Freedom of access: ethical dilemmas for Internet librarians

Irina Trushina (Senior Researcher and Assistant Deputy Director on Research, National Library of Russia, St Petersburg, Russia)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Publication date: 1 October 2004


Libraries depend on ethical principles more than any other institution because library services are essentially human‐oriented. Most national ethical principles for librarians are represented as professional ethic codes. Each of them eventually consolidates the ideology, the paradigm of national library services. Comparative analysis of national library ethic codes indicates the intellectual freedom principle as the key point and the superior ethical value for library services. With Internet technologies implemented in library services, the principle acquires a new significance and grave problems. Recent information filtering capacities provide a radically new censorship level, including anonymous censorship, violation of user privacy in Internet communications. On the one hand, librarians must follow the intellectual freedom principle, on the other, libraries are humanistic institutions, and librarians have a moral responsibility to the patrons, adhering to the value of human life. This paper discusses these issues as they relate to the Internet as well as the correlation of professional codes and their implementation in library practices.



Trushina, I. (2004), "Freedom of access: ethical dilemmas for Internet librarians", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 416-421.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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