Ethical Aspects of Library and Information Science

Publication Title

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences

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ethics, information ethics, professional ethics, ethical dilemmas, ethical conflicts, ethical guidelines, codes of ethics


Ethics and Political Philosophy | Library and Information Science


This entry discusses many of the ethical considerations in the library and information science professions: collection development, censorship, privacy, reference services, copyright, administrative concerns, information access, technology-related issues, and problems with conflicting loyalties. It surveys the factors that affect ethical deliberations in the information professions: social utility, survival, social responsibility, and respect for individuality. It also looks at professional factors in ethical deliberations, such as professional codes of ethics, and the values that support ethical principles of professional conduct: truth, tolerance, individual liberty, justice and beauty. In the final section, it indicates the kinds of actions to promote ethical conduct at the organizational, professional and individual levels. As a final caveat, it indicates that ethical decisions require deliberation and reflection. While one can articulate values, factors, codes, and actions, they inform ethical reflection that must often confront and negotiate dilemmas and tensions.

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