Library Ethics in the 21st Century

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Opening keynote for the LIANZA 2015 conference from Sarah Houghton, covering the ethics of the library profession (with a focus on New Zealand).

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Library Ethics in the 21st Century

  1. 1. Library Ethics in the 21st Century Sarah Houghton - @TheLiB LibrarianInBlack.net Director, San Rafael Public Library
  2. 2. • Lack of confidentiality • Lack of basic human respect • Information blockades • Exclusivity What went wrong?
  3. 3. • Confidentiality • Respect • Freedom of information • Inclusivity What libraries do right
  4. 4. LIANZA ethics LIANZA Statement on Access to Information LIANZA Statement on Intellectual Freedom LIANZA Code of Practice: Code of Professional Conduct LIANZA Statement on Confidentiality of Library Records
  5. 5. Confidentiality
  6. 6. Any information about identified clients and their individual interests obtained by librarians in the course of their professional duties is privileged and should not be used for any purpose other than that for which it was obtained without the express permission of those clients or unless required by law.This obligation continues after the relationship ceases. (Code of Practice: Code of Professional Conduct)
  7. 7. IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment and Library Digital Privacy Pledge
  8. 8. [M]embers of our society have a right to privacy and to protection from misuse and exploitation of information. (Statement on Access to Information)
  9. 9. Library User Library
  10. 10. Privacy? Cool story bro.
  11. 11. All library records relating to individuals shall be confidential and shall not be revealed to any person except in accordance with the above; or in accordance with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982 where the library holding that information is subject to that Act; or in any other case where the information is required pursuant to a subpoena or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction. (Statement on Confidentiality of Library Records)
  12. 12. Government Surveillance
  13. 13. Corporate Surveillance
  14. 14. http://figshare.com/articles/Results_of_2015_Amnesty_International_Yougov_poll_on_government_mass_surveillance/1339031
  15. 15. http://figshare.com/articles/Results_of_2015_Amnesty_International_Yougov_poll_on_government_mass_surveillance/1339031
  16. 16. Respect
  17. 17. A basic right of citizens in a democratic society is access to information on matters which affect their lives. (Statement on Access to Information)
  18. 18. Librarians without first disclosing their interest should not profit from their positions save by normal remuneration nor should they have any financial interest in goods or services recommended or supplied without first disclosing that interest. (Code of Practice: Code of Professional Conduct)
  19. 19. Freedom of Information
  20. 20. Librarians have a primary duty to their clients and to society: (a) to assist in the collection, preservation and availability of recorded and transmitted knowledge and ideas. (b) to facilitate the flow of information and ideas. (Code of Practice: Code of Professional Conduct)
  21. 21. Most library vendors lease digital content. Few sell digital content outright. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE! Licensing vs. Owning
  22. 22. Overdrive’s marketing materials & sales staff use words like buy, purchase, and sale. Overdrive’s contracts use words like license and subscribe. Kansas says $%*& The Overdrive Case
  23. 23. Does your library get access to the entire catalog of materials? Do certain publishers limit terms of access? Can content be removed? What publishers and authors are not included? Collection Access
  24. 24. eBooks and the Big 6 Source:The Big 6 - eBooks in Libraries Facebook page
  25. 25. 0 20 40 60 80 You Your Library
  26. 26. Digital Rights Management Corporate Terms of Service Copyright Law
  27. 27. Doctorow’s First Law Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you a key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.
  28. 28. In the service of clients or in the selection of materials, librarians should not discriminate on any grounds whatsoever. (Code of Practice: Code of Professional Conduct)
  29. 29. No information resources should be excluded from libraries because of the opinions they express; nor because of who the author is; nor on the grounds of the political, social, moral or other views of their author. No library materials should be censored, restricted, removed from libraries, or have access denied to them because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or pressure.This includes access to web-based information resources. (Statement on Intellectual Freedom)
  30. 30. Librarians should resist all attempts at censorship, except where that censorship is required by law. Librarians are free to request, and to lobby for, the repeal of laws, which compromise the principles set out in this statement. (Statement on Intellectual Freedom)
  31. 31. Inclusivity
  32. 32. Information providers should demonstrate a commitment to responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi. Staff providing information should be familiar with basic protocol and tikanga and have some understanding of te reo Māori. (Statement on Access to Information)
  33. 33. Government agencies – national and local, Parliament, State Departments, public corporations, and other authorities – have a duty to make reports and other documents widely available for consideration by all citizens free of charge. (Statement on Access to Information)
  34. 34. Funders of information providers should provide adequate financial support to ensure that the special needs of disabled people, when accessing information, are met. (Statement on Access to Information)
  35. 35. Some vendors have not made their digital content, or the platforms that you use to access them, truly accessible. That’s a violation of disability access laws for most schools and libraries. Accessibility
  36. 36. What can you do? 8 things!
  37. 37. 1. Read and re- negotiate all of your digital licensing contracts. California Digital Library Model Licenses
  38. 38. 2. Talk to digital content vendors at conferences.
  39. 39. 3. Speak out against censorship.
  40. 40. 4. Speak out against surveillance.
  41. 41. 5. Speak out against the locking down of information (DRM).
  42. 42. 6. Work with your library to ensure user privacy is protected in all ways possible.
  43. 43. 7. Advocate for copyright reform.
  44. 44. 8. Talk to your colleagues about core library ethics regularly.
  45. 45. UnionLibrarian
  46. 46. +Sarah Houghton
 librarianinblack@gmail.com
 @TheLiB

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