Magazine article Information Today

Dealing with New Ethical Issues on the Internet

Magazine article Information Today

Dealing with New Ethical Issues on the Internet

Article excerpt

Dealing with New Ethical Issues on the Internet Cybersins and Digital Good Deeds: A Book About Technology and Ethics by Mary Ann Bell, Bobby Ezell, and James L. Van Roekel New York: Haworth Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-7890-2954-6 $22.95, softcover 187 pages

As information professionals, we deal with ethical issues all the time. Privacy, copyright, and plagiarism have been important library concerns for years. But lately, technology and the Internet have brought a rush of new issues to us. How can we be safe and responsible with the Internet and guide our users to do the same? This book tries to help us understand some of the issues and formulate strategies to deal with them.

Collaborators Mary Ann Bell, Bobby Ezell, and James Van Roekel work at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Bell is an assistant professor in the department of library science, where she teaches classes on technology and librarians hip; Ezell, an assistant professor for instructional technology in the College of Education, has also worked in K-12 education; and Van Roekel, who is director of academic instructional technology and distance learning, has an academic focus on developing applications for Web-based broadcasting and distance learning. Together, these three educators have compiled an interesting collection.

While not comprehensive, this book includes many of the strange (and often bad) things that can happen on the Internet. The 94 brief entries (usually one or two pages each) are included in alphabetical order. They range in topic from Advertising at School to Wikis and from AMBER Alerts to Worms. Most entries have a bibliography, even if it's just one entry.

Pushing Email Chain Mail

A number of the entries discuss interesting Internet phenomena and how to handle them. These include Sympathy Hoaxes, such as the continuing plea for get-well cards from a young boy with cancer. Perhaps you have even received an email about this once or many times. Or maybe you have received other spurious chain emails. Additional entries along these lines include Spam and Hoaxes.

Another category of entries explores unique new issues created by electronic communication on the Internet. One of these is Disinhibition, or the way that people's communication is "loosened up" online. This freedom from previous boundaries "should be clearly explained to young people and new Internet users." Flame Wars can be related to this issue. Flamers may say things that they would never say in person and don't take the time to consider their responses.

The Importance of Privacy

Other entries describe capabilities of new technology. …

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