Saturday, October 02, 2010

Research Agenda for the History of Information Ethics---Research Agenda

Research Agenda for the History of Information Ethics

Now is the time to do the interviews and gather the letters, the papers, and the memories of the earliest years of information ethics.  Those of us who were there have time now to share the influences that lead us to envision the need for scholarly reflection on the emerging new technologies.  What influenced us?  What were we reading?  How did our colleagues respond?  What were we teaching and writing about then?  How did our deans and directors react?  What about tenure?  Was our research accepted?  Encouraged?
Where shall we start? 
  • First, let's make sure we contact those who have been involved?
  • We should make sure we make a public list and plot the relationships among the people.  
  • We should not shy away from the conflicts and political dynamics, from the struggles about terminology and the historical "facts."   For example, I'd be glad to talk about my side of the story about the "information ethics" article on Wikipedia.  
  • Collect course syllabi and make sure we have bibliographies from the early days.
  • Use bibliometric tools to begin tracing patterns of influence.
  • Identify the various threads of literature.
  • Identify and examine the records of academic associations,  listservs, newsletters, meetings, informal collaborations, etc.
  •  Identify the influence of the Internet and its predecessors.
  •  Firsts?
  • Collect the formal and informal documents on the history of information ethics as a discipline and discussions of the relationships among the various other fields related to information ethics and information technology.  I'd suggest being expansive so that the roots of current research can be connected.  
  • On informal documents:  During the decades of focus, there are lots of information buried in PowerPoints.  We should search for these and make sure that they are available for use.  
  •  Finally for now, I encourage you to talk to your colleagues about finding a way to preserve our history.  We will probably want both a print and an electronic repository.   I have some print materials stored at a university library and would be glad to donate the remaining in the next few years as I move toward retirement from active scholarship.  Other than contributing to the history, I'm bringing my involvement to an end.  I look forward to seeing what happens.
  • Blog Post on October 2, 2010.  The Infoethicist on 

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