Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 5/code of ethics

The Abbott article was written more than 10 years ago, but I think that librarianship is a profession that has successfully evolved throughout time. Yes, we live in a time like no other in terms of rapid technological change, but like my classmate Mel said, she sees it as an opportunity for librarians to “beef up our skill sets.” And I think librarians do that every day. As a quick example, how many librarians had to learn or expand their tech skills with 2.0? How many are now blogging, running a library’s social network site, educating patrons on how to use downloadable books, music and video, etc. This profession has always demanded a certain level of continuing education.

And, like another poster said, I also love the fact that librarianship is such a collective work environment. I work with people from a myriad of backgrounds: former food scientist, retired CFO of a healthcare organization, former special education teacher, and others who have backgrounds in business, nursing, and information technology. I feel this collective experience makes the profession stronger. We are not simply specially trained book finders, but a valuable trained staff that has proven to be proficient in the rapidly changing technological environment in which we are partly, though strongly, based.

Frankly, I am more worried about the corporate takeover of library systems, which is becoming an unfortunate reality for some. Please see the Sept. 26, 2010 New York Times article, “Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Libraries” at:

I found the American Musicological Society’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct, a lengthy document that covers two main issues: I. Ethical Conduct in Research and Scholarship and II. Ethical Conduct in Publication and Other Presentations of Scholarly Work. It covers some of the areas that seem to be present in many codes of ethics, e.g. free access to resources, unbiased material selection, open access to all, etc. One differing area is in Part I., Section D: Ethical Use of the Work of Others, which covers in detail “Issues Arising from New Technological Developments.”

This section states, “Because of the vast number of uses to which computers and other forms of technology are now put, and because of the versatility of such technologies, new issues arise, including: the accessibility of unpublished material; the accessibility of material that may be disseminated purely for the purpose of spreading information and not necessarily with the expectation of credit for authorship; the accessibility of ideas expressed in what is intended to be personal communication; the ability to appropriate, easily and anonymously, large amounts of work done by others; nontraditional format and presentation, as well as content, of the work produced.”

This is the first I have seen where ideas expressed in “personal communication” are to be taken within the text of copyright law. Very interesting!

The section ends by strongly encouraging music librarians to be meticulous in their use of others’ work. “…the AMS recommends a conservative approach to the use of material gleaned from computerized and other electronic sources, always erring on the side of acknowledging the ideas of another author and, when quoting, seeking permission of the author or copyright holder if any doubt exists.”

You can view the document in its entirety at:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post, Diana! It seems that you are discovering/uncovering more and more situations and topics that really resonate with you as our readings and the semester goes on. Sometimes it is the most disturbing articles/news items/events that are the ones that ultimately inspire us into action. I'll be looking forward to see where you are headed next.