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INFORMATION ETHICS:
Introducing the course
We will look at…
• How the course will be taught
• Plagiarism
• A few definitions & underlying concepts
• Classic ethical ...
About our course : themes include
• Impact of Computerisation of Knowledge and InformationWork
• Digital Divide
• Informat...
Plagiarism
• Avoid plagiarism: ask permission & give acknowledgement!
Thank you, Professor Charles Oppenheim!
• His advice...
A few definitions: philosophy & law
1. Morals: personal, individual, internal principles or habits.
2. Ethics: Moral princ...
Useful concepts in ethics
• Aristotle‘s “Golden Mean” : for Justice, leniency and severity lie at opposite ends.
• Proport...
Information ethics : issues
1. Quality of service: courteous, efficient, reliable
2. Equality of service:Treat all patrons...
Neutrality: a quick time-line
1. 1931 Ranganathan’s laws
2. 1960s Library neutrality : concern of the patron at the forefr...
Data…
1. Companies are finding new ways to capture information about us
2. New combinations, meanings & uses for the data ...
Ranganathan’s five laws
1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader his [or her] book.
3. Every book its reader.
4. Save the tim...
Some ethical dilemmas: DISCUSS
1. Are people entitled to be educated? Should they be forced to be educated?
2. Can people ...
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Information ethics: Introducing our course

Slides from the first week of our Information Ethics module, taught by Jenny Delasalle & Boris Jacob at Humboldt University's institute of library & information science https://www.ibi.hu-berlin.de/en

Made available in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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Information ethics: Introducing our course

  1. 1. INFORMATION ETHICS: Introducing the course
  2. 2. We will look at… • How the course will be taught • Plagiarism • A few definitions & underlying concepts • Classic ethical dilemmas & main issues in information ethics • Beginning a timeline • The differences in the digital world
  3. 3. About our course : themes include • Impact of Computerisation of Knowledge and InformationWork • Digital Divide • Information Literacy • Ethical Aspects of Information Politics and Information Rights • International Property Rights • Media Law • Usage Rights and Licensing Organisations • Digital Rights Management • Trust Management See Moodle & course reading on Zotero
  4. 4. Plagiarism • Avoid plagiarism: ask permission & give acknowledgement! Thank you, Professor Charles Oppenheim! • His advice and his slides have contributed greatly to my teaching and to my slides! • Plagiarism is unethical, and not a legal issue. • An instance of plagiarism could also be a breach of a copyright law, or of moral rights. DISCUSS: Is self-plagiarism acceptable? Is it morally justified?
  5. 5. A few definitions: philosophy & law 1. Morals: personal, individual, internal principles or habits. 2. Ethics: Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity (Oppenheim). Apply to/created by an organisation or profession. 3. Rights: balanced by responsibilities. Natural rights are beyond authority (philosophy!). 4. Law is codified. International law (binding between nation states: treaties, charters); National law (applies within a nation state); State law, Municipal law, etc… 5. Legal rights, bestowed by a legal system. Human rights: Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 6. Moral rights: in some lands (Germany!). Not economic but about the artist’s relationship to the work & retained even if copyright granted to 3rd party. Include right to attribution, integrity of the work.
  6. 6. Useful concepts in ethics • Aristotle‘s “Golden Mean” : for Justice, leniency and severity lie at opposite ends. • Proportionalism – StThomas Aquinas. Justified to assassinate Adolf Hitler? Abortion after rape? • “do as you would be done by” - Kant. Don’t exploit others or be selfish! • Utilitarianism – Bentham & Mill. Greatest happiness for greatest no. of people. Whatever is useful is moral. • Information: • freedom of speech (origins in Ancient Greece & Rome) • freedom of access to information / freedom of information, FOI (C20th) • freedom of the press, (C20th)
  7. 7. Information ethics : issues 1. Quality of service: courteous, efficient, reliable 2. Equality of service:Treat all patrons equally? How accessible should information be? 3. Quality of information: How far should we check for accuracy? 4. Confidentiality: questions asked of you, and your answers are not (normally) divulged.When is it OK to divulge? 5. Conflict of interests: Don’t abuse your position: report conflicts. 6. Bias: Don’t let your own views interfere with a good service. (Your morals disagree? Follow your employer’s code, or leave!) With thanks to Charles Oppenheim
  8. 8. Neutrality: a quick time-line 1. 1931 Ranganathan’s laws 2. 1960s Library neutrality : concern of the patron at the forefront 3. Hauptman, R. “Professionalism or Culpability? An Experiment in Ethics.” Wilson Library Bulletin 50 (1976): 626 4. Blanke, H.T. ‘Librarianship and PoliticalValues: Neutrality or Commitment.” Library Journal 114 (July 1989): 39-43 5. Neutrality debate continues… Ethics of digitisation :The difference that digital data makes!
  9. 9. Data… 1. Companies are finding new ways to capture information about us 2. New combinations, meanings & uses for the data that they have 3. Targeted adverts: good or bad?! 4. Improve medicine & education, as well as products 5. New concept of “privacy by design” DISCUSS: Can we apply Kant‘s principle? (Use others‘ data as you would feel comfortable with them using yours.)
  10. 10. Ranganathan’s five laws 1. Books are for use. 2. Every reader his [or her] book. 3. Every book its reader. 4. Save the time of the reader. 5. The library is a growing organism. DISCUSS: how would you update these for digital information/data
  11. 11. Some ethical dilemmas: DISCUSS 1. Are people entitled to be educated? Should they be forced to be educated? 2. Can people express themselves in any way they want, or should there be limits? 1. Who decides those limits? How are they to be enforced? 3. Media ethics – does the media encourage unhealthy body image ideals for women? 1. How should they be held responsible and who should regulate them? 4. When might legal requirements clash with ethical or moral principles? Our course will explore such issues (and more) in greater detail!

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