Saturday, December 10, 2005

From Outsell --Neighborhoods of the Information Industry

From Outsell-- Neighborhoods of the Information Industry-- For educational use only. Posted by Picasa
Get your own poster copy of this chart from Outsell. Use a new search engine to look for Outsell's website. If you do not have one in mind, look at

Friday, December 09, 2005

Blog This: Why are we using a blog for an online course?

Blog This: Why are we using a blog for an online course, for Information Ethics? Blogging is an important new way of communicating for library and information science professionals and in libraries.

Are we still going to use our Blackboard course site? Yes, indeed.

We're going to be innovative and brave in this course, using blogging, the course site, and lots of other new ways to learn and communicate. For me, part of studying ethics in a graduate, professional course is experiencing moral and ethical challenges. In actual practice, we find ourselves confronting new technologies and needing to decide whether or not to add them to our professional and/or personal lives. If we think of new technologies as potential technologies of the self, then all new technologies require our moral imagination to accept or reject them. Let's get concrete and think what difference it makes to use any kind of personal technology-- silverware for eating, cars for transportation, TV's and movies for entertainment. Now translate that into the professional context of the information professions and ask how we understand our use of online systems and databases, printers and fax machines, and now blogs and podcasting? How do these technologies change us, our work, and self-understanding. Think about all of this as you are using various technologies of the self to do the work in this course.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Info679: Assignments--The Online Portfolio-- Life on the Web

Assignments--The Portfolio-- Life on the Web
You'll present your work and learning for Information Ethics on a website of your own creation. The site can be very simple or very complicated. The point is to experience presenting yourself on the web. Do you already have a web site? That's great. You can set up a spot for our class. If not, then you'll be able to consider several alternatives.

You may want to start with the Drexel resources:
Computer Accounts
The Computer Fixer
Web/Media Support

WebITS Getting Started Web Workshops Online Courses FAQs Contact Us
Publishing Your Website on University Servers
Once you have all of your web documents (HTML files, graphics, etc.), you will need to place the files on a web server. Once the web pages and the graphical files are placed on the web server, your web site will be available to the world. There are a variety of web servers at Drexel and MCP Hahnemann:
The web server associated with DUNX1 ( also known as
Drexel's main web server (
WebCT server (
Determing which server to useUse the descriptions below to decide which server best suits your needs.
Personal home pages - FOR EVERYONE
Personal web pages for students, faculty and staff are stored on the DUNX1 server and can be mounted using a DUNX1 userid and password.
Anyone with a account has the ability to create her own web page.
Your account's userid and password are that same as your account.
Recognized student organizations - can store their home pages on DUNX1. The organization will need an organizational dunx1 account. The organization must be recognized by the university and registered with the Office of Student Life.
Administrative Departments
Drexel departmental web sites can be stored on Drexel's main web server called Representatives of academic or administrative departments may request access to place information on Drexel's main web server. If interested you may request access by contacting us via the form located on the Contact Us page of this site.
Faculty may use WebCT to complement their courses. Click here for more information. or email

Info679: Readings-- Using the Hagerty Databases for Books and Articles

Using the Hagerty Databases for Books and Articles To access Drexel library's subscription journals, you will need your Student ID #. XXXXXXXX

Below I've posted some of the links, but be sure to navigate the site itself as well.

Articles databases: Start with the ACM Digital Library, LibraryLiterature, LISA, and ERIC

W. W. Hagerty Library
Health Sciences Libraries
Drexel University Libraries
Library Services
About the Libraries
All Electronic ResourcesLibrary CatalogCourse ReservesDatabases by SubjectDatabases by TitleE-journalsE-books E-theses E-newspapers E-reference New ResourcesSubject GuidesTutorials/Online Instruction Other Area Libraries
Borrowing Library MaterialsInterlibrary Loans E-Z BorrowCheck your Library RecordReference AssistanceLibrary InstructionOff-campus Access
Services for: New Students Faculty Distance Learners Patrons with Disabilities
Libraries and CollectionsHoursLocationsStaff/Phone NumbersLibrary Newsletter Visitor Information Computing FacilitiesPolicies Make a SuggestionContact Us
eBook databases:

OCLC WorldCat:

Digital Reference:

Print Books: InterLibrary Loan

Info679: Readings--Luciana Floridi--- Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics

Historical Perspectives on the Beginnings of Information Ethics

How to read this article? Skim and pay attention to the basic arguement and the footnotes rather than the complex analysis. Of special interest to those who are interesting in the history of scholarly communication and the development of the field of information ethics.

