CIRCA:Paul Sturgess' “Information Ethics in the Twenty First Century.”


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Sturgess, Paul. “Information Ethics in the Twenty First Century.” AARL 40.4(2009): 241-51.

Sturgess posits information ethics stems from ethics surrounding librarianship, though it overlaps into multiple other spheres. Among these are media and press ethics, computer and Internet ethical practices, and ethics of governance and business. Each of these sectors produces and/or abides by their own professional codes, manifestos, and charters, which are similar in content but not uniform. The profession of librarianship, for example, is defined variously in a handful of European countries, illustrating the influence of history and culture on professional ethical codes. The multivalence of information ethics exemplifies its recent entrance into academic discourse (from the mid 1970’s), rendering it sub-discipline status. Consequently, the literature on information ethics remains sparse and predominantly non-monographic. Historically, a great deal of ethical content has been taught or discussed under other related names, such as “Legal and Profession Issues.” Sturgess argues for a “philosophy of information” – work begun by Luciano Floridi and Rafael Capurro, for example – to raise this sub-discipline from its relative obscurity and generate lively, cross-disciplinary research and debate. Lastly, Sturgess depicts the practical applications of information ethics through his example of UNESCO and IFLA’s successful Internet Manifesto Workshops in Latin America - partnering with health services and non-profit organizations to raise HIV/AIDS virus awareness.
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