Friday, February 18, 2005

International Journal of Information Ethics

International Journal of Information Ethics

Here it is. Congrats to all.

Weekend: February 19-20-- Social Security: The Information War

Let me post this topic for your weekend reflection. What I'd like for our focus is not the pros and cons of the issue but the ways in which the information is managed by the politicians and the media--particularly the political cartoons. Let's look around and see what's out there in the cartoon world. There are many good sites on the web. I'll post my favorite here. I like this site because the cartoons are organized by topics, and they are easy to print. Of course, always give credit for the wonderfully creative talents of these talented people. Let me know what you are thinking about the information war swirling around the social security issues. Happy Weekend.

UDHR-- A Neater Link

So sorry. I"m just learning to use this blog software, so I didn't know my link would be TOOO BIG. Let me try again. I'll try too sizes. I like experimenting.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

So You Want to Watch Some Movies related to Ethics and Technology?

Today I'm posting a list of some of the movies I've used in classes and find valuable in thinking about the challenges of information and technology. Please let me know others.

Check these out and let me know of any others--- "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Fahrenheit 451,"
"The Handmaid's Tale,"
"Blade Runner,"
“Johnny Mnemonic,”
"Minority Report,"
"The Ghost in the Machine,"
"Lawnmower Man,"
"The Electronic Grandmother,"
"The Ugly Little Boy," and many others.

Syllabus: The Master Syllabus: Global Information Ethics

The Master Syllabus: Global Information Ethics
2003 Version
Martha M. Smith, Ph. D.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
T. S. Eliot, “Choruses from ‘The Rock’"

Course Description: In exploring global information ethics, we will consider both ethical dilemmas and the strategies available to information professionals to address them. Topics will include access, equity, intellectual property rights, privacy and confidentiality, censorship, personnel issues, and other practical and complex issues. In addition, broader topics such as the Digital Divide, Intellectual Property Rights, Information Democracy, Global Information Justice, and Human Information Rights will be discussed.
Various philosophical traditions will be examined, including utilitarianism, deontological approaches including Kant’s categorical imperative, Rawl’s theory of justice, and Fletcher's situation ethics. The literature of philosophy of technology, especially the philosophy of information technologies, will also be included.
The roles and the responsibilities of the information professional both in the work place and in the arena of public policy will be considered. Does professionalism require neutrality or moral agency? Are information technologies ethically neutral or laden with values? What decision-making models apply to the current challenges?
In addition, various information futures will be imagined with the help of fiction, such as the writings of David Brin, John Cheever, William Carlos Williams, Erskine Caldwell, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy, Ray Bradbury; and videos such as "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Fahrenheit 451," “E.T.,” "The Handmaid's Tale," "Tron," "Blade Runner," “Gattica,” “Johnny Mnemonic,” “AI,” “The Atomic ???,” "The Ghost in the Machine," "Lawnmower Man," "The Electronic Grandmother," "The Ugly Little Boy," and many others.
Finally, the following terms and critical thinking categories will be used to explore these matters.
Informational and communications technologies (ICT’s)
The uses and abuses of information
Information: creation, organization, retrieval, storage, evaluation, use
Moral, morals, and morality
Moral agency
Applied ethics
Technological determinism
Technology as neutral
Value neutrality
Professional neutrality
Social responsibility
Philosophy of technology
Justice theory
Situation ethics
Medical ethics
Environmental ethics
Information ethics
Computer ethics
Life world
Dimensions of the Life World: Humanity, Nature, and Technology
Major Themes of Global Information Ethics: Access, Ownership, Privacy, Security, and Community
Aspects of Moral Agency: Identity, Knowledge, and Community
The Ethical Self
The Ethical Professional
The Global Information Environment
Each student will be asked to choose a topic and to become a class resource on that area. These topics might include: privacy, intellectual property rights, the relationship between information law and information ethics, global information justice, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ethics of fee vs.
free information access, the Freedom of Information Act, networking ethics, the contribution of Ellul, Jonas, LeGuin, Hauptman, Swan, Mumford, Boulding, or another significant person, feminist information ethics, ethical dilemmas in cyberpunk, virtual libraries and ethical issues, the ethics of software design, ethics and distance education, intelligent agents as threat or hope, the FBI library awareness campaign and library patron confidentiality, reference ethics, ethics in programs of Science, Technology, and Society, computer ethics, the ethics of encryption, codes of the information professions, informed consent, the right to know, media ethics, reproductive ethics, environmental ethics, and many others.