Intro to the reading: This reading is important to our course because it represents the term, information ethics, being used by a very well respected scholar in the philosophy of information and in computer ethics. This article represents a turning point in the growth of the field of information ethics because it brings the terminology into the arena of scholarly discourse in the most established field of computer ethics. After this article there is a marked increased in the use of the term information ethics being used the in scholarly literature of computer ethics.

Note that Floridi makes a case for information ethics as foundational to computer ethics based on his definition of information and the philosophy of information. Floridi represents the analytic style of philosophy and seeks to define basic categories that can serve as building blocks for developing ethical theory. The descriptive style of ethics doesn't depend upon specific definitions in order to address practical ethical challenges. Both the descriptive and the analytical styles are valuable. Analytical reflection provides a basic framework for moving toward rules or norms for conduct and policy making. The descriptive style is not as oriented around rules and norms. We talk about that more later.

Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics

Luciano Floridi, version 2.0

A shorter version of this paper was given at ETHICOMP98 The Fourth International Conference on Ethical Issues of Information Technology, Erasmus University, The Netherlands, 25 to 27 March 1998, hosted by the Department of Philosophy Erasmus University, The Netherlands, in association with Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility De Montfort University, UK, Research Center on Computing and Society Southern Connecticut State University, USA, East Tennessee State University, USA.

The paper is forthcoming in the Proceedings of the conference and I shall gratefully acknowledge any useful comments or suggestions for improvements. Please send your emails to

For a list of resources see
A Short Webliography on Computer Ethics

For information on research in CE in recent years in the fields of philosophy and computing, see
the Appendix

For a reading list see
A Short Reading List on the Philosophy of Computer Ethics
Index of the paper sections

The Foundationalist Problem
Macroethics and Computer Ethics
A Model of Macroethics
From Computer Ethics to Information Ethics
Information Ethics as an Object-oriented and Ontocentric Theory
The Properties of the Infosphere
The Normative Aspect of Information Ethics: Four Moral Laws
Information Ethics as a Macroethics
Case Analysis: Four Negative Examples

Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics
"We, who have a private life and hold it infinitely the dearest of our possessions…"
Virginia Woolf, "Montaigne"
in A Woman’s Essays (London: Penguin, 1992), p. 60.

1. The Foundationalist Problem
Lobbying, financial support and the undeniable importance of the very urgent issues discussed by Computer Ethics (henceforth CE) have not yet succeeded in raising it to the status of a philosophically respectable topic. If they take any notice of it (see appendix), most philosophers look down on CE as on a practical subject ("professional ethics"), unworthy of their analyses and speculations. They treat it like Carpentry Ethics, to use a Platonic metaphor.
The inescapable interdisciplinarity of CE has certainly done the greatest possible harm to the prospects for recognition of its philosophical significance. Everyone’s concern is usually nobody’s business, and CE is at too much of a crossroads of technical matters, moral and legal issues, social as well as political problems and philosophical analyses to be anyone’s own game. Philosophers’ notorious conservatism may also have been a hindrance. After all, Aristotle, Mill or Kant never

Info679: Rafael Capurro--Information Technologies and Technologies of the Self

(Note that this posting is part of a course on Information Ethics for Dragon U. I will be editing it in the next few weeks. The course starts officially in January.)

Introduction to the Reading: Compare this article with Floridi's paper on the foundations of information ethics. Capurro's paper is an excellent example of the descriptive style of ethical reflection. It is informed by the traditions of philosophy represented by Habermas, Foucault, Ricoeur, and Ihde. Capurro is the scholar who work I identify with most. When I first got into the field, this is the article that made me want to work in the field. Over the years Capurro has become a good friend as well as a colleague. Take time to look at his web page.

Info679: Reading: Rafael Capurro, Information Technologies and Technologies of the Self

See Capurro's own webpage. Note that he has posted most of his published works.

Info679: Key Web Sites

Info679: Key Web Sites

Required Texts:Herman Tavani. (2004) Ethics and technology: Ethical issues in an age of information and communication technology. John Wiley. See

Richard A. Spinello and Harman T. Tavani (eds.) (2003), Readings in cyberethics. 2nd ed. Jones and Bartlett. Also see web resources at

International Center for Information Ethics

International Review of Information Ethics

American Library Association See the Office of Intellectual Freedom

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

American Civil Liberties Union-- ACLU

More to come. As you find good sites, please add them to our list.

Info679: Library Blogs

Info679: Look for examples of library or library-related blogs from your area. Share what you find with your fellow students. We'll post some of the most relevant on our External Links area of Bb. Start with Be sure to look for library blogs in the libraries and other institutions near you. Does your library or information workplace have a blog?

