Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Dying for the Internet

A Cuban writer is on a hunger to protest the censorship the Cuban government has placed on the Internet.

Click here to view the video from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/index.html?url=/video/tech/2006/03/17/newman.cuba.internet.cnn

Some people will go to great lengths to protest what they believe in. This censorship is similar to what the Chinese government is doing with Google. This censorship causes the digital divide to increase even more.

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

Electronic Pathfinder



Explore the following links related to this e-pathfinder:
General Resources Detailed Resources Opinions Books





Title: Ethics in Internet Researching


Scope: This electronic pathfinder is a quick guide primarily for librarians and information professionals to consult when conducting online research. The websites contained in this pathfinder are links to general resources, detailed resources, opinions and books. The annotations give a summary of each link. The focus of the guide is on the ethical considerations necessary during internet researching. There is a wealth of information available on the ethics involved when researching on the internet, however to make the site manageable and easy to use only the vital resources are displayed.

General Resources:

Associations

Association of Internet Researchers
http://www.aoir.org/

This website is host to the Association of Internet Researchers and has a wealth of general as well as specific information on internet research. While membership is required to view detailed information many of the resources on the site are free, including the Ethics report approved by the membership of AoIR.

Code of Ethics of the American Library Association
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm

This websites provides the code of ethics approved by the American Library Association. It is an excellent starting point for librarians to use as a basis when conducting online research.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ethical and Legal Aspects of Human Subjects Research in Cyberspace
http://www.aaas.org/spp/sfrl/projects/intres/main.htm



Journals/ Other Resources

1. INTERNET LIBRARY FOR LIBRARIANS
http://www.itcompany.com/inforetriever/index.html

This website is an internet library for librarians and provides links to a wealth of information. Although, the site doesn’t focus on ethics specfically it is a good place to get background materials, including information on copyright.

2. Journal of Ethics and Information Technology
http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103461

This journal has an online abstract archive going back to March 1999. Purchase of full text articles is available. “Ethics and Information Technology is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to advancing the dialogue between moral philosophy and the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The journal aims to foster and promote reflection and analysis which is intended to make a constructive contribution to answering the ethical, social and political questions associated with the adoption, use, and development of ICT.”

3. Journal of Information Ethics

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/reviews-2.php?isbn=JIE0000003

“interesting mix of contributors...lengthy book reviews”—American Librarians; “welcome...interesting and thought-provoking...highly recommend it for all libraries”—ALR; “readable...important”—People’s Culture; “courageous”—Sipapu; “some of the sharpest and most stimulating essays on the subject...responds to a very real need in the field. ...excellent coverage of this difficult and increasingly complicated subject...a valuable and practical tool”—InfoManage; “thought-provoking columns and articles in a readable style...useful to anyone concerned with information in society. ...recommended”—Special Libraries; “intellectually stimulating...a fine blend of the practical and theoretical...a valuable source”—Library Journal; “strongly recommended”—Journal of Academic Librarianship; “carefully edited...provide[s] readers with full discussions on [the] issues”—Library and Information Science Annual; “well-written pieces by librarians and other scholars. This thought-provoking journal should be required reading for students in library and information science programs and by practitioners and policymakers”—Magazines for Libraries.

4. Research Ethics

http://www.uri.edu/artsci/lsc/Faculty/geaton/Ethics/researchethics.htm

This site has general information about ethics in library information science research and cyberethics.

5. Ethical Considerations for Research and the Internet

http://www.journeyofhearts.org/jofh/jofh_old/minf_528/esearch.htm

This site has basic information on establishing ethical standards for Internet research.


Detailed Resources:


Articles


1. Ethical Decision Making and Internet Research
http://www.aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf

This document provides an in-depth discussion of recommendations from AoIR on ethical decision making.

2. Internet Research Ethics
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_ess.html

“The chapters included here emerge from a remarkable panel presentation organized for the Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiries (CEPE) conference held at Lancaster University, December 14-16, 2001. The panel was originally the inspiration of Helen Nissenbaum, who further energetically set about the business of writing the successful grant application to the United States' National Science Foundation.”