Goals of the Course

1. To survey the issues and approaches to ethical dilemmas in using information and information and communications technologies in the global information environment.
2. To develop the ability to use various approaches to ethical analysis in order to evaluate dilemmas and to practice problem analysis and decision-making in culturally diverse situations.
3. To engage in imagining, with other members of the class and beyond the classroom, the challenges of the future.

Required Texts

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations General Assembly.

The Intellectual Freedom Manual. ALA. The latest edition. Refer also to earlier editions.

William Gibson. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.

Examples of Short Stories:
Brian Aldiss, “Super Toys Last All Summer Long.”
Isaac Asimov, “Robbie.”
Erskine Caldwell, “Masses of Men.”
Ray Bradbury, “The Veldt,” “There Will Come Soft Rains.”

You also may want to read a good general survey of philosophy, such as Alasdair MacIntyre's A Short History of Ethics (New York: Macmillan, 1966). Useful articles may be found also in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, or in the more recent Encyclopedia of Religion. The first (1978) and second (1994) editions of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics may also be useful.

For general background on the shape of the global information society and issues facing decision-makers, see some of the following books:
Borgman, Christine L. 2000. From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure. MIT Press.

Brown, John Seely and Duguid, Paul. 2000. The Social Life of Information. Harvard Business School Press

Graubard, Stephen R. and LeClerc, Paul. 1999. Books, Bricks, and Bytes: Libraries in the Twenty-first Century. Transaction Publishers.

Webster, Frank. 1995. Theories of the Information Society. Routledge.

Additional useful background may be found also in the writings of Manuel Castells, Thomas Froehlich, Rafael Capurro, Sherry Turkle, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Hans Jonas, Joseph Fletcher, Don Ihde, James Beniger, Ian Barbour, Michael Foucault, J. David Bolter, Jurgen Habermas, Martin Heidegger, Bruno Latour, Sandra Harding, Thomas Kuhn, Andrew Abbott, Carl Mitcham, Melvin Kranzberg, Aldo Leopold, Brian Pfaffenberger, Tom Forester, Paul Durbin, Clifford Christians, and Joseph Rouse.

Course Requirements and Grading

Grades will be based upon the following:

1. (25%) Active participation in online course interaction: the discussion board, assignment postings, chat, online conferences, etc.

2. (25%) A course portfolio to be used as the basis for a summary web site. The web site should evidence an understanding of all required materials, some optional resources, and the particular interests and expertise of each student. Be creative. Think of this as something you might use to display your achievements in the class in a form that employers might use to evaluate. You may find that executive summaries are a useful way to keep track of your readings.

3. (25%) An electronic pathfinder, electronic annotated bibliography with an introduction, or a bibliographic essay on a chosen topic, with a one-page class summary to be presented to class members. This exercise should be as current as possible, using older materials as only as essential background. Excellent examples of bibliographic essays are found in the ARIST volumes and in Choice.

4. (25%) A cumulative, comprehensive “At Home” Final Exam. No notes, no books, 2-3 hours maximum.

