February 18, 2009

Ethics and Legal Responsibilties in Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:10 pm by mknight1130

Last night, the Oregon Special Libraries Association met over chocolate to discuss ethics. Several themes emerged from the discussion, including legal issues, confidentiality, and industry based expectations. We ran through some ethical scenarios and talked about what should be upheld by the Special Library’s Association (SLA).

My mind has been churning about this discussion, especially about how it pertains to blogging. I think blogging can seem very private and non-transparent in that opinions are transported over bits, instead of through face to face interaction. As many blogs tend to be public, I believe it is important to be aware of the ethical and legal implications in blogging.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a resource describing legal/ethical blogging issues, Legal Liability Issues at http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal. As an information source, EFF, a non-profit organization, has significant credibility. The EFF was designed to preserve freedom of speech and to advocate for consumer rights. The EFF website describes the legal ramifications of blogging in an accessible FAQ format. Complicated legalese is stated in plain English. It also clarifies implications when moderating the comments
on a blog.

Another way to look at blogging ethics, is through the journalist eyes. After all,a blog provides information in the public view. Journalists are major players in informing the public on various issues, regardless of medium. To make sure a blog is fair, thorough and honest, it is well worth visiting the Society of Professional Journalists at, http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. This code is translated into a blogging code of ethics by the Cyberjournalist.net at http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/000215.php.

After visiting the EFF and Society of Professional Journalists sites, I have a new appreciation about blogger responsibilities and the ethical implications in providing information. I can see that this information will continue to be beneficial as I develop my career as an information professional.

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