This seems to be the week for discussing ethics, we spoke about them too in my archives’ class. That professor used a phrase that I hadn’t heard before connecting with ethics, but makes a lot of sense, risk management. Ethics are about defining the expectations and risks that we’ll take in our chosen professions and one of the fascinating things about being in a library school is seeing just how diverse those risks are. So a librarian or an archivist is worried about privacy as is a school librarian. Yet a school librarian also is concerned about the mental and physical safety of the young people who are their charges, which is not really looked at in any depth in the ALA Library Code. So the challenge is to understand how to educate and protect without protecting too much since there’s always the risk that if you shelter someone so much than they won’t learn yet if you don’t pay attention, things like bullying happen. I think one of the real ideas that came through the lecture is how much schools are rushing to keep up with all the changes happening in the world of social networking and just trying to understand what students are doing online. As we read through the agreement for using the technology in the school, I kept thinking about how do students perceive these documents when they’re old enough to read them, is it just a thing to use the computer or more.

Another issue that arose in both classes was copyright, but taken from two very different angles. The archivist wonders about what they can publish while the school librarian tries to protect student’s copyright and also make sure that things from online are respected. Before these classes, I hadn’t really made the obvious connection that copyright is literally the right to publish or reproduce something. I knew it but talking about it in depth was quite enlightening especially as I realized how over time, its been extended and strengthened. One of the ideas about copyright that struck me was that the idea was to make it easy to share ideas, but that’s much harder than it seems. I think its a bit like collaboration, everyone agrees, yes, ideas should be accessible and usable by everyone, but in theory everyone wants their cut of the pie. In terms of students, I think that this importance of ownership does get forgotten sometimes, because schools want to show off their students’ work. Now this makes a lot of sense, but its also key to teach students that this is your work and you can claim it, it might not have a copyright symbol next to it, but its still yours. I was curious how copyright is taught and discussed in classrooms? Does it all revolve around the mighty citation or is there more to it especially when students are doing creative work?



Filed under school library management reflection

2 responses to “Ethics

  1. Kristin

    You raise a great question in your last two sentences. Truth? It is rarely taught unless a librarian pushes for it — and usually in terms of citation more than the greater issues of intellectual property, preserving what Harvey & Goudvis call tracks of their thinking, etc.. Certainly, the idea that our students own the copyright for their works is not discussed. But so important! Technically, this is not just a part of what we do but part of the ISTE NETS*S also.

    • It was something that I was wondering about, because creative content is so important and yet not really talked about. In the archives’ course there are really specific rules about the copyright on an unpublished manuscript that it made me wonder a lot about where student work falls. Since its usually ends up shared just how its published can end up in some unusual spaces.

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