Schedule of Readings and Assignments

Class 1: Global Information Ethics: An Introduction
Defining Terms: Morals, Morality, Ethics, and Etiquette
Previewing Ethical Traditions and Methods
Humanity, Nature, and Technology: Conflicts or Balance
Themes of GIE: Access, Ownership, Privacy, Security, and Community

Class 2: Neutrality vs. Moral Agency: Personal Integrity, Professional Ethics, and Social Responsibility

D. J. Foskett, The Creed of the Librarian: No Politics, No Religion, No Morals, 1962.
John Cheever, "The Housebreaker of Shady Hill," from The Stories of John Cheever, 1978.
Robert Coles, "Our Moral Lives," Society 23 (1986).
Robert Hauptman, "Professional or Culpability? An Experiment in Ethics," WilsonLibrary Bulletin 50, 626-27.
Susan Rathbun, "Ethics Issues in Reference Service: Overview and Analysis," North Carolina Libraries 51 (Spring 1993).
John Swan, "Helpful Librarians and Hurtful Books," Catholic Library World 59 (May/June 1988): 271-74.
Robert C. Dowd, "I Want to Find Out How to Freebase Cocaine; or Yet Another Unobtrusive Test of Reference Performance," The Reference Librarian 25/26 (1989): 483-93.
Bruce Flanders, "A Delicate Balance (Keeping Children Out of the Gutters Along the Information Highway)," School Library Journal (October, 1994).

Neuromancer and the responses to it. Use book reviews, results from citation analysis, literary criticism (cyberpunk), etc. What will be the role of the information professional in the world of Neuromancer? Watch a good video, such as “AI,” “Gattica,” "Blade Runner," "The Handmaid's Tale," "Tron," "Stargate," "The Gods Must Be Crazy," "Frankenstein," "Fahrenheit 451," "Dune," "The Name of the Rose," "E.T.," "Star Wars," "Lawnmower Man," "2001," "Jurassic Park," "The
Andromeda Strain," "The China Syndrome," "The Atomic Cafe (1982)," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "1984," "Desk Set," "Modern Times," and many more. Please make your suggestions.

Class 3: Is Privacy Obsolete? Privacy, Confidentiality, and the Information Technologies

John Cheever, "The Enormous Radio," from The Stories of John Cheever.
Ted Diamond, "Opinion: The Escrowed Encryption Standard: The Clipper Chip and Civil Liberties," Internet Research 4 (Fall 1994).
Lillian N. Gerhardt, "Ethical Back Talk: Librarians Must Protect Each User's Right to Privacy with Respect to Information Sought or Received, and Materials Consulted, Borrowed, or Acquired," School Library Journal 36 (June 1990). See the series of articles by Gerhardt.
Preview: Herbert N. Foerstel, Surveillance in the Stacks: The FBI's Library Awareness Program, 1991. (Many articles have been written on this program. Consult Library Literature or LISA.)

Class 4: Censorship, Selection, and the Impact of the Internet: Has Technology Changed Everything?

Using Traditional Ethical Strategies: Utilitarianism and Deontology.
How are these useful in thinking about censorship?

Lester Asheim, "Not Censorship But Selection," Wilson Library Bulletin (1953).
Joy M. Greiner, "Professional Views: Intellectual Freedom as a Professional Ethic," Public Libraries 28 (March/April 1989): 69-72.

Class 5: Intellectual Freedom, Freedom of Speech, and Article 19: Is There a “Right to Know”?

Lecture: Situation Ethics and Justice-Based Approaches: Eternal or Flexible? Strategies toward Decision-Making

Video: "The Electronic Grandmother," adapted from Ray Bradbury's I Sing the Body Electric, 1970.

Documents: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 19.
ALA. The Freedom to Read Statement.
ALA. Library Bill of Rights.
The Freedom to Read Statement.
A. J. Anderson, "The FBI Wants You- to Spy," Library Journal 141, 37-39.
The ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual. Note both current and previous editions.
"Libraries in the Tradition of Freedom of Expression," Special Issue of The Bookmark 47 (Winter 1989).
"Intellectual Freedom/Parts I and II," Diana Woodward, ed., Library Trends 39 (Summer/Fall 1990).

Class 6: Intellectual Property Rights: Who Owns Information?

Ann Branscomb, Who Owns Information?
Carol Gould, The Web of Information: Ethical and Social Implications of Computer Networking, 1986.
Deborah Johnson, Computer Ethics, 3rd ed.