3. Ethical Issues of Online Communication Research
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_cap_full.html

“The paper addresses several ethical issues in online communication research in light of digital ontology as well as the epistemological questions raised by the blurring boundary between fact and theory in this field.”

4. What is special about the ethical issues in online research?
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_elg_full.html

“In the analysis of the ethical problems of online research, there is much to be learned from the work that has already been been done on research ethics in the social sciences and the humanities. I discuss the structure of norms in the Norwegian ethical guidelines for research in the social sciences with respect to their relevance for the ethical issues of Internet research.”

5. Ethics of Internet Research: Contesting the Human Subjects Research Model
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_bas_full.html
“The human subjects research model is increasingly invoked in discussions of ethics for Internet research. Whilst this model is appropriate in some areas of Internet research such as email communication, we feel that researchers, when navigating the complex terrain of Internet research ethics, need also to consider the Internet as cultural production of texts.”


6. Ethics in Cyberspace Research - Consent, Privacy and Contribution
http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/ethics.html

“The boom of social activities within cyberspace has been followed closely by a boom in the social scientific studies of those activities. Researchers in psychology, sociology, and anthropology have launched scientific expeditions into nearly all of the widespread territories of the internet. Online experimental studies, surveys, interviews, field observations, participant-observation - the whole range of research tools are being brought to bear in this attempt to figure out how people and groups are behaving in the virtual universe.”

7. The Ethics of Research in Cyberspace
http://web.archive.org/web/20040219101644/http://www.usyd.edu.au/su/social/papers/jones.htm

A discussion of the public/private distinctions, informed consent and possible solutions for ethical research in cyberspace.

8. Internet Research: privacy, ethics and alienation
http://opensource.mit.edu/papers/berry2.pdf

“This paper examines some of the ethical problems involved in undertaking Internet research and draws on historical accounts as well as contemporary studies to offer an analysis of the issues raised.”



Opinions:


RESEARCH ETHICS: INTERNET-BASED RESEARCH
http://ca916.tripod.com/index-4.html

“The main purpose of these notes is to increase awareness about a "macro-level" issue in Internet research ethics. This second issue is about the restrictions on the dissemination of research reports that are imposed if they are published only in journals that require the "consumer" of research to pay for access. In contrast, research reports that are freely and openly accessible online may have much greater impact, especially on those who are not themselves researchers or scholars in developed countries.”

My Code of Ethics
http://www.mycodeofethics.org/

“My Code of Ethics is a non-profit movement for the promotion of personal and professional codes of ethics.”



Books:

1. Readings in Virtual Research Ethics: Issues and Controversies - Elizabeth Buchanan

“Text focuses on the challenges facing researchers as they redefine the parameters of acceptable research practices. Provides an in-depth look at the emerging field of online research and the corresponding ethical dilemmas associated with it.”

2. The Impact Of The Internet On Our Moral Lives - Robert Cavalier
"Investigating the impact of the Internet from multiple philosophical perspectives, this book explores issues the Internet poses for our sense of privacy, sensitivity to wrongdoing, and our cultural and personal identity. The electronic culture that influences almost every aspect of our daily lives offers new ethical challenges and creates new areas for philosophical reflection on these challenges. Contributors explore topics such as copyright and intellectual property, trust, student cheating, pornography, and human agency, and the positive and negative impact that the Internet has on our ability to flourish as human beings. These essays provide a fresh perspective and contribute to the ongoing conversation about the philosophical meaning of the Information Age." (http://www.sunypress.edu/details.asp?id=61063)

3. Research Ethics : A Reader - Deni Elliott and Judy Stern

“This reader provides a thorough overview of the ethical dillemas confronting contemporary research scientists.”

Notes:
To join the new online research ethics mailing list, click below:
http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/ore/list-info.html

The following terms were used as controlled vocabulary for this e-pathfinder.

1. Ethics
2. Internet/ Cyberspace
3. Online Research
4. Librarian
5. Information Professional
6. Ethical dillemas
7. Ethical considerations

*This e-pathfinder is an ongoing project and the links will be updated on a routine basis. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Please contact me via email.*


 

Have you ever heard of a blook?

This is the newest craze among blog writers. A blook is a book that is someone's online blog. "What you are really doing with a blog is writing a book openly." How true and very exciting!

Click here to read the article from US News and World Report
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060313/13publish.blog.htm

 

Publish or Panic?

The most recent issue of US News and World Report features an article that discusses the many different issues of publishing. An important ethical issue arises with the topic of E-books. What are the author's copyrights? Who gets the publisher royalties? What constitutes fair use? In a world where so many things are on the Internet these questions will need to be answered.

Click here to read the story: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060313/13publish.htm

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Librarians, Associations and Society




Part 1: The Role of the Librarian All professionals have certain ethical responsibilities to their profession, as well as to the entire community. According to Elrod and Smith, “When individuals adopt professional roles, they assume obligations beyond and sometimes in conflict with their personal beliefs.” They coined the phrase, “professional neutrality” to demonstrate the separation of professional commitment and personal values. It is important to make this distinction between personal beliefs and professional ones and abide by it. The American Library Association (ALA) code of ethics specifically states, “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.” (http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm). Most of the code has very general statements about ethics, which allows room for interpretation for specific situations. The Internet has become one of the most popular tools for librarians to conduct research. While, the Internet has a vast amount of information, there are a certain ethical responsibilities librarians must consider. The ALA Code of Ethics doesn’t have a specific provision, but it does discuss confidentiality, censorship and intellectual property. The American Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR) also has a document that provides recommendations to researchers, ethicists and students (http://www.aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf). It is important to note that different cultures and countries have various laws about Internet content, access and design. Librarians must be careful to observe these considerations. One view of internet research ethics comes from Christina Allen and she states that ethical considerations are an integral part of research considerations, “one interwoven as an explicit and intentional dimension of the research project itself” (ibid). All types of librarians (school, legal, corporate and academic) play a part in internet research ethics. It is also vital for these librarians to take an active role in the community in addressing public policy issues. For example, members of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Washington Affairs Office are active in speaking out on important policy issues such as copyright and the revision of Title 44 (Public Printing and Documents). In addition, members monitor legislative, judicial and regulatory actions (http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/aallwash/). Many are also involved in the Library Copyright Alliance, whose mission is to foster global access and fair use of information for creativity, research, and education (http://www.librarycopyrightalliance.org/).” Librarians involved in this alliance work toward a “unified voice and common strategy for the library community in responding to and developing proposals to amend national and international copyright law and policy for the digital environment (ibid).” Part II: Role of the Library Associations While individuals make large contributions to society, associations and institutions also have responsibilities in society. Rafael Capurro states that “it is through institutions as well as through moral and legal codes that we can ensure the right to access and to work for more equitable distribution in order to bridge the information gap between the information poor and the information rich” (http://www.capurro.de/self.htm). Library associations such as ALA, AALL and SLA work together to minimize the digital divide between the information haves and the information have nots. In addition, organizations like SLA seek corporate sponsorship to offer programs, conferences and learning opportunities for members and non-members (http://www.sla.org/). The SLA Student Groups are “designed to provide support and leadership opportunities for library and information science students” (http://www.sla.org/content/community/sgroups/index.cfm). This is particularly important because many library school students need advice and information about the opportunities for library careers. In addition, the association also publishes a monthly magazine called Information Outlook, which is distributed to all members. In the most recent issue of Information Outlook, there is an article that discusses public policy and how SLA is involved in various issues. Doug Newcomb is the lead person of the SLA Public Policy Committee and he “monitors, advocates and lobbies on issues to influence and shape legislation and regulatory proposals that affect SLA’s membership” (Information Outlook, 2006, p 15). One of the key issues is copyright and its application to current law and legislation. SLA continues to monitor and provide input on this issue as well as the many other public policy concerns. With the continued support of organizations like SLA, there can be a positive impact to the global information world. Like many organizations, the AALL has been actively involved in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. While this is not a public policy issue, it is an occasion that is very serious and needs the help of al. Many of the AALL members and law library community suffered devastating losses of materials and AALL members have offered donations, office space and free interlibrary loan. The motto of AALL is to "Maximizing the power of the law library community” (http://www.aall.org/press/ftdo_claire_germain_090105.asp). Through the support of AALL members it is the hope of the organization that it can assist with efforts to restore a somewhat normal life. Capurro believes that “the impact of information technology on society can be transformed through the ethical perspective of technologies of the self” (http://www.capurro.de/self.htm). These technologies of self are ways in which we form our identities. They include the art of friendship, the art of choosing, the art of silence and the art of laughter. In this way information technology can be distributed more equally and the digital divide will decrease. The association and the professional must work together to fulfill their responsibilities in society.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 

