Ethics and Wikis

Citizens protesting/invading the Stasi buildin...

Image via Wikipedia

I would like to say I’ve managed to conquer that back log of stuff-to-do-asap but atlas no such things can be said. I finally buckled down and made my end-of-the-semester big to do list. I try to make it one month before the end of all my class obligations. This semester it’s December 10, when I’ll hand in my final project for Digital Libraries. Don’t even get me started on the fact that there’s one month left in the semester, ohmgee where does the time go?

This weekend I did manage to make a dent in the back log, I turned in three papers and completed a quiz. I even managed to squeeze in some time to do some more shopping for professional wear. I stocked up on some awesome cardigans, I love cardigans.

Back to the topic of this post, in Archives we talked about Ethics this week. Our paper was on Ethics. We had different articles assigned to us and we had to react to them. Mines was on the Stasi files from the fall of the German Communist Government. It was interesting to think that they decided it was in the best interest of the country to open the archives to the point where people could find out who had reported them. One of my main issues was that the article kind of glossed over the real effects this had on the country. It mentions there were some divorces and some suicides but you know that’s nothing. It might not have been mass chaos and mayhem but I’m sure it wasn’t all peachy keen.

In class we were grouped together and shared our articles to the class. One group had an article about negatives of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in a California Library. It was originally supposed to be stored there by a woman who convinced the Israeli government to trust her to keep a back-up copy safe. Because the Israeli government was keeping the Dead Sea Scrolls under lock and key and limiting the access when they were found by a new director of the library he decided to share them and put them up for open access. A lot of people in the class thought it was wrong of the Israeli government to even think of limiting the access, however I thought it was wrong of the director to open them up like that. It wasn’t his place to decide what to do with them like that, in any event if the lady or descendent of the lady wasn’t around they should have contacted someone over in Israel to decided what to do with them. The original purpose was to be stored not to be open for access. Information Freedom or Right to Information is a very new thought (dare I say even a very Western thought), it’s not shared every where.

What right do we have to any information? I mean yeah I think Israel was being rather stingy keeping the information to themselves, but I’m not about to start shouting I have the right to see them, because I don’t. I didn’t find them, I don’t know who wrote them, my life ultimately will go on without seeing them. Yeah I really want to see them. But it’s really more of a courtesy then a right. I’m grateful that I live in a country where I can claim Intellectual Freedom and the Rights to Information. But I’m not naive to think it translates to other cultures and countries. As I joked with my friend try going to China and shouting about Intellectual Freedom and let me know how that works for you.

And just so this isn’t a long block of text here is a screencap of my wiki I turned in this weekend.


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