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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2017

Joacim Hansson

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to make a contribution to the theoretical understanding of documents and documentary agency in society through examples from a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to make a contribution to the theoretical understanding of documents and documentary agency in society through examples from a defined institutional and professional setting; and second, to create an understanding for the role of ethical codes in the process of defining and developing modern librarianship.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyses the role of documentation carrying content of professional ethics in the formulation of modern librarianship. This is done through a series of example documents of various kinds, such as founding charters, peer handbooks and ethical codes systematically analysed through the use of document theory and theory on institutional change.

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that documents pronouncing ethical self-regulation within librarianship play a primarily legitimising role in situations where new types of libraries emerge or when libraries adapt to social change. The study proposes legitimacy as a key aspect of documentality, thus supplementing the established understanding of the concept.

Originality/value

This study is the first to analyse the role of ethical codes in libraries using document theory. It brings new knowledge to the role of ethical self-regulation in librarianship over time and in different institutional contexts. In suggesting a developed definition of documentality, it contributes to the theoretical understanding of the role of documents and documentation in institutions and in society at large.

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

Gloria Bosomtwi Amoah and Eugene Baah Yeboah

The purpose of this paper is to examine the perspectives and viewpoints of professional staff of the Sam Jonah Library in as much as the ethical aspects of their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the perspectives and viewpoints of professional staff of the Sam Jonah Library in as much as the ethical aspects of their profession are concerned. The paper also seeks to determine the common ethical issues that confront these professionals and their default courses of action in dealing with these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The descriptive survey design was used as the research methodology with the population of the study being all professional (post-graduate diploma and above) and para-professional (certificate, diploma and first degree) staff of the library. Due to the small number of professional staff (43) in the library, the census sampling technique was used.

Findings

Results indicated the existence of ethical dilemmas in the working lives of these professionals with guidance for dealing with these dilemmas emanating mostly from consultation of senior colleagues. Although the findings showed that the Ghana Library Association (GLA) had an ethics handbook, it was revealed that majority of the staff were not aware of its existence. It was also discovered that one of the major challenges of these professionals is the absence of a specific library code of ethics handbook to guide staff in case they are confronted with these ethical dilemmas. The study recommends a strong awareness creation initiative from the GLA to bring to the notice of members, the existence of a formal code of ethics document.

Originality/value

The paper provides information on specific ethical issues confronting staff of the library and their current modes of dealing with the dilemmas they encounter.

Details

Library Management, vol. 40 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Book part
Publication date: 26 February 2016

Joachim Schöpfel

How do students comment on ethical principles, which principles are important for their awareness of librarianship, how do they understand the relevance of human rights…

Abstract

Purpose

How do students comment on ethical principles, which principles are important for their awareness of librarianship, how do they understand the relevance of human rights for their future work?

Methodology/approach

The case study presents the results of a lecture on information rights and ethics with 50 Master students in library and information sciences (LIS) at the University of Lille (France) in 2014–2015. Students were asked to comment on the core principles of the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) Code of Ethics.

Findings

The students see the library as a privileged space of access to information, where the librarian takes on the function of a guardian of this specific individual freedom—a highly political role and task. This opinion is part of a general commitment to open access and free flowing resources on Internet. They emphasize the social responsibility toward the society as a whole but most of all toward the individual patron as a real person, member of a cultural community, a social class or an ethnic group. With regard to Human Rights, the students interpret the IFLA Code mainly as a code of civil, political, and critical responsibility to endorse the universal right of freedom of expression. They see a major conflict between ethics and policy. The findings are followed by some recommendations for further development of LIS education, including internship, transversality, focus on conflicts and the students’ cognitive dissonance and teaching of social skills, in terms of work-based solidarity and collective choices.

Originality/value

The chapter is qualitative research based on empirical data from a French LIS Master program.

Details

Perspectives on Libraries as Institutions of Human Rights and Social Justice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-057-2

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

James H. Walther

This paper aims to examine the teaching of library graduate students in an introductory course on the foundations of librarianship. To examine the specific skill of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the teaching of library graduate students in an introductory course on the foundations of librarianship. To examine the specific skill of developing an ethical foundation in their future profession of librarianship, an examination is offered here using a multiple-step teaching strategy, introducing specific instructional materials, including a model of assessing ethics and a proposed integration of research skills with problem-based learning (PBL) as the suggested teaching delivery. As the experience proved to provide positive outcomes for student learning, the paper provides not only this operational examination but also the theoretical justification for further adaptation and usage of PBL as a teaching method in library and information science (LIS) education. Described are details LIS faculty should consider in implementing the method in teaching, especially on the topic of professional ethics.

Methodology/approach

This research project focused on exploring a new way of exploring the teaching of ethical behaviors in the library profession by examining real-world examples of ethics in trade news sources. It was therefore determined that the best strategy was to design a teaching activity that assists students in learning two sets of skills: information-seeking behavior and developing ethical boundaries and standards that a librarian would use in professional practice.

Findings

The process is often taught in a linear manner, but in practice, ethical situations are found and expressed in non-linear ways. In practice, the profession is rife with ethics, non-rules, non-lists and no checklists upon how to behave. Ethical dilemmas are extemporaneous, and yet decisions regarding them can be made from the guidance of professional associations and combined with thoughtful analysis.

Originality/value

Redefining any pedagogical activity in graduate teaching is, at times, more herculean than it seems at the start, yet with distilling the process into workable steps with appropriate protocols, we can successfully teach ethics in new ways. More integration of PBL is hereby advocated throughout LIS curriculum in a variety of contexts.