Info679: Why Use Blogging in Graduate Professional Education?

Info679: Why Use Blogging in Graduate Professional Education?

Explore this topic by looking for articles on blogging and the library and information professions in Library Lit and LISA.

Is "Blog" or "Blogging" a controlled vocabulary term in either index?

Teaching BioInfoEthics: A Course I'd Like to Teach

Below is an outline of a course that I would love to teach. It's designed for undergrad, grad students, professional programs, or continuing education. With so many issues in bioethics and healthcare ethics (DNA research, cloning, digital patient records, body data for surveillance and national security, datamining in public health) clearly focused around issues of information use and abuse, BioInfoEthics seems like a natural next step in applied ethics.

Teaching Bioinfoethics: Preparing Students for Decision-Making in Research, Practice, and Public Policy

Bioinfoethics: A field of applied ethics concerned with biomedical, living systems in relation to the information systems that enable or restrict the transfer (creation, organization, dissemination, evaluation, and use) of data, information, and knowledge between those living systems and individuals or institutions in the global society.
Scientific American recently called the field of bioinformatics the new gold rush because genetics without bioinformatics has no future. (Scientific American, 7/2000) If so, then in the coming years, bioinfoethics may not be far behind. The ethical questions are already in the news.
  1. Who should own the Human Genome or have access to data about it?
  2. Does the promise of new drug therapies justify exclusive proprietary access to genetic information?
  3. Should genetic testing be required for jobs or parenthood?
  4. Shall we as a society constrain cloning and cloning research or is cloning an appropriate reproductive technology?
  5. Do the claims of public safety trump concerns for personal privacy in mandating DNA databanks?
  6. Is iris identification or body scanning a necessary security technology--in sensitive workplaces, in public spaces?
  7. Should brain fingerprinting be used to prosecute the guilty and exonerate the innocent?
Looking back almost fifty years from the perspective of 2000, after Dolly the sheep and the rapid conquest of the human genome, one could argue that Joseph Fletcher in 1954, signaled the beginnings of bioinfoethics with his book, Morals and medicine: The moral problems of: The patient's right to know the truth, contraception, artificial insemination, sterilization, euthanasia.
Fletcher asserted that the patient has the right to know the truth about a terminal illness or about reproductive choices. Despite its lack of constitutional status, the right to know has been more and more morally compelling in the last few decades. With the power to have relevant information and use that information in making decisions, the patient/consumer shares a responsibility that was once held exclusively by the physician. The right to know has entered into public policy with provisions for informed consent and advanced directives. Beyond medicine, the public's right to know is often affirmed. For example, the environmental movement, typified in the annual celebration of Earth Day, grew from public concern with threats to clear air, water, soil and access to research data, sometimes from whistle-blowers, to build a case for change in government and industry practices. The Internet has fostered the notion that everyone has the right to know everything all the time and even to have free music and other copyrighted materials. While 24/7 access to all of the world's knowledge is not very realistic, still the expectation of instant information gratification has never been higher.
Many of the issues in medical ethics and environmental ethics that were once controversial now seem almost tame compared to the clashes of values in genetics and bioinformatics. And the stakes are high as matters of profit, life, insurance, and death collide. The field of applied ethics (medical ethics, environmental ethics, information and computer ethics, mass media ethics, cyberethics, and business ethics) has a rich literature and a distinguished history of analysis and insight to use in engaging these new challenges.
When biology and medicine meet informatics (information systems management, statistics, computer science) and they meet on the Internet, then new complexities require renewed reflection. The curriculum proposed will use the concepts of Identity, Knowledge, and Community to analyze current issues in light of philosophical and ethical traditions. The needs of undergraduate, professional, and graduate students, both technical and non-technical, will be addressed. A classroom-based, web-based, or combination of setting will be considered as well as the wealth of print, electronic, and multi-media resources available to enrich teaching and learning. Below is a sampling of books, papers, and web sites that would be useful in preparation. ************************************
Bynum, Terrell W. and Rogerson, Simon. (Eds.) (1996). Global information ethics: Selected Papers from ETHICOMP95. Science and Engineering Ethics (UK). 1996 2:129-256.
Capurro, Rafael. 1996. Information technology and technologies of the self, Journal of Information Ethics 5(2):19-28.
Fletcher, Joseph. (1988). The ethics of genetic control: Ending reproductive roulette. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
Floridi, Lucas. (1999): Information ethics: On the philosophical foundation of computer ethics.
International Center for Information Ethics.
Johnson, Deborah G. (1994). Computer ethics. (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Jonas, Hans. (1966). The phenomenon of life: Toward a philosophical biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jonas, Hans. (1984). The imperative of responsibility: In search of an ethics for a technological age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mason, Richard, Mason, Florence, and Culnan, Mary. (1995). The ethics of information management. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Mitcham, Carl. (1995). Computers, information and ethics: A review of issues and literature. Science and Engineering Ethics, 1 (2):113-132.
Nash, R. F. (1989). The rights of nature: A history of environmental ethics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Smith, Martha M. (1997). Information ethics. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST), Vol. 32, 1997 (pp. 339-366). Medford, NJ: Information Today for the American Society for Information Science (ASIS).
Finally, some possible directions for the research agenda of bioinfoethics will be suggested including consideration of global ethical traditions and the role of international non-governmental organizations (NGO's) such as UNESCO (United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization) and documents such as the Universal Declaration of Genetic Rights ( ).
Observatory on the Information Society - (1999-2000): World Communication and Information Report 1999-2000
UNESCO. Observatory on the Information Society. URL:
UNESCO. Webworld Infoethics. URL:
United Nations General Assembly. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 19. XIX. Article 19. The International Centre Against Censorship. URL:
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. URL:

