Do RFIDs provide new ethical dilemmas for librarians and information professionals?

Depuis ce 11 mars 2011 est disponible en ligne un nouvel article sur les implications d’ordre éthique de la technologie RFID pour les bibliothèques et les professionnels de l’information. Cet article sous presse est à paraître dans le International Journal of Information Management (ISSN 0268-4012).

Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of the current and potential ethical implications of RFID technology for the library and information professions. These issues are analysed as a series of ethical dilemmas, or hard-to-resolve competing ethical obligations, which the librarian has in relationship to information objects, library users and the wider social and political environment or state. A process model of the library is used as a framework for the discussion to illustrate the relationship between the different participants in the library system and it is argued that ethical analysis should involve the identification of future developments as well as current issues. The analysis shows that RFIDs do currently pose some dilemmas for librarians in terms of the conflicts between efficient service, privacy of users and an obligation to protect the safety of society as a whole, and that these are likely to become more problematic as the technology develops. This paper is part 2 of a series of papers on RFIDs and the library and information professions.

Research highlights

  • Examination of existing and potential benefits and threats of RFID technology.
  • Development of ethical framework to examine these issues for the profession.
  • Discussion of competing moral obligations of library and information professionals to information objects, library users and the state and how particular contexts and new technologies, such as RFIDs, may alter these.
  • Discussion of role of codes of ethics and management practices in resolving these dilemmas and developing best practice.

Keywords

RFIDs ; Information ethics ; Library management ; Privacy

Article :
Thornley,C., et al. Do RFIDs (radio frequency identifier devices) provide new ethical dilemmas for
librarians and information professionals? International Journal of Information Management (2011), doi:10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2011.02.006

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