More and More Blogs

The Expanding Blogosphere

A new report shows blogs are hugely popular, with one started every second. Please click on the link to view this one minute video clip.

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=1590496

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

Five of the most unpopular jobs


http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/Careers/02/08/cb.unpopular.jobs/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Yes, Librarians are # 3! This is very exciting because the job opportunities for librarians should be plenty. "The American Library Association Website quotes statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicating that more than one-quarter of all librarians will reach the age of 65 by 2009. A study published in the Library Journal found that 40 percent of library directors would retire by that same year."

Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Ethical Role of a Librarian

“The Ethical Role of a Librarian”

American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeofethics.pdf

According to Elizabeth Buchanan, “codes of ethics in general can be understood as sets of ‘best practices’”(Spinello, 619). They are not rules, but rather guidelines. I chose to examine the ALA Code of Ethics because it is the foundation of two organizations I belong to: Special Libraries Association (SLA) and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). The ALA Code of Ethics, which is comprised of eight general principles, was adopted on June 28, 1995. It reflects the utilitarianism foundation, which is based on consequence and that happiness is an intrinsic good. The greatest amount of good is transmitted to the greatest number of people who are affected by the code (Tavini, 46), which in this case are librarians. For example, the first principles states that, “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.” The goal of this statement is for the highest level of service to be given to all requests and then people will be satisfied.
In addition, the code also reflects the deontology theory, which is founded on the idea that we have duties and obligations to one another. Often times the outcome might make one or more persons unhappy, but we still must follow the principle (50). For example, “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.” The ethical duty of a librarian is to avoid materials from being censored, often times this causes controversies among groups who think a book is not appropriate for children. While this might make some people unhappy, the librarian must uphold the values of his/her profession.
The ALA code targets the profession at large, as well as the general public. The code states that “…making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.” The code encompasses not only librarians, but those professions who supply information. According to Michael McFarland, when individuals in the same profession come together, they can accomplish goals and solve ethical dilemmas that would not be possible if they were working alone (Tavini 106). It is vital for librarians to work as a team to uphold their code of ethics. The code doesn’t include any enforcement provisions; however the individual still has a moral responsibility to the profession and to themselves to obey the principles set forth by the ALA Council.
The code is definitely a useful document to present the profession at a national and international level. The ALA Code of Ethics is utilized by other organizations as a guideline. The AALL Code of Ethics state that, “The Code of Ethics incorporates by reference the ALA Code of Ethics…” (http://www.aallnet.org/about/policy_ethics.asp) In addition, it is displayed on numerous library websites as a guide for librarians, including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (http://www.ifla.org/faife/ethics/alacode.htm). However, a study by John Moorman revealed that less than half of ALA members surveyed had a copy of the ALA Code of Ethics and only 13% of respondents had referred to the code in work situations. (http://c60jdh1.lib.niu.edu/ipo/1995/il9503140.html). While this survey was done before the code was revised in 1995, it still shows that the ALA must do a better job of promoting the code.
The ALA Code of Ethics includes references to public policy issues, such as privacy and censorship. The code states that, “We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.” Privacy is a concern that affects all types of businesses because professionals must differentiate between their private interests and those of the company. The code also affirms that the information professional must protect “the library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.” This is similar to the confidentiality agreement between and attorney and his/her client. This could turn into an ethical dilemma if the librarian is acquiring information that is immoral. Censorship, as discussed above, is another public policy issue that plagues the world. The most recent example is the censorship of the Chinese government on the Google website. The code asks that all efforts should be made to resist censoring library materials. Everyone should have equal access to information.
The ALA Code of Ethics as it was written in 1995 provides eight general guidelines for information professionals to follow. While the guidelines are not specific, I believe the generality allows for more interpretation. If I were to update the code, I would definitely add another principle about the Internet and access of electronic resources. I would keep it general, but still reinforce the importance of CyberEthics. In addition, I would add another principle specifically about ethnic diversity. While there is a principle about treating others fairly, I think diversity is an important issue to have its own statement. I would not include anything about workplace surveillance of employees as this code was written for the profession as a whole, not individuals. In general, I think the current version of the ALA Code of Ethics is a good foundation for librarians to use. I would add two more principles, in order to deal with current issues.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

