Challenges for Libraries Creating One World: Information Ethics and Policy Issues for Medical Librarians*

By Carbo, Toni | Journal of the Medical Library Association, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Challenges for Libraries Creating One World: Information Ethics and Policy Issues for Medical Librarians*


Carbo, Toni, Journal of the Medical Library Association


Introduction

Even though I have worked in the information sciences field since early 1962, I am not a medical librarian; however, I think that many of the policy and ethical issues facing medical librarians are similar to, if not the same as, those across our profession. Because of some rather unusual medical situations in my own large family over the years, I have experienced many facets of the use of medical information by patients and caregivers, and I have gained a special appreciation for what medical librarians do every day. I also want to make clear that I do not pretend to be an ethics expert; my interest is in the application of ethical reflection to our field.

As I worked with librarians and others in the information profession over the years and with individuals at the international, national, state, and local levels in developing and implementing information policy, it became increasingly clear to me that ethical issues related to information demanded our attention. I also recognized how important it was for us in the library and information field to take an active role in developing policy.

My objective in writing this editorial is to highlight some of the trends and challenges I think are facing us today.

Context (emerging trends)

I have selected six trends I see shaping the context in which we live and work.

1. Greater focus on the individual. Over the years, we have moved from "just in case" library service to "just in time," to "just for you," and, most recently, to "just for me," with each type of service continuing as a new type is added. The shift to "just for me" is more than just semantic; it indicates the change from producer or provider pushing information out to the user to pulling in from the user, or potential user, needed information sources wherever and in whatever format they are located.

2. Increasingly global society. A second trend is the increasingly global nature of our society. In part because of the Internet (and certainly as a result of the events of September 11, 2001), we all recognize the seeming dichotomy that, while we live in a "global village," we observe greater conflict and tension among groups and less understanding and appreciation of different cultures.

3. Connecting across wider and more varied communities. We are making connections across wider and more varied communities than we have in the past. Medical librarians have been doing this for years, of course, and have demonstrated a growing interest in areas such as complementary medicine, sharing information across units in a complex organization like a hospital or a university, an even greater emphasis on patient and caregiver information, curricular changes in educational programs moving toward a more patient-focused and integrated curriculum, and a growth in teams across specializations.

From a family caregiver perspective, when my younger sister came to Pittsburgh for a kidney, pancreas, and bone marrow transplant three years ago, I experienced first-hand the importance of this connection through the great array of information services provided to the outstanding team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, therapists, and others, as well as to her and our family. The human and information connections made by the outstanding medical personnel, and of course the medical librarians, across the wide community in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center were key to the success of her surgery and recovery.

4. Need to balance the "old" and the "new." It may seem strange for someone who has focused so much on the application of technology to problem solving and decision making to raise a note of caution about too much emphasis on technology, but, remember, I do come from a liberal arts background. In their excellent book, The Social Life of Information, John seely Brown and Paul Duguid [1] make a strong case for understanding how individuals function within society and why they hold to certain traditions and practices, rather than attacking people for being reluctant to adopt new technologies or make other changes in their lives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Challenges for Libraries Creating One World: Information Ethics and Policy Issues for Medical Librarians*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.