Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Privacy Code of Ethics in the Corporate World

Kelly, in my 759 class, posted a fabulous response to a question on our BlackBoard site. The problem with BB though is that once a great post is generated, it is lost forever. I emailed her and asked for her permission to copy and paste it into my blog. She generously agreed, so if this posting helps in any way, it would be great to hear back from you!

Kelly's post:
Your question gave me pause for thought on ethics in library and information science generally. You're right, as librarians we give great consideration to our code of ethics; we certainly spent a great deal of time in discussion on the topic of privacy beginning in my 701 class, and every class I have participated in so far has touched on the subject. The ALA has taken a very strong stance on the subject of privacy as it relates to the library user--stating in its Code of Ethics a responsiblity to protect each library users' right to privacy. But I wondered, as you did, what other professional organizations have spent the institutional energy on the subject of privacy and confidentiality. I thought the class might benefit from some links to professional organizations in the information technology world and their codes of ethics or statements of professional responsibilities:

Association of Independent Information Professionals

International Webmasters Association

Association for Computing Machinery

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers

Institute for the Management of Information Systems (UK)

These are just a few of the professional organizations of the IT world, but your question raises a good point about just who is protecting the privacy of the digital library user or, more broadly, electronic information users in general I think the discussion goes way beyond just the individuals that we may work with--its an awareness issue as well as an ethics issue.

Interestingly, an examination of the CPSR site also reveals issues with other local values in the information ecology generally: peace and the role of information technology in the military, equality in the workplace and gender differences in communication, democracy and the role of technology in voting, to name a few--and these apply to digital libraries as well (e.g., democracy and equality as they relate to access). I think the point O'Day and Nardi make is that the perspective of each of the components of the ecology (users, sponsors, developers) is different and needs to be brought down to the local level in the design process as a means to discover new applications (Digital Library Use, 2003). But does this really extend the responsiblity we have as participants in the design process to ensure ethical design in the systems we work with? I think it does....

Friday, September 01, 2006


Help! I Got My First Blog Reference Question!

OK. I hope that some of you librarian 2.0 folks are reading this, because I think I have encountered a new trend in reference questions. Here's the scenario:

A lady came into the branch yesterday, and asked the reference librarian if he could answer a question about blogs. He immediately grinned and then referred her to me. So, here's her issue:

She is designing a website for a long-term care company, and the company would like to add RSS feeds of REPUTABLE blogs in the areas of healthcare, long-term care, nursing homes, and perhaps news/politics. She said that she had already explored Technorati, and she was looking for other recommendations.

What I have found, at least in the library world, the people who blog the most, also have published articles in periodicals like Library Journal (and their blogs are often mentioned within the article), so I used the same thinking to research long-term care blogs. This thinking, however, was not as productive as I thought, and even though I came up with blogs like AARP's blog and Jack Halpern's Blog, But, I didn't find blogs for The American Healthcare Association, which advocates for long-term care. Sooooo, I was back where I started again, realizing that if I were looking for a book or a periodical, then I could look at review sources to assist me in unfamiliar subject areas. Yet, this is different.

I have two different resources that were sort of helpful...
The Internet Public Library's page about blogs, and The Bloggies, found on the Librarians' Internet Index. Both of those were helpful, but not wonderful...

I have a feeling this will come up more and more... Do any of you smarty-pants folks have any other ideas? I really respect your opinions, and I think that this presents an interesting challenge. Thanks so much!!!!


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