The Birth and the Death of the New World Information and Communications Order

The Birth and the Death of the New World Information and Communications Order

Raymond D. Maxwell
School of Library and Information Science, LSC-557
The Catholic University of America
June 23, 2013

Abstract
The New International Information Order (NIIO), also known as the New World Information and Communications Order (NWICO), was a short-lived UNESCO initiative that focused on global information policy. In this paper I will examine the origin and short life of this initiative within the UN bureaucracy. I will analyze how and why it came to be, and how it met its end. I will conclude with some thoughts on why such an organization is needed today, more than ever before, especially in light of new global technologies for storing, transmitting and distributing information.

Keywords: information policy, new information order, international conventions

Introduction

A passing reference in a Buckland article (Buckland, 1997) to the existence of the International Institute for Cooperation, an agency of the short-lived League of Nations, sparked my interest in exploring international institutions dedicated to global information policy. That, and a few Google searches later, led me to the New World Information Order, also known as the New World Information and Communications Order, another short-lived initiative, this time in UNESCO, the branch of the United Nations that deals with science, cultural exchange, and information policy, among other subjects.

This paper examines the origin and short life of this initiative within the UN bureaucracy and analyzes how and why it came to be, and how it met its end. It concludes with some speculative thoughts on why such an organization is needed today, more than ever before, especially in light of new technologies for storing, transmitting and distributing information.

First, a few words are in order about information policy and policy formulation in general. From Rubin’s textbook and Chancellor’s class notes we know that domestically, the federal government determines how information is created, acquired, disseminated, evaluated, and organized in a country through the creation of laws and regulations (Rubin, 2010 and Chancellor, 2013). Globally, international institutions make a similar determination regarding the range of issues governing information flow across national boundaries, subject to agreement by member states.

Of the several policy formulation models to be considered, Kingdon’s Multiple Streams model provides a robust explanation for how policy is formulated at the international, multilateral level (Cohen-Vogel and McLendon, 2009). Problem, policy and political streams interact and inter-twine. Policy choices seek issues, problems that exist seek decision-making points where they can insert themselves, solutions are on the lookout for problems for which they may provide an answer, and politicians are ever watchful for issues, projects, and programs that might propel or sustain their careers and positions (Cohen-Vogel & McLendon, 2009). Information policy formulation at the international level presents a unique example of multiple streams at work. And the idea of agenda change, prominent in Kingdon’s model, