ALA Member
Item Number
ALA Neal-Schuman
AP Categories

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

"Serving people well means understanding the implications of technological innovation and having the courage to speak up when patron interests are at risk of being exploited."

Read an interview with the authors now!

Foreword by Robert Hauptman

As discussions about the roles played by information in economic, political, and social arenas continue to evolve, the need for an intellectual primer on information ethics that also functions as a solid working casebook for LIS students and professionals has never been more urgent. This text, written by a stellar group of ethics scholars and contributors from around the globe, expertly fills that need. Organized into twelve chapters, making it ideal for use by instructors, this volume from editors Burgess and Knox

  • thoroughly covers principles and concepts in information ethics, as well as the history of ethics in the information professions;
  • examines human rights, information access, privacy, discourse, intellectual property, censorship, data and cybersecurity ethics, intercultural information ethics, and global digital citizenship and responsibility;
  • synthesizes the philosophical underpinnings of these key subjects with abundant primary source material to provide historical context along with timely and relevant case studies;
  • features contributions from John M. Budd, Paul T. Jaeger, Rachel Fischer, Margaret Zimmerman, Kathrine A. Henderson, Peter Darch, Michael Zimmer, and Masooda Bashir, among others; and
  • offers a special concluding chapter by Amelia Gibson that explores emerging issues in information ethics, including discussions ranging from the ethics of social media and social movements to AI decision making.

This important survey will be a key text for LIS students and an essential reference work for practitioners.

Foreword, by Robert Hauptman

1    Principles and Concepts in Information Ethics
John T. F. Burgess

2    Human Rights and Information Ethics
Paul T. Jaeger, Ursula Gorham, and Natalie Greene Taylor

3    History of Ethics in the Information Professions
John T. F. Burgess

4    Information Access
Emily J. M. Knox

5    Privacy
Michael Zimmer

6    Ethics of Discourse
John M. Budd

7    Intellectual Property Ethics
Kathrine Andrews Henderson

8    Data Ethics
Peter Darch

9    Cybersecurity Ethics
Jane Blanken-Webb, Imani Palmer, Roy H. Campbell, Nicholas C. Burbules, and Masooda Bashir

10    Cognitive Justice and Intercultural Communication Ethics
Rachel Fischer and Erin Klazar

11    Global Digital Citizenship
Margaret Zimmerman

12    Emerging Issues
Amelia Gibson

About the Editors and Contributors

John T. F. Burgess

John T. F. Burgess is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. Among the courses he teaches are Information Ethics for the LIS Profession and History and Effects of the Information Society. He is the author of numerous journal articles, is a peer reviewer for the International Review of Information Ethics, and is a member of ALISE's Ethics SIG. Before joining the faculty at University of Alabama, he was Virtual Reference Librarian at Troy University for ten years. Dr. Burgess holds a BS from Birmingham-Southern College, a master of theological studies from Westin Jesuit School of Theology, a master of sacred theology from Boston University, and an MLIS and PhD from the University of Alabama.

Emily J. M. Knox

Emily J. M. Knox is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received the 2023 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which recognizes the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom, for her book Foundations of Intellectual Freedom. Her book Book Banning in 21st Century America was published by Rowman and Littlefield and is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars Series. She is also the editor of Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context (Rowman and Littlefield) and is coeditor of Foundations of Information Ethics (ALA Neal-Schuman). Her articles have been published in Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Dr. Knox has served on the boards of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Freedom to Read Foundation, and the National Coalition Against Censorship. Her research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices. She is also a member of the Mapping Information Access research team. She received her PhD from the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. Her master’s degree in library and information science is from the iSchool at Illinois. She also holds a BA in religious studies from Smith College and an AM in the same field from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

"A unique quality of this edited collection is the range and diversity of its contributors. While most of the authors come from traditional schools or programs of LIS, the collection also represents the voices of information professionals from research analytics, ethics offices, IT, among other settings. Too, there is a balance between and among those who have been active in IE for many years with a younger constituency, those newly engaging with IE in their scholarship, research, and curricula. It is critical to represent such diversity for the future health of the field, as IE scholarship will continue to embrace different disciplinary, cultural, and generational perspectives ... The case studies are particularly useful, and could be easily employed in a class setting, or a workplace environment as a professional development activity. The majority of the chapters provide references to important figures in the domain, while some include highlights of primary source material relevant to the chapter. These elements make it useful for an introductory level ethics and information course, or an additional text in a foundations course in LIS."
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology

"The larger point is that libraries and other information professionals should not keep ethics work to themselves but share it and focus on broadening their general principles of equity, bias, and representation ... This book will be a valuable addition to library shelves."

"Situates the importance and complexity of information ethics in terms of the dichotomy of the good that can be accomplished with information versus the ways that it can be used to cause harm ... The chapters on privacy, intellectual property, data ethics, and cybersecurity will have broad appeal."