Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Ethical Decision Making for Digital Libraries

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Ethical Decision Making for Digital Libraries

Article excerpt

Ethical Decision Making for Digital Libraries Cokie G. Anderson, Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2006. 138 pp. $99.95 (hb), $59.95 (pb).

Creating a digital collection is far more complex than scanning and providing access. In Ethical Decision Making..., Cokie Anderson describes in practical, positive terms the intricacies of the ethics involved; she doesn't stop with the basics of permissions for scanning. Areas addressed in her work include digitization selection and policy, funding, partnering standards and access, project management, and codes of professional ethics. Her well organized work revisits our obligation as a profession to behave in an ethical and socially responsible manner. Any digitization project has many stops along the way in which choices must be made. The content choices must be looked at objectively for privacy rights, not just in permission from the author, but also in permissions from those discussed in the work. Many of the projects are funded through grants. Is the grant requested appropriate for the project? Will the monies be used as stated? Are we negotiating fairly and truthfully with vendors? During the actual work, are we asking staff to participate beyond what might be considered reasonable, if they are working full time in another area? Traditional paper products generally have a "tried and true" means for being preserved. Digital preservation is still in its infancy. Anderson stresses and details the importance of actively supporting international standards when digitizing to ensure future access and a less complex means for moving the content to newer formats as standards are reworked and updated to take advantage of current technologies. Her focus, though mainly on the practical side of digital preservation, also contains concerns about our ethical direction as a profession.

During a time when many librarians are focusing on access issues and the need to ensure that our patrons are able to reach information of interest to them, the lines between social responsibility and the right to privacy are becoming blurred. …

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