That’s not to say that things may or may not have been made easier, it’s just to say that I was little influenced by them, or perhaps I was expecting some of these advances. I grew up when technology was changing on a daily basis, when the thought was that you buy a computer one day and it is obsolete the next. I think it may have been that idea more then anything else that influenced me.
I do not know if there was a moral system or value that influenced me to pursue a career in library science. Perhaps the system that allows me to pursue it may be the cause, but I am unsure. This is in part because when I was in high school and college I worked in various libraries and it was there that I was the happiest working, and realized that this was probably the correct career choice for me. The only other system that I can think of encouraging me and influencing me is that of the support system of friends and family, who always encouraged me, so perhaps you could say family life has influenced me to go the way that I am going.

Blog 1

The term information ethics is a broad one that covers many topics including computer ethics and the use of such ethics. Information ethics is considered to be directly related to the basic ethics that are found within human society. One major ethical tenet that is found within society is that of a person should not steal. This tenet can also be applied towards informational ethics, but in today’s society this is a clouded issue.
How does one define stealing in terms of the revolution of new information technology (Bynum 2000) that is currently being experienced? Is all information to be considered to be free and available for all to enjoy or is information something that is possessed, something that can be owned and that individuals can claim ownership to (Bynum 2000).
A good example of this discussion is the current ongoing issue of music that can be downloaded over the internet. To some, there is nothing wrong with getting the music for free. To many others this is considered stealing, as no one, not the artist or the manufacturer of the album, are getting paid for their work. The cloudiness of this issue comes in part from the idea that the internet is public domain, and as such all the information that is accessible on it should be available for free. At one point there were many websites that were devoted to the free downloading of music, many of which have since been shut down. It was decided that this was in fact stealing, and that the artists should have been paid for their efforts.
Another issue that is brought forth with the idea of information ethics is how this will evolve with a global society. As the internet becomes more and more accessible all over the world, issues involving the use and even the ethics of its use will come into play. Every society has its own laws, ethics and morals, but it is safe to say that all follow a “common morality” (Gert 1999). This can be attributed to the fact that all ethics/morals of a society are towards one goal, that of achieving happiness (Moor 1998). Is it conceivable that is the ethics of the internet, of the informational society are allowed to grow on their own, that perhaps there to will form a common morality that will govern itself. It would be difficult to force a group of ethics on the growing global information society, if just for the simple reason that what may seem wrong to one person is right for another. Perhaps, instead of being concerned about the ethical issues that are occurring on should step back and let the ethics evolve on their own. Of course there will be those who will abuse the technology, but perhaps a simple tool that bans their individual use of the information society will soon be available and effective.
One cannot definitively define information ethics for today’s society because it is an every changing idea. What may be considered to be good one day could turn out to be harmful the next. Perhaps a good idea is to not abuse the privilege that has been given to society.


Spinello, R. & Tavani, H. (eds.) (2004). Readings in cyberethics. 2nd ed. Massachusetts:
Jones and Bartlett Pub., Inc.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Info 679

This is a blog that I have had to create for a graduate class that I am taking to obtain my Master's in Library Science. Since Blogging is something that I have never done before, this is going to be an interesting experience.