If you’re like me, you’re a librarian in part because you have a passion for the right to information, and by information I mean truth rather than lies. One of the books that originally kindled that passion for me in terms of its social meaning was Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies, … Read more The 2008 Falsies Awards
Category: Information Ethics
Just published: Information and Liberation: Writings on the Politics of Information and Librarianship Author: Shiraz Durrani Price: $45.00 (or £22.00) ISBN: 978-0-9802004-0-9 7″ by 10″ 385 Pages Printed on acid-free paper. Information and Liberation is a retrospective collection of Shiraz Durrani’s articles and conference papers on the politics of information. The book documents the struggle … Read more Shiraz Durrani anthology – Information and Liberation
ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy had its annual retreat this month. Barbara Fister, frequent poster to the ACRL blog and a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, presented a talk there called “Open Access and Books in a Digital World – What Role Should Libraries Play?” Her talk is an interesting exploration of … Read more Barbara Fister on Google and OA
President-elect Obama’s letter declaring intentions regarding the EPA, including EPA libraries: October 20, 2008 John Gage National President American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO 80 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Dear President Gage, I am writing to share my views with you regarding the importance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an Obama … Read more Obama’s letter on the EPA
It’s a new dawn in more ways than one. One of the things I hated most about the Bush administration, from a librarian’s point of view, was their ever increasing secrecy. Every year it seemed that more and more government information, information that people needed in order for democracy to function, was being hidden in … Read more Talk about government transparency and sunshine
The Ethics of Information Organization – Conference Announcement and Call for Papers May 22-23, 2009 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Information organization (IO), like other major functions of the information profession, faces many ethical challenges. In the IO literature, ethical concerns have been raised with regard to, for example, the role of national and international IO standards, … Read more The Ethics of Information Organization – Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
Minerva Research Initiative: Searching for the Truth or Denying the Iraqis the Rights to Know the Truth? by Saad Eskander, Iraq National Library and Archives “What has prompted me to write this paper is the continuing refusal of the U.S. to pay serious attention to Iraqi calls for the repatriation of the Iraqi records illegally … Read more The Minerva Controversy (Saad Eskander, Iraq National Library)
For many years Byron Anderson has been producing a bibliography of tools for helping librarians attend to the alternative press. The new edition of his guide is out: Bibliographic and Web Tools for Alternative Media. Updates of this bibliography are regularly published in Counterpoise and posted to the web on the Alternative Media Task Force … Read more Bibliographic and Web Tools for Alternative Media
Simson Garfinkel has an article in the new issue of MIT’s Technology Review about Wikipedia, arguing that it is creating troubling implications for the way we view reality: Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth: Why the online encyclopedia’s epistemology should worry those who care about traditional notions of accuracy. In a sense this article is … Read more Wikipedia and what we mean by truth
Over time, Radical Reference moved from being simply an experimental virtual reference service for political radicals to being an activist organization sharing the same space as PLG and SRRT, but offering a different flavor and a different set of political ideas. Its primary activity, however, remains what it was when the group was originally formed … Read more A question for Radical Reference
Amy Goodman and David Goodman (of Democracy Now) have an article in the current Mother Jones magazine about the great Windsor, Connecticut librarians’ defiance of the FBI and the PATRIOT Act and ultimate court victory for all of us on constitutional grounds.
We live in an era (no blame to Baby Boomers intended) when people in positions of authority are often uncomfortable being authority figures. With a keen memory of disliking authority in our youth, we are uneasy on the other side, surely the object of jokes and plots of circumvention by kids who love their youthful … Read more Reference librarians are authority figures with no jurisdiction
I’ve always been appalled by British libel law as long as I’ve known about it. Basically it puts a strong onus on defendants to prove that what they have said is true, rather than on the accuser to prove that it is false. The result is an excessive real-world limitation on freedom of speech for … Read more UN says British libel law violates human rights
Public Knowledge, the DC public interest group, has a very informative discussion of ACTA – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA is an international trade agreement now being worked out behind closed doors, outside of the relatively open framework of the the World Intellectual Property Organization. It is a so-called “executive agreement,” rather than a treaty, … Read more ACTA – Policy laundering IP
Jon Wiener has an editorial in Friday’s Los Angeles Times: “Pillaging Iraqi history: Shortly after Baghdad fell in 2003, the Baath Party archives were shipped to the U.S. It’s time to return them.” The editorial is a very informative summary of this important issue.
Interpreting the Digital Human (video in Realplayer format) This is a video of a presentation by Rafael Capurro, head of the Interntational Center of Information Ethics. Capurro was the Senior Information Ethics Fellow in 2007-08 at Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR) at the School of Information Studies at UW Milwaukee. This video is of … Read more Rafael Capurro: Interpreting the Digital Human (video)
Noting an article of interest: “Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship” Science 18 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5887, pp. 395 – 399 DOI: 10.1126/science.1150473 James Evans finds that scholars’ access to online journals tends to reduce the breadth of the citations to other articles in their work; that is, articles outside … Read more Electronic journal access found to reduce breadth of citations
A favorite debate of pessimistic sophomores, or perhaps sophomoric pessimists, is as to whether our society and its future is more like George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It’s such a common juxtaposition and so simple to talk about it that I bring it up at the risk of terribly oversimplifying things. … Read more Intellectual Freedom advocacy in a Huxleyan world
If you’d like to purchase Questioning Library Neutrality for your library but need to supply a review from a mainstream source in order to justify it, the answer is here. In the July issue of Library Journal there is a nice review of the book that should do the trick.
In my view, one of the most important documents and position statements that ALA has produced in the last few years was its June 2007 report, “Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries: Strategies and Actions.” This was produced by a subcommittee of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, now dissolved, called the Subcommittee on the Impact of Media … Read more ALA IFC’s Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries, and ALA’s grey literature in general