Library Trends 49 (3) Winter 2001: Ethical Issues of Information Technology


Library Trends 49 (3) Winter 2001: Ethical Issues of Information Technology. Edited by Robert G. Wengert.

In one of his fascinating books on effective ways to visually present information, Edward R. Tufte (1990) argues that designs that are densely packed with information do not always, as some claim, overwhelm the viewer or reader. This is because, as humans: We thrive in information-thick worlds because of our marvelous and everyday capacities to select, edit, single out, structure, highlight, group, pair, merge, harmonize, synthesize, focus, organize, condense, reduce, boil down, choose, categorize, catalog, classify, refine, abstract, scan, look into, idealize, isolate, discriminate, distinguish, screen, sort, pick over, group, pigeonhole, integrate, blend, average, filter, lump, skip, smooth, chunk, inspect, approximate, cluster, aggregate, outline, summarize, itemize, review, dip into, flip through, browse, glance into, leaf through, skim, list, glean, synopsize, winnow wheat from chaff, and separate the sheep from the goats. (p. 50) The list sounds like a day in the life of a librarian. Tufte’s exhausting litany reminds us of the rich variety of activities that the public expects library and information professionals to help it with. These are centrally important activities in all human lives, and the fact that library and information professionals are expected to be experts over the entire range of these leads to many of the ethical concerns that the profession is presently facing. This issue of Library Trends addresses a few of these concerns.

Library Trends (ISSN 0024-2594) is an essential tool for librarians and educators alike. Each issue thoroughly explores a current topic of interest in professional librarianship and includes practical applications, thorough analyses, and literature reviews. The journal is published quarterly for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science by The Johns Hopkins University Press. For subscription information, call 800-548-1784 (410-516-6987 outside the U.S. and Canada), email jlorder [at], or visit

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