Welcome to IDLE

Our renamed and relaunched Masters module Information and Data, Law and Ethics (IDLE) begins next week, and runs through the spring term.

The legal and ethical dimensions of library and information science have always been an important feature of the LIS courses at City, but have gained a new dimension and new significance with the move to a digital information environment, with new concerns over issues such as big data (and its potential misuse), artificial intelligence (and algorithmic bias), and social media (and disinformation and dangers for democracy). This module has been completely restructured to allow consideration of these new issues, alongside some long-standing concerns, such as privacy, the ethics of the information professional, and how to create an ethical information society.

The main sessions on the module, aside from introduction and conclusions cover: Making ethical decisions; Data, data, data; Information (and data) wants to be free; I want to be alone [privacy issues]; Ethical information provision; Our robot overloads [AI and robotics]; Keeping it legal; An ethical information society. Each of these covers a wide area, so a range of resources will be provided, to cover topics beyond those dealt with in class, and to encourage students to follow up areas of interest. We will try to strike a balance between theoretical/conceptual material, and issues of direct relevance to the practicing information professional, though the two are often intertwined. As a theoretical backdrop, we will make extensive use of Luciano Floridi’s information ethics.

Our guest speakers include:
• Prof. Jane Singer (City University, Department of Journalism)
• Dr. Emma White (City’s Head of Information Governance and the university’s Data Protection Officer)
• Carol Tullo OBE (formerly Director of Information Policy and Services at the National Archives and Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, and now a consultant on information and data policies)
• Prof. Claire de Than (Co-director of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University)
• Dr David McMenemy (Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde)
• Dr Niccolò Tempini (Senior Lecturer in Data Studies, University of Exeter, and Fellow at the Turing Institute)
• Jacqui Gaul (Head of Library Services at Cass Business School)
• Stephen Penton (City University copyright librarian)

We are also inviting students taking this module to attend two related lectures:
• a session on copyright, given by Jane Secker (City University Learning Enhancement and Development), as part of a module on ‘Libraries and Publishing’
• a session on legal Information, given by Rob Hodgson (Librarian at City University Law School), as part of a module on ‘Information Resources and Documentation’.

The module schedule will be publicised, and we encourage CityLIS students not taking the module but has an interest in these issues to attend any of the sessions.

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