Sunday, March 13, 2005

Ethics and blogging

In the past few months, there has been a very healthy discussion going on about the professional ethics of blogging, including the ethics of blogging by librarians.

A number of writers have tried to come up with rules, usually in the form of lists of commandments.

For an example, Michael Stephens on Tame the Web suggested Ten things a blogging librarian must do (an exercise in common sense). Among his suggestions are: cite your sources, keep your blog active, read other blogs fcor inspiration, do not insult others...

This was followed up a few months later by The Library Blogger's Personal Protocols. These include such things as: respect your organization, don't reveal secrets, blog anonymously or blog proudly.

Over at the Free Range Librarian, Karen Schenider has been posting regularly on the subject: check out her blog section on ethics. It includes a number of thoughtful pieces written in December 2004. Her reflections on the matter started with this comment:

"Too many of us want to be considered serious citizen-journalists, when it suits us, but fall back on 'hey, it's only a blog' when we'd rather post first and fact-check later, present commentary as 'news,' or otherwise fall short of the guidelines of the real profession of journalism (...) We are the standard-bearers for accurate, unbiased information. Blogs filled with typos, half-baked 'facts,' misrepresentations, copyright violations, and other egregious and unprofessional problems do not represent us well to the world".

There is also a proposed Code of Blogging Ethics (described at the end of the PDF document).

For a more academic take on the whole topic, earlier this winter the Law School and Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the American Library Association hosted a Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference. The preliminary conference report concluded:

"There are no clear answers about how credibility is won, lost, or retained – for mainstream media or bloggers. It's impossible and undesirable for anybody to set 'ethical standards' for bloggers, but is clear that certain principles will make one more likely to achieve high credibility".

Finally, some have been pushing a "Blogger's code of ethics" derived from that of the American Society of Professional Journalists.The principles can be summarized into 3 broad categories: be honest and fair, minimize harm and be accountable.


Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:01 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home