Class 7: Information Democracy: Myth or Reality?

Questions to Ask: Information Democracy, the Information Poor, and the Information Elite: Is there a Digital Divide?

Video: "The Ugly Little Boy"

Look carefully at JASIS: Journal of the American Society for Information Science (July 1994) special section on "Information Resources and Democracy," Leah A. Lievrouw, ed.

Articles by Ronald Doctor on information democracy and social equity:
"Seeking Equity in the National Information Infrastructure." Internet Research 4 (Fall 1994).
"Social Equity and Information Technologies: Moving Toward Information Democracy," in ARIST: Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 27 (1992), Martha Williams, ed.
"Information Technologies and Social Equity: Confronting the Revolution," JASIS 42 (1991): 216-28.
Consider the Brian Pfaffenberger book Democratizing Information: Online Databases and the Rise of End-User Searching and compare with Brenda Dervin's "Information Democracy," JASIS 45 (July 1994).
Also consider Dr. Elfreda A. Chatman's work on the information needs of marginal populations and definitions of the information poor. Note that Doctor cites Chatman's work. (In addition to Doctor's citations, see Library Literature and LISA)

Class 8: Ethics and Management: Human Resources (Hiring, Firing, and In-Between)

Questions to Ask: Knowledge Workers and the Information Age: Can We Balance Diversity and Autonomy?

Choose a case from Herbert White's Ethical Dilemmas Libraries: A Collection of Case Studies, 1992.

Erskine Caldwell, "Masses of Men."

Selections from Human Resources (May 1994) on Downsizing.

Authors such as Peter Drucker, Alvin Toffler (Powershift, et al.), Harland Cleveland's work, The Knowledge Executive, and selections from the Harvard Business Review. ???Harlan Cleveland, Servant Leadership.

Class 9: Ethics and Leadership: Automation, Networking, Contracts, and Consultants

Martha M. Smith, "Infoethics for Leaders: Models of Moral Agency in the Information Environment," Library Trends 40 (Winter 1992): 553-70.
Look through Library HiTech's issue on ethics, 4 (Winter 1986). See especially J. Drabenstott, ed. The Consultant's Corner: A Forum on Ethics in the Library Automation Process, pp. 107-19 and Wilson M. Stahl, "Automation and Ethics: A View from the Trenches," pp. 53-57.

Class 10: The Virtual Library: Access vs. Ownership

Robert Hauptman, "The Internet, Cyberethics, and Virtual Morality," Online (March 1994): 8-9.
William Gibson’s Neuromancer and review and reflect upon some of the literature which refers to it. "Who are the information professionals in the world of Neuromancer?"

Class 11: The Digital Library/The Virtual Library/The Library without Walls

Questions to Ask: Reference/Information Services in the Future: The Virtual Librarian

Samuel Rothstein, "Where Does It Hurt? Identifying the Real Concerns in the Ethics of Reference Service," The Reference Librarian 25-26 (1989):307-20.
Lawson Crowe and Susan Anthes, "The Academic Librarian and Information Technology: Ethical Issues," College and Research Libraries 49 (March 1988): 123-30.
Ruth Palmquist, "The Impact of Information Technology on the Individual," ARIST 27 (1992), Martha Williams, ed.
Rafael Capurro, "Moral Issues in Information Science," Journal of Information Science 11 (1985): 113-23.
Look at Jonathan W. Emord's Freedom, Technology, and the First Amendment, 1991, or books on the first amendment.

Class 12: Professional Ethics in the Information Age

Questions to Ask: How do library and information professionals balance their personal beliefs, professional ethics, and social responsibilities as citizens of the world?
What do librarians have to do in their work that they would rather not do?
What is the role of fiction in the human experience? In professional development? In public policy?
How can fiction help to guide decision-making?
What is the role of professional codes? Think about their internal and external usefulness.

