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Tefko Saracevic 1 Ethics for information professionals Ethics for searchers Ethical concerns connect them

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Presentation on theme: "Tefko Saracevic 1 Ethics for information professionals Ethics for searchers Ethical concerns connect them"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tefko Saracevic 1 Ethics for information professionals Ethics for searchers Ethical concerns connect them /

2 Central ideas Information professionals should, indeed must, perform their services ethically Searching is particularly sensitive to ethical behavior –it involves close connections to & even confidences of users Tefko Saracevic2

3 Table of Content 1.Information organizations: Professional ethics 2.Searchers’ ethics 3.Strategic & competitive intelligence (SCI) – ethical concerns ©© Tefko Saracevic3

4 1. Professional ethics Information-oriented organizations ©© Tefko Saracevic4

5 5 Definition Єθοσ [ethos] –Greek word for custom or habit, the characteristic conduct of an individual human life. A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names Why is Ethics important? –Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a course of action. Sense of Life Objectives. The importance of philosophy

6 ©© Tefko Saracevic6 more … “Ethics is studying and talking about what is right and wrong, good and bad. It is also studying what makes something good or bad. This helps decide whether other things are good or bad. Understanding ethics can help people decide what to do when they have choices. Many philosophers think that doing anything or making any choice is a part of ethics.” Wikipedia P.S. if interested, for an in depth discussion immerse into Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

7 ©© Tefko Saracevic7 more … Computer ethics “Ethics is the field of study that is concerned with questions of value, that is, judgments about what human behaviour is "good" or "bad". Ethical judgments are no different in the area of computing from those in any other area. Computers raise problems of privacy, ownership, theft, and power, to name but a few.” Free online dictionary of philosophy

8 ©© Tefko Saracevic8 Professional ethics Professional ethics concerns one's conduct of behavior and practice when carrying out professional work Practically every professional organization has an official code of ethics –but for searchers and searching there is not a single official ethics code –search ethics is derived from other professional codes & practices

9 ©© Tefko Saracevic9 Codes of ethics: library & information associations Library & information science associations have a long standing concern with ethics – examples –IFLA Professional Code of Ethics for Librarians (list by country)IFLA Professional Code of Ethics for Librarians –USA: ALA – has a Code of Ethics with basic concern for intellectual freedomCode of Ethics –Association of Independent Information Professionals has a Code of Ethical Business PracticeCode of Ethical Business Practice –ASIST has Professional GuidelinesProfessional Guidelines –Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals has a brief Code of Ethics for CI ProfessionalsCode of Ethics for CI Professionals

10 ©© Tefko Saracevic10 Principles ALA ethics code We provide the highest level of service to all library users … We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources … We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality… We recognize and respect intellectual property rights … We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness and good faith … We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions … We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties … We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills …

11 ©© Tefko Saracevic11 Professional codes of ethics: other associations Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct American Psychological Association American Psychological Association Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. … Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility Psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work. … Principle C: Integrity Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. … Principle D: Justice Psychologists recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists. … Principle E: Respect for People's Rights and Dignity Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self- determination. …

12 ©© Tefko Saracevic12 Another example ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Association for Computing Machinery Association for Computing Machinery “This Code, consisting of 24 imperatives formulated as statements of personal responsibility, identifies the elements of such a commitment.” Among them: As an ACM member I will Contribute to society and human well-being. 1.2 Avoid harm to others. 1.3 Be honest and trustworthy. 1.7 Respect the privacy of others. 1.8 Honor confidentiality. 2.2 Acquire and maintain professional competence. 2.5 Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer systems and their impacts, including analysis of possible risks.

13 ©© Tefko Saracevic13 Applicability General principles from APA & ACM code can be transferred to searchers –instead of “psychologists” put in “searchers” –instead of “computing systems” put in “information systems and resources”

14 2. Ethical principles for searchers Guiding professional practice ©© Tefko Saracevic14

15 Old but still valid ©© Tefko Saracevic15 Shaver, D.B., Hewison, N.S., & Wykoff, L.W. (1985). Ethics for online intermediaries. Special Libraries, 76 (Fall),

16 General concerns No organizational professional code of ethics specific for searchers –but all general principles apply –with Web searching even more urgent Close connection with users - gatekeepers –involving possibly their confidence –raises urgency of adherence to ethical principles –anybody can claim to be a searcher – no license ©© Tefko Saracevic16

17 ©© Tefko Saracevic17 Some ethical concerns for searchers Searcher competence –evaluating level of service received Searcher expertise & search results –apprising user & user consent Searcher bias –tendency toward certain resources Search accuracy –or rather inaccuracy Privacy and confidentiality –what goes on in searching stays in searching Integrity –serving user as opposed to other interests

18 ©© Tefko Saracevic18 Guiding principle First do no harm

19 ©© Tefko Saracevic19 First do no harm! Your job is to provide information but not judge the uses to which it is put –exception: short of serious imminent threat to another person or society Your job is to appraise sources & provide information but NOT to give advice on subject matter –you can provide health information but you are NOT a doctor or psychiatrist to give medical or mental health advice –you can provide plumbing information but you are NOT a plumber [except in your own dwelling, possibly …] –you are NOT Dear Abby

20 ©© Tefko Saracevic20 First do no harm! more … You should know the authority, quality of information sources –not to provide wrong information –appraise user of possible quality problems You should be aware of user needs, context, limits –to avoid providing information that may be inappropriate & wrongly interpreted, used You should provide information to user, advise on sources & give informational guidance, but you should not do user's job

21 Shaver et al. Guidelines … ©© Tefko Saracevic21

22 3. Competitive intelligence (CI) – ethicalconcerns Gathering, analyzing & using information in organizations ©© Tefko Saracevic22

23 ©© Tefko Saracevic23 Systematic program for gathering and analyzing information about –competitors and their activities –environment - local, national, global –general trends in domains of interest to further organizational goals Essential for DECISION MAKING More on Strategic and Competitive Intelligence ProfessionalsStrategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals What is strategic & competitive intelligence?

24 ©© Tefko Saracevic24 Objectives Collect information –effectively, systematically, economically Analyze it –appropriately for given contexts, purposes Disseminate it –to defined users & through effective presentations & channels Use it –to make informed DECISIONS

25 25 Ethical concerns for competitive intelligence What goes on in practice of collecting information? –legal & illegal practices fairly well defined –but if it is legal is it also ethical? –increase in competition - incentive to cut corners Need to formulate & adhere to code of ethics –several are formulated as reviewed ©© Tefko Saracevic

26 26 Examples of unethical practices –camouflaged questioning –“drawing out” of competitors’ employees at meetings or encounters –direct observation under secret conditions –false job interviews of competitors’ employees –hiring a professional investigator for specific information –hiring employees away from competitors to get specific know-how ©© Tefko Saracevic

27 27 Examples of illegal practices –trespassing on competitor’s property –bribing competitor’s employee or supplier –“planting” your agent on competitors payroll –eavesdropping on competitor (e.g. wiretapping –theft of documents, drawings, samples –blackmail & extortion –arranging non-competitive practices among competitors ©© Tefko Saracevic

28 28 Summary Today searching involves an ever expanding range of sources, users & uses –it is also vitally important in organizations –it also involves searching for evaluative information, indication performance & impact dealing at times with life-important decisions –variety of pressures are extended Ethical issues must be watched Professional ethics must be followed ©© Tefko Saracevic

29 29 thank you! Life and times of Frida Kahlo

30 Presntation in Wordle Wordle ©© Tefko Saracevic30

31 Gracias ©© Tefko Saracevic31 Thank you Javier & for inviting me!


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