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Ethical Considerations of Data Educational Series

Posted by on March 10th, 2022 Posted in: courses
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As librarians and researchers alike grapple with new technologies and methodologies for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data, they must also grapple with corresponding ethical issues. In order to assist librarians with these concerns, the National Center for Data Services developed a mini-course, Ethical Considerations of Data, that provides an intellectual grounding for the recognition, analysis, and resolution of ethical issues, including but not limited to ethical problems in data visualization, data sharing, and data collection. 

This mini-course focuses on issues that health sciences librarians may face, particularly regarding human subjects and patient data, but it will be generalizable to the larger library community. After completing the series, attendees will be able to identify major ethical frameworks, apply those frameworks to issues related to data management, sharing, and visualization, and explain ethical considerations for ongoing challenges faced in libraries, including those related to data collection and communication.

Mini-Course Sessions

Please register if you can commit to attending all 4 sessions. Attendees who complete all 4 sessions can claim 8 hours of MLA CE credit.

Each session will be held for two hours, starting at 1 PM ET, on the following dates:


Overview of Data Ethics and Ethical Frameworks (March 31, 2022)

Presenter: Nicole Contaxis

In the first session of Ethical Considerations of Data, students will be introduced to data ethics, key regulations related to data ethics, and several ethical frameworks and values to consider when approaching data ethics issues at their library. Case studies specific to libraries will be used to highlight the impact of data ethics issues on librarians and their work. 


Ethics and Data Collection (April 7, 2022)

Presenter: Genevieve Milliken

In the second session of Ethical Considerations of Data, students will learn about types of data collection in health and clinical settings, the ethical implications for which types of data are collected and why, and discuss several case studies related to clinical trials and rural health. Further, we will use breakout groups to consider the intersections of data collection, community, technology, consent, and data privacy. 


Ethical Data Communication (April 14, 2022)

Presenter: Fred LaPolla

In the third session of Ethical Considerations of Data, students will learn about different concerns around presenting data driven findings. Students will come away from the class able to discuss benefits and drawbacks of simplification of data for communication, as well as able to explain challenges in presenting ambiguity. Finally, they will be able to explain how design choices contain rhetorical decisions that are meant to sway the views of audiences.


Ethical Technology and Data Use in Libraries (April 21, 2022)

Presenter: Justin de la Cruz

In the fourth and final session of Ethical Considerations of Data, students will be introduced to issues concerning user data and automated systems in libraries. This will include examples about vendor agreements, learning analytics, and artificial intelligence. This session will also explore ways to work with data while keeping in mind the ethical considerations discussed in this class series.


You can register for the whole series here:


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