Saturday, April 16, 2005

Blog ethics for librarians

Is it just me or is Bloglines having a problem? I just couldn't login to my account to read my feeds. So I resorted to the encoded links on my blog (justifying my reason to leave them encoded, although it's only a small sample of what I subscribe)...

Went over to Joho the Blog and got redirected to Karen Schneider's (a.k.a Freerange Librarian) article in the Library Journal, about "The Ethical Blogger". Here's the outline of her article, including some points worth pondering:

#1 - Being a standard bearer
"Every blog produced by librarians, no matter how casual, represents librarianship to the world."

Well put. I was explaining to my colleagues that a "Liblogarian", i.e. "Library + Blog + Librarian", was not a blogger per se, but a librarian who blogs about library-related stuff (plus or minus some personal stuff). Not that I'm trying to compartmentalise anything. It's more of a gentle reminder to my colleagues who wish to blog as librarians (that is, if they accept my explanation).

#2 - Follow the codes
Karen suggests that librarians who blog should state any bias upfront. Also, she points out that "one of the most subtle but effective forms of fact-based bias is to link only to the sources with which you agree, not to sources with which you disagree." Well, yeah I take her point although I think more often than not, we blog to prove a personal standpoint. Blog posts aren't really academic papers.

#3 - Cite it
Absoutely. That's the most basic principle. It's plain common courtesy to acknowledge where you obtained the information. Besides, if you've read the information from another blog, it's far better to include a link 'cos chances are the other blogger might trackback to your blog. And blogging is about connecting people and ideas.

# 4 - Admit mistakes
"If you do get it wrong, own up to it, with a revision to the post..."
Very sound advice. You improve your credibility by doing so.

And this paragraph from the beginning of her article is something that's been keeping me occupied recently:
"As I watch librarians blog, I hear warning bells in my head similar to the "filtering wars" of the 1990s, when librarians opened their libraries to Internet access without fully understanding this new technology. In some ways, the stakes are even higher, because we're creating highly visible, globally available content."
I wanted to write more on this but I'm mindful about rambling. So maybe some other time...

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  1. "mindful about rambling"?

    so should i apologize for being filipino?

    what could be more ethical than stating your bias in your blog's name? =)

  2. OK, point taken :)
    Though what I meant I should be mindful not to ramble longer than tolerated.


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