Details

The Bottom Line, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0888-045X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1999

Janet R. Cottrell

Rapid advances in computer technology led computing and philosophy professionals in the late 1980s and early 1990s to examine, with considerable debate, whether new or…

Abstract

Rapid advances in computer technology led computing and philosophy professionals in the late 1980s and early 1990s to examine, with considerable debate, whether new or substantially different ethical dilemmas were being created as new technologies were deployed. In librarianship, however, the effort to keep up with the steady flow of new technologies may have worked against a systematic examination of new ethical issues. This article reviews the literature to examine whether new technologies have indeed created new ethical dilemmas in librarianship. Four possible areas of concern are identified (privacy and confidentiality, acquisitions and collection development, archiving and preservation, and deskilling and gender bias). The implications for the profession are discussed.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 May 2018

Karl Pettitt

Purpose – This chapter will utilize the apprenticeship model developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in their Preparation for the Professions…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter will utilize the apprenticeship model developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in their Preparation for the Professions series to study how American Library Association (ALA)-accredited Master of Library Science (MLS) programs could be reformed to better integrate the interests of educators with those of the practicing profession and the public they serve.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The Carnegie model uses three “apprenticeships” to distinguish the three areas professional education must address, labeled in this chapter as knowledge, practice, and identity. Each of these three areas is explored as it relates to the education of librarians, with an emphasis on what constitutes the general knowledge, skills, and identity of librarianship. Examples of how these three components could be integrated into an MLS program are given.

Findings – Current ALA-accredited MLS programs differ widely on the number and content of required courses. Applying the model developed in the other Carnegie studies to the field of library education yields a clearer vision for the professional education of librarians and to a reorienting of the educational experience students encounter in their MLS studies.

Originality/Value – Using examples from other professional education programs allows library educators to see the means by which a holistic education is achieved in other professions. The novelty of this approach is in the breakdown of the various components of a professional education program. The tripartite approach to professional education also provides a useful framework around which to build an MLS program.

Details

Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-884-8

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Nandini Dutta

The purpose of this paper is to identify a shared set of professional values relevant to the special library professionals of India. This paper deals only with the process…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify a shared set of professional values relevant to the special library professionals of India. This paper deals only with the process of compilation of a master list of relevant values which is a prerequisite for a survey to study preferences of values of the community of library professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

Review of literature, both Indian and international, and content analysis were undertaken to develop a set of common professional values relevant to the Indian special library professionals. Findings of empirical studies on core values and statements of core values of library associations provided the basis for identifying the values.

Findings

The final shortlisted 16 common core values relevant to the Indian special library professionals include: accountability, collaboration, confidentiality, copyright, cultural diversity, diversity of opinion, equality of access, information literacy, innovation, integrity, intellectual freedom, leadership, literacy, preservation of the record, professional neutrality and service. This master list of values has been derived from the merger of the lists of values derived from JOCLAI Code of Ethics and Koehler et al.’s list along with SLA’s statement of core values. This list can be also used with some modifications for study of preferences of core values of all sections of the Indian library professionals.

Originality/value

This paper is about an original initiative undertaken to develop a set of core values relevant to both the special library professionals and the Indian library professionals in general.

Details

Library Management, vol. 36 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2007

David McMenemy

To discuss whether in an age of misinformation on the Internet, calls for censorship, continuing ethnic and religious conflict throughout the world, librarians can be…

Abstract

Purpose

To discuss whether in an age of misinformation on the Internet, calls for censorship, continuing ethnic and religious conflict throughout the world, librarians can be ethically neutral in all service encounters with patrons.

Design/methodology/approach

As a review paper, it approaches the topic from a discussion of current trends in the profession vs the historical text in question.

Findings

That although Foskett posited theories that proposed a strengthening of the professional practice of librarianship, his ideas could be criticised in the modern era for placing ethical neutrality above responsibility to society, as suggested by Hauptman. Yet such criticism needs to be tempered with the notion that a profession must represent a set of values, and Foskett's call for the profession to embrace a philosophy of practice remains an important point for modern librarians.

Practical implication

As a review paper, the practical implications would be in the consideration of the content in the mind of practitioners facing potential ethical dilemmas.

Originality/value

The value of the paper is in the re‐examination of ethical debates that have been occurring in the library profession for the past 80 years.

Details

Library Review, vol. 56 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Cameron M. Pierson, Anne Goulding and Jennifer Campbell-Meier

The purpose of this paper is to review literature on librarian professional identity to develop a more integrated understanding of this topic.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review literature on librarian professional identity to develop a more integrated understanding of this topic.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature was retrieved and analysed with no date or geographic limit from nine databases on the subject of librarian professional identity. A combination of keywords and database specific controlled language was utilized to increase retrieval, as well as inspection of reference lists. Exclusion criteria were applied.

Findings

The review found 14 characteristics or themes relevant to librarian professional identity formation and development, understood as process over time. This process is in part defined by benchmark events, such as critical incidents, as well as highly personal aspects, such as perception of these incidents. This review also introduces an original conceptual model of librarian professional identity formation and development.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this review was that only English-language literature was considered. A further limitation is the omission of works that have not been formally published. Additionally, the model introduced is untested.

Originality/value

By reviewing librarian professional identity literature, this paper offers an integrated understanding of this topic and introduces a new, original model to understand the process of librarian professional identity and development. It further offers an examination based on a sociological lens to examine this identity.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. 68 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 30 July 2001

Abstract

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-002-9

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