 

Just getting started

Title: Ethics in Internet Researching

Scope: This electronic pathfinder will be primarily for librarians conducting online research. It will include mostly electronic resources with references to some books and articles. The websites contained in this pathfinder will focus on the ethically considerations necessary during internet researching.

General:

Associations

Association of Internet Researchers
http://www.aoir.org/

This website is host the Association of Internet Researchers and has a wealth of of general as well as specific information on internet research. While membership is required to view detailed information many of the resources on the site are free, including the Ethics report approved by the membership of AoIR.

Code of Ethics of the American Library Association
http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm

This websites provides the code of ethics approved the American Library Association. It is an excellent starting point for librarians to use a basis when conducting online research.

Resources

INTERNET LIBRARY FOR LIBRARIANS
http://www.itcompany.com/inforetriever/index.html

This website is an internet library for librarians and provides links to a wealth of information. Although, the site doesn’t focus on ethics specifically it is a good place to get background materials, including information on copyright.

Journal of Ethics and Information Technology
http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=103461

This journal has an online abstract archive going back to March 1999. Purchase of full text articles is available. “Ethics and Information Technology is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to advancing the dialogue between moral philosophy and the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The journal aims to foster and promote reflection and analysis which is intended to make a constructive contribution to answering the ethical, social and political questions associated with the adoption, use, and development of ICT.”


Specific/Detailed:

Articles
Ethical Decision Making and Internet Research
http://www.aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf
This document provides an in-depth discussion of recommendations from AoIR on ethical decision making.

Internet Research Ethics
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_ess.html


Ethical Issues of Online Communication Research
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_cap_full.html

“The paper addresses several ethical issues in online communication research in light of digital ontology as well as the epistemological questions raised by the blurring boundary between fact and theory in this field.”

What is special about the ethical issues in online research?
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_elg_full.html

“In the analysis of the ethical problems of online research, there is much to be learned from the work that has already been done on research ethics in the social sciences and the humanities. I discuss the structure of norms in the Norwegian ethical guidelines for research in the social sciences with respect to their relevance for the ethical issues of Internet research.”

Opinions
RESEARCH ETHICS: INTERNET-BASED RESEARCH
http://ca916.tripod.com/index-4.html

“The main purpose of these notes is to increase awareness about a "macro-level" issue in Internet research ethics. This second issue is about the restrictions on the dissemination of research reports that are imposed if they are published only in journals that require the "consumer" of research to pay for access. In contrast, research reports that are freely and openly accessible online may have much greater impact, especially on those who are not themselves researchers or scholars in developed countries.”




Search terms: Internet Research, Ethics, Librarians

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