In 2006, the URI GSLIS Advisory Committee brainstormed issues that should be covered in a 21st-century MLIS program. Their recommendations have significant ethical implications:
What do all these things have in common? Some are of general interest to librarians and information professionals in all fields; others, like archival values, are more specialized.
The core values of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) are rooted in the ethics and best practices of professional education and of library and information service. Our Statement of Educational Outcomes echoes the ALA Core Competences: we put ethics first. A graduate from this program
Therefore, professional ethics are addressed throughout the curriculum, in core courses and in electives like LSC 515 (Information Ethics and Intellectual Freedom). Every student must demonstrate professional ethics in LSC 595 (Professional Field Experience) or LSC 596 (School Library Media Practicum and Seminar).
GSLIS students must also uphold academic ethics (see the URI Graduate Student Manual, especially Section 6.A.10, Academic Standards and Integrity). There is significant overlap between academic and professional ethics; for instance, as the ALA Code of Ethics states, librarians "recognize and respect intellectual property rights." GSLIS graduates will serve in colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and public libraries, where they will help others to understand and maintain academic ethics.
Both students and graduates will also engage in scientific and scholarly research, adding to the body of knowledge or testing received knowledge. Research in librarianship and information science (LIS) usually involves human subjects, and at URI it is subject to ethical review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
So what are ethics? GSLIS students are adults, and bring strongly developed personal ethics to their studies. Balancing personal and professional ethics in a rapidly developing information environment calls for ethical reasoning. This brief orientation begins with a definition and overview of ethics; introduces professional codes of ethics, academic ethics, and the responsible conduct of research with human subjects; and lists resources for further exploration. First, the overview.