Info679: Read this first: Introduction to the Course-- Defining Information Ethics

Introduction to the Course-- Defining Information Ethics and Locating Information Ethics among the Fields of Applied Ethics, Information, Computers, the Internet, Information and Communications Technologies and Lots of Other Stuff

There are so many ways to define information ethics. Let me suggest a simple place to begin. Take a look at my blog posting here on February 23rd. This definition applies to the uses and abuses of information in the past, the present, and the future. While it's true that we are much more aware of information issues today, we can also use ethical analysis to understand the past. Of particular interest to us are inventions such as the alphabet, the book, the printing press, the telephone, the digital computer, the fax, and the Internet. What else comes to mind when you think of inventions that make information available or to hinder access to information? Next think of major events and periods of history that give us clues to the dynamics at work when humans come in contact with information and information technologies. Think of the beginnings of agriculture, the rise of cities, the Industrial Revolution, and the nuclear age. What information did the earliest farmers need? How did they learn how to grow crops? What about the rise of citities? Most historians note that record keeping was one of the characteristics of city life. Maybe there was an early Dilbert in the offices of early urban bureauracracies. Before the Industrial Revolution, we have the beginnings of printing. Do you see a relationship? Does being a reader, a literate person, change a person's self image? How? Who could learn to read in the early days? When did reading become an essential skill of living and learning? Think also about the rise of modern science and how the Industrial Revolution has shaped our world today. Think also of how education has changed over the centuries. Think of the history of higher education and the concept of the university. What was taught in the early American universities? When did the curriculum change? How is the curriculum changing today? If theology was the queen of the disciplines long ago and then was replaced by Science, will information technologies replace Science? Next we'll move on to some of the philosophical traditions to add to the historical bones we've been filling with flesh. Don't worry if you are not familiar with all of this history. We'll all be filling in our blanks throughout the course through our discussions among ourselves. We are always learning and never will know it all. That keeps us humble.

For more on the history of information ethics and the contributions of many key scholars see:

The International Center for Information Ethics

Info679: Lecture 5-- Professional Practice, Ethics, and Law

Lecture 5-- Professional Practice, Ethics, and Law

There are many professional societies have codes or guidelines for ethical behavior of its members. While these codes inform member behavior, they are also important for presenting the values and goals of the group to the larger public. As you read the various codes, think of how they are understood by the insiders (professionals) and the public. One of the frequent criticisms of codes in the library and information science professions is that they lack any means of enforcement. Unlike the medical or legal professions, librarians, software designers, and information architects are not licensed or certified by the state. Think about what this means for the status and role of the profession and for the public image of the field. In what other ways do librarians and other information professionals seek to defend their value to society in the public arena and how do they engage as professionals in public policy advocacy?

See the various codes of interest:

American Library Association See The Office of Intellectual Freedom

Computer Science
See also ACM


Does SLA have a code of ethics? Why or why not?

Look at the groups of most interest to you to see if they have codes or other statements of ethical commitment.

