Blog Post #2

Each of the four literacies: ethics, privacy, copyright, and licenses will have both a singular affect and an intertwined effect on my scholarship because they are interrelated.  What surprised me most was accepting that understanding these terms as they existed in the past or how they exist now are essential, but understanding when and how they should evolve is equally important. For example, when reading the article Big Data Ethics by Andrej Zwitter’s I was struck by how the concepts of privacy and ethics often had dependent relationships in the sphere of the digital space.  I appreciated Zwitter’s use of citing the enlightenment era ethicists Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mills as defining our individual moral framework alongside definitions of the ever changing qualities of Big Data to show the “both/and” scenario in which the individual moral framework continues to exist as defined, but also that a new dimension (the structure of interconnected data) will force us to reckon with extending that framework in meaningful ways. 

The ethical philosophy or rules or norms concerning human interaction need to stretch to include the digital space and should be frequently reassessed.  Caswell and Cifor in their article From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics the authors have attempted to do just that, adjust and expand the definitions of relationship between archivists and who/what/how they interact with in order to ensure the appropriate handling of sources, records, users, and communities.  Likewise, concerning privacy, I hadn’t considered how my research and scholarship could potentially encroach upon someone’s privacy. In From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics Caswell and Cifor highlight the potential ethical dilemma around including a suicide note that the author had expressly asked to keep private.  I hadn’t even considered that sort of ethical and privacy related conflict, and reading about the care and gentleness of approach and decision the author made to not include recording it was impactful upon me.

Understanding the differences between copyright and licenses will also assist in my understanding of what my legal limits are as a researcher and will directly affect what I choose to post. What surprised me about these was how they interacted with ethics and privacy. Whereas, broadly speaking, ethics and privacy are mutable to a degree (I’m not dismissing Prosser torts) when considering online presence, copyright and licenses are not.  That doesn’t mean they cannot be amended and changed over time, but rather that they are, in affect legal rights and contracts upheld by courts.

Now that I know the terms ethics, privacy, copyright, and license, I will consider how they interact with my topic, sources, methodology, and presentation of the material I seek to research and write on. I think of the four terms the most impactful to me was understanding falls under the framework of ethics from concept of “radical empathy” from Caswell and Cifor’s From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics.  I really appreciated the shift towards an ethics of caring and will be cognizant of it in the future.  

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