ATG Book of the Week: Foundations of Information Ethics

by | Dec 31, 2019 | 0 comments

Title: Foundations of Information Ethics
Editors: John T. F. Burgess & Emily J. M. Knox
Softcover: 978-0-8389-1722-0, $54.99
Imprint: Chicago: ALA, 2019

“As discussions about the roles played by information in economic, political, and social arenas continue to evolve, the need for an intellectual primer on information ethics that also functions as a solid working casebook for LIS students and professionals has never been more urgent. This text, written by a stellar group of ethics scholars and contributors from around the globe, expertly fills that need. Organized into twelve chapters, making it ideal for use by instructors, this volume from editors Burgess and Knox

  • thoroughly covers principles and concepts in information ethics, as well as the history of ethics in the information professions;
  • examines human rights, information access, privacy, discourse, intellectual property, censorship, data and cybersecurity ethics, intercultural information ethics, and global digital citizenship and responsibility;
  • synthesizes the philosophical underpinnings of these key subjects with abundant primary source material to provide historical context along with timely and relevant case studies;
  • features contributions from John M. Budd, Paul T. Jaeger, Rachel Fischer, Margaret Zimmerman, Kathrine A. Henderson, Peter Darch, Michael Zimmer, and Masooda Bashir, among others; and
  • offers a special concluding chapter by Amelia Gibson that explores emerging issues in information ethics, including discussions ranging from the ethics of social media and social movements to AI decision making.

This important survey will be a key text for LIS students and an essential reference work for practitioners.

Foreword by Robert Hauptman


“A unique quality of this edited collection is the range and diversity of its contributors. While most of the authors come from traditional schools or programs of LIS, the collection also represents the voices of information professionals from research analytics, ethics offices, IT, among other settings. Too, there is a balance between and among those who have been active in IE for many years with a younger constituency, those newly engaging with IE in their scholarship, research, and curricula. It is critical to represent such diversity for the future health of the field, as IE scholarship will continue to embrace different disciplinary, cultural, and generational perspectives … The case studies are particularly useful, and could be easily employed in a class setting, or a workplace environment as a professional development activity. The majority of the chapters provide references to important figures in the domain, while some include highlights of primary source material relevant to the chapter. These elements make it useful for an introductory level ethics and information course, or an additional text in a foundations course in LIS.”
 Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology

“The larger point is that libraries and other information professionals should not keep ethics work to themselves but share it and focus on broadening their general principles of equity, bias, and representation … This book will be a valuable addition to library shelves.”

“Situates the importance and complexity of information ethics in terms of the dichotomy of the good that can be accomplished with information versus the ways that it can be used to cause harm … The chapters on privacy, intellectual property, data ethics, and cybersecurity will have broad appeal.”
— Doody’s

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