Info679: Lecture 2--Information Ethics in History and Philosophy: The Past as Prologue

Lecture 2: Information Ethics in History and Philosophy-- The Past as Prologue

In this lecture I invite you to consider the historical and philosophical foundations of information ethics. In a previous lecture I covered some of the historical background. For much more, you may want to consult a good basic book such as The Control Revolution by James R. Beniger. For the philosophical background, you may want to consult the Encyclopedia of Philosophy noted below. Here I will present an outline of ideas and concepts for us to use throughout this term.

From the Hagerty Library Site:

"Welcome to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, or REP Online - your dynamic online resource for researching, teaching and studying in the philosophy arena and related disciplines.
·More than 2000 articles, from Aristotle to Nominalism and from Personal Identity to Zeno of Elea" Start with terms such as ethics, morals/morality, deontology, utilitarianism, analytic philosophy, I. Kant, norms/normative, duty, justice, John Rawls (theory of justice), applied ethics, social ethics, social responsibility.

Of particular interest may be resources in both the history of philosophy of information and the history and philosophy of technology. For most of our work, we'll focus on the practical dimensions of philosophy as it bears on information ethics. From Spinello and Tavani, read J. Moor, "Just consequentialism and computing." Here I'll address the background needed to understand this article.

Moor seeks a unifying theory of ethics to apply to information, computing, and technology in current reflection and for decision and policy making. He calls his unifying theory "just consequentialism."

Moor--Consequentialism Constrained by Justice
Here Moor combines the two major traditions of ethical reflection-- utilitarianism and deontology.

Moor--The Good as the Enemy of the Just
Look for the conflict between the Good and the Just. How is this illustrate in controversies today? Take, for example, the tensions between those who produce music and those who download it.

Moor--Computing in Uncharted Waters
In this part of the discussion, Moor talkes about how ever new technologies present more and more challenges to our ethical analysis and our decision-making. See if you can find out who talks about ethics as "tentative ethics."

Also by James Moor-- What is Computer Ethics? 1985
Note this early article. The first mention of Information Ethics in articles came in 1988 ande 1989.

Also see Gert, Common Morality and Computing (in Spinello and Tavani)
Of importance here is an important distinction between morality and ethics.
We'll use morality to mean the ideas and practices that shape the everyday behavior
of ordinary people even when they are not reflecting on their actions. Ethics even
applied ethics, will be used to refer to intellectual reflection on morality, individual behavior,
practices and their justfications, and public policy. Note that Capurro and many others use this distinction.

INFO679: Lecture 1-- Information Ethics in the News--Nature, Humanity, and Technology

INFO679: Information Ethics
Lecture 1: Information Ethics in the News

Welcome to Information Ethics. We'll start our course by exploring some of the hot information ethics issues in the news today and consider some of the thinking tools that we'll be using throughout the term.

  • My approach to the field is very descriptive rather than normative. That means that first we will learn about what is happening in the real world and how different people, organizations, and governments are responding to the issues. Later on we'll consider the normative side of applied ethics. The normative side seeks to define the rules and practices that are the most morally justified. You may want to consults the basic online philosophy sources from the Hagerty Library ( when you need to understand the terminology. The plus, of course, is that you will be using online, digital reference sources.


One resources is the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online. From the intro:
"Welcome to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, or REP Online - your dynamic online resource for researching, teaching and studying in the philosophy arena and related disciplines.
·More than 2000 articles, from Aristotle to Nominalism and from Personal Identity to Zeno of Elea·Over 100 new articles added since launch of REP Online in 2000·October 2005"
Now A Few Hot Topics: (Look in your local newspapers and magazines for articles in these areas.)

  • Intellectual Property Rights vs. Intellectual Freedom
  • Privacy: Personal and Public Implications
  • Information Use for National Security
  • The Global Digital Divide
  • Regulating the Internet--Filtering and More
  • The Uses of Information for Genetics
  • The Open Source Movement

******See below a list of the concepts I'll be using throughout the term. I've noted where you will find the sources of these concepts and terms.*****

Terminology and Concepts

  • Balancing Three Dimensions: Nature, Humanity, and Technology (See Capurro, Information Technology and Technologies of the Self
  • Major Themes in Information Ethics: Access, Ownership, Privacy, Security, and Community (Smith, 1992)
  • The Ethical Self (Smith, 1992)
  • The Ethical Professional (Smith, 1992)
  • The Global Information Environment (Smith, 1992)
  • Global Information Justice (Smith, 200?)


The Tradition of Librarianship as They Inform Information Ethics

  • Access
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Freedom to Read
  • Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Service
  • Balanced Collections
  • Professional Neutrality
  • Respect for All (including employees)

    This introductory lecture is about some of the thinking tools that will benefit you in this course. There will be more detail as we move along.