Video: "Politics, Privacy, and the Press"

Howard S. Becker, "Whose Side Are We On?" Social Problems 14 (1967): 239-49.
ALA. Code of Professional Ethics (1981).
LA. British Library Association
ALA. Draft of New Code (1994).
ASIS Professional Guidelines (1992/1993).

Lee Finks, "Librarianship Needs a New Code of Professional Ethics," American Libraries 22 (January 1991): 84-88.
William Carlos Williams (1993-1963), "The Use of Force," The Doctor Stories. Introduced by Robert Coles.
Ray Bradbury's "Marionettes Inc." The Stories of Ray Bradbury, 1980.
Effy Oz, "Ethical Standards for Computer Professionals: A Comparative Analysis of Four Major Codes," Journal of Business Ethics 12 (1993): 709-26.
T. J. Froehlich, "Ethical Considerations for Information Professionals," ARIST 27 (1992): 291-324.
Robert Coles, The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination, 1989. Read introductory chapter and sample from the rest.
J. Kultgen, Ethics and Professionalism, argues that professionalism is mainly driven by self-interest. Is that true in library/information professions?

Class 13: Information Professionals and Social Responsibility

What roles are librarians and information professionals playing in the new information society? Economic influence? Political influence? Public policy influence?

Manfred Kochen, "Ethics and Information Science," JASIS 83 (May 1987), 206-10.
Manfred Kochen, "Information and Society," ARIST 18 (1983): 277-304, Martha Williams, ed. A very early hint of the issues which would shape information ethics.
Dorothy Nelkin, "The Social Power of Genetic Information," The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project, Part III: Ethics, Law, and Society.
The Universal Declaration of Genetic Rights. UNESCO.
Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "A Sound of Thunder," from The Stories of Ray Bradbury, 1980.

Class 14: Information Ethics: Beyond Professional Ethics to Public Policy and Consumer Rights

Martha M. Smith, "Educating for Information Ethics: Assumptions and Definitions," Journal of Information Ethics 2 (Spring 1993).
Martha M. Smith, "Educating for Information Ethics: Information Ethics-101," Journal of Information Ethics 2 (Fall 1993).
Martha M. Smith, “Global Information Justice,” Library Trends, ??????
Clifford Christians, "Information Ethics in a Complicated Age," from the Allerton Conference. See F. W. Lancaster, Ethics and the Librarian.
T. J. Froehlich, "Ethical Considerations in Technology-Transfer," Library Trends 40 (1991): 275-302.
Also see introductory statements by editor and publisher on the purpose in the first volume of the Journal of Information Ethics.

Joseph Fletcher's Morals and Medicine, 1954, especially the subtitle and the Table of Contents. What information issues can you identify?

Class 15: The Social Construction of Information Technology: Ethics in Context

Carl's Mitcham's "Computer Ethos, Computer Ethics," Paul T. Durbin, ed., Research in Philosophy & Technology 8 (1985).

Note: Rafael Capurro's "Informationsethos, Informationsethik: Gedanken zum varantwortungsvollen Handeln im Bereich der Fachinformation," in Nachrichten fur Dokumentation 39 (1988): 4.
Rafael Capurro's "What Is Information Science For? A Philosophical Reflection," P. Vakkari and B. Cronin, eds., Conceptions of Library and Information Science.
James Bailey, "First We Reshape Our Computers, then Our Computers Reshape Us: The Broader Implications of Parallelism," Daedalus (Winter 1992). The whole issue is dedicated to parallel computing.
Brian Pfaffenberger, ch. 1, "The Social Construction of Online Technology," Democratizing Information: Online Databases and the Rise of End-User Searching.
Lewis Mumford, "The Monastery and the Clock," Technics and Civilization, 1934, pp. 12-18.

Look at:
The pictures in Shoshana Zuboff's In the Age of the Smart Machine.
The work of Arnold Pacey, Samuel Florman, Langdon Winner, Gibson Winter, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman, or Ernest Goffman.

Preview “Fahrenheit 451.”

Class 16: Philosophy of Technology and the Self

Joseph Margolis, "The Technological Self," Edmund F. Byrne and Joseph C. Pitt, eds., Technological Transformations: Contextual and Conceptual Implications, Philosophyand Technology 5 (1989).
Sherry Turkle, The Second Self, Introduction and Part II or Part III.

Consider: Michael Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, Joseph Margolis, Don Ihde, etc.

Class 17: Philosophy of Technology: Using the Past to Understand the Future

Questions to Ask: What is technology? How shall we define technology? How do we know and understand technology? What is the purpose/the goal of technology? (Ontology, Epistemology, and Teleology)

F. Ferre, Philosophy of Technology, survey chapters and topics.

"Introduction: Information Technology and Computers as Themes in the Philosophy of Technology," Carl Mitcham and Alois Huning, eds. Philosophy and Technology, II. Information Technology and Computers in Theory and Practice. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 90 (1986).
Hans Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility, Ch. 6: "A Critique of Utopia and the Ethic of Responsibility".
Clifford Christians, "A Theory of Normative Technology," Technological Transformation: Contextual and Conceptual Implications, Edmund R. Byrne and Joseph C. Pitt, eds. Philosophy and Technology 5 (1989).
Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society,
Jonas and Aldo Leopold's chapter on environmental ethics, "The Land Ethic," in A Sand County Almanac.

Class 18: Global Information Justice: Diffusion and Transfer

Questions to Answer: Can we find a global consensus on global information justice?

Video: “Envisioning the Future:The Business of Paradigms"

C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures, particularly the last section, Part IV, on rich and poor countries. Is Snow's argument still useful to us?
Martha M. Smith, “Global Information Justice,” Library Trends.

Class 19: Ethics in Cyberspace: Computer Ethics, Cyberethics, and Internet Ethics

Robert A. Jones. "The Ethics of Research in Cyberspace," Internet Research 4 (Fall 1994).
Deborah Johnson, Computer Ethics.
Duncan Langford, Internet Ethics.

Class 20: Ethics and Values in Literature in relation to Science and Technology, particularly Information Technology

Questions to Ask: What is the value of fiction in understanding ethics and making decisions?

Review: Robert Coles, The Call of Stories

Consider: Wayne Booth, The Company We Keep: The Ethics of Fiction. Note particularly his bibliography.

Class 21: Information, the Self, and the Machine

Questions to Ask: Science Fiction and the Future of Morality

"The Future of Work: Does It Belong to Us or to the Robots," Sar A. Levitan and Clifford M. Johnson, Contemporary Moral Controversies in Technology, A. Pablo Iannone, ed., 1987.
Information as God:
The Robot Librarian? Fact or Fiction
The End of Reading? Myth or Reality, S. Birkerts
The End of the Individual?
Isaac Asimov, "Robbie," in Asimov, Isaac, I Robot.
Erik Harry. The Society of Mind.

Also Cheever, Piercy, Bradbury, Gibson, Sterling, Brin,

Class 22: Who Are the Information Professionals? Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

Questions to Ask: Whose side are we on today?

Video: "From Information to Wisdom"

Anne McCaffrey, "The Ship Who Sang," from Women of Wonder, Pamela Sargent, ed., 1974, 82-107.

Reflect on:
The quotation from T. S. Eliot from "Choruses from the Rock."
What is the relationship between information, knowledge, and wisdom? (See Maxwell, From Knowledge to Wisdom.)
The role of women in science fiction and on the presence or absence of women writers in science fiction and fiction/poetry about technology. There is a rich literature on this subject. For resources: See bibliographies in Lost in Space and Future Females, Marleen Barr.

Please watch "1984" or "The Handmaid's Tale" before the next class.

Class 23: Utopias, Dystopias, and the Fate of the Book

Questions to Ask:

Daniel Bell, "The Social Framework of the Information Society," The Computer Age: A Twenty-Year View, Michael L. Dertouzos and Joel Moses, eds., 1979, pp. 163-211.

Yoneji Masuda, "Computopia," in The Information Future, 1983.

Sven Birkerts, The Gutenburg Elegies???

Class 24: Science, Technology, and Visions of the Future

Questions to Ask: What in the present best informs the future?

Visions of the future in 1984, Neuromancer, Fahrenheit 451, Blade Runner, The Handmaid's Tale, etc. Questions: Who and where are the information professionals? Elites? Underground rebels? Citizen users?

Class 25: The Future for Libraries: Dynamos or Dinosaurs?

Questions to Ask:

Richard E. Walton, "Social Choice in the Development of Advanced Information Technology," Contemporary Moral Controversies in Technology, 1987.
James Thurber, "The Human Being and the Dinosaur" and other stories.

Class 26: The Future of Information Professionals: Social Responsibility and Public Policy: Whose Side Are We on Now?

Questions to Ask:

Recall: H. S. Becker, "Whose Side Are We On?"

Class 26: Humanity, Nature, and Technology: Rafael's Capurro's Vision of the Information, Technology, and Ethics

Questions to Ask:

Rafael Capurro, "Information Technology and Technologies of the Self," presented at the ASIS Conference, sessions on Information Democracy, 1992.?????

Rafael Capurro, "Towards an Information Ecology," Information and Quality, I. Wormell, ed., London: Taylor Graham, 1990, pp. 122-39.
Rafael Capurro, "Informatics and Hermeneutics," Software Development and Reality Construction. C. Floyd, H. Zullinghoven, R. Budde, R. Keil-Slawik, eds. Berlin: Springer, 1992, pp. 363-75.

Rafael Capurro, "Epistemology and Information Science," Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology Library, 1985.

Class 27: Personal Futures and Moral Agency: Shaping Tomorrow

Questions to Ask:

Continuing Class Discussion: Capurro's Vision in contrast to Neuromancer, Fahrenheit 451, etc.

Class 28: Moral Agency and Professional Ethics: Professional and Social Responsibility

Questions to Ask: The role of the profession in social advocacy?

Sample Questions for the Final Exam

Future of books, libraries, and librarians

Distance Education, Online Education, and Life-long Learning

The Future of Publishing, Ebooks, EJournals, and Self-Publishing

§ Is information technology value neutral? Why or why not? Be as specific as possible. Refer to readings, discussions, examples from both inside and outside of class.
§ How do you think about the role of the information professional in relation to supervisory personnel in times of conflict about ethical dilemmas? Give a brief scenario which illustrates your viewpoint. Refer as necessary to readings, etc.
§ How have new technologies changed the world of the librarian in confronting ethical dilemmas? Illustrate.
§ Describe your own sense of moral agency, balancing responsibilities among the various loyalties which professionals have. Give specific examples of how you would act or make a decision as a moral agent.
§ Describe the various codes studied in class. What makes a good professional code? Why?
§ Digital Divide?
§ Apply John Rawl’s veil of ignorance as you imagine yourself in a third-world or developing country. How would you describe the importance of information ethics to those who are beginning to use information technologies for the first time?
§ Is privacy obsolete or will it become obsolete? Explain why or why not.
§ How is professional ethics different from etiquette or personal values? How is each important?
§ What have you learned from using fiction in studying ethics? Illustrate from the readings.
§ Are smart machines our slaves? Our friends? Our masters?
§ Write your own question.

2005 Syllabus: Information Ethics-- Sample Syllabus for a Quarter in the Grad MS(LIS) and the MSIS (Information Systems) Programs

Hi Everybody,
Today I'm posting a sample syllabus for making my information ethics course a part of the formal curriculum of IST. At Drexel, we can offer a course as a trial for two terms. Then it has to be brought before the university to be considered as a formal course.
Note that this is a course for a quarter--10 weeks of classes and then a week for exams. You may also be interested in the assignments--blogging and an electronic portfolio. I usually teach this course asynchronously online, so I find that individual blogs, blogrings, and electronic portfolios encourage adult students to integrate their knowledge and skills with technology and their previous subject content and experience backgrounds in a very fulfilling way. We have a diverse group of students, usually from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, most with substantial career experience. Blogging and electronic portfolios can be done very simply or can encourage students to utilize their special talents with online content. Everybody learns from everybody else. For an information ethics course this is ideal because it gives us all a chance to explore the issues and to allow experience the world of cyberspace and how professionals can utlize the web for professional expression and collaboration.
Syllabus: Information Ethics
Dr. Marti Smith
Drexel University
College of Information Science and Technology
(For more syllabi see
Syllabus Sample
College of Information Science and Technology
Drexel University
Information Ethics
Martha M. Smith, Ph. D.

Contact Information:
Office Address: Rush Building, #208
College of Information Science and Technology
3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-2875
215-895-1532; FAX 215-895-2494
Alternative email addresses:

Course Description:
Presents the philosophical foundations of applied ethics and technology with primary focus on (1.) the uses and abuses of information, (2.) human moral agency in relation to new information and communication technologies (ICTs), and (3.) the meaning of social responsibility in the global information society, including the concepts of global information justice and human rights.

Specifically this course will consider ethical dilemmas, decision-making strategies, and public policy issues around the broad themes of Access, Ownership, Privacy, Security, and Community including headline topics such as intellectual property rights vs. intellectual freedom; the USA Patriot Act vs. civil liberties; the uses of genetic information for health care vs. for discrimination in insurance. The course will build understanding of major and alternative ethical traditions to inform personal moral agency, professional conduct, and civic participation.

Overview of Weekly Topics
Week 1: Introduction to information ethics in relation to other areas of applied ethics, including computer ethics, cyberethics, engineering ethics, media ethics, and related areas, and current challenges;

Week 2: Philosophy of information and philosophy of technology as applied in contemporary life;

Weeks 3 and 4: Various models of decision making in professional practice and civic participation;

Weeks 5 and 6: The application of information ethics to professional practice and participation in public policy, including the relationship between ethics and law;

Weeks 7 to 10: Current ethical dilemmas under the broad categories of:
** Access,
** Ownership,
** Privacy,
** Security, and
** Community such as intellectual property rights, copyright, and copyleft; the USA Patriot Act and civil rights; the digital divide and information democracy; and global information justice.

Assignments and Grading:
The major assignment for this course will be the building of an electronic portfolio containing assignments such as weekly blog entries, resource pathfinders, and an information ethics case study problem for analysis.

Weekly blog postings (Weeks 2-9) will be due on Mondays by noon of each week. Weekly postings should be between 200-300 words and should reflect the readings with engagement with the assignment question or topic. You may use charts, tables, and hotlinks in your text and may attach small audio and video files.

Grades will be based upon the following:
(60%) Term Project: The Completed Electronic Portfolio
(40%) 8 Weekly Blog Postings and Interaction with Others—Weeks 2-9

Grading Scale
A= 90-100
B= 80-89
C= Below 79

Special Needs and Accommodations: If you have a disability and need special help, you must identify yourself to the Drexel Disability Office in time for your needs to be reviewed and appropriate plans made for help.

Required readings will change each term:
Current Required Text:
Herman Tavani. (2004) Ethics and technology: Ethical issues in an age of information and communication technology. John Wiley. See

Examples of Optional Readings and Resources: The reading books below may be valuable in your professional library. Other readings and resource lists will be given throughout the term.

Richard Holeton (ed.) (1997). Composing cyberspace: Identity, community, and knowledge in the electronic age. WCB/McGraw Hill. Also see companion website at

Richard A. Spinello and Harman T. Tavani (eds.) (2001), Readings in cyberethics. Jones and Bartlett. Also see web resources at

Albert Teich (ed.), Technology and the Future. Wadsworth. Most recent edition. Also see companion website, Albert Teich’s Technology and the Future Toolkit, at

Web Site: The International Center for Information Ethics


Wonderful resources here. Join the virtual of community of ICIE.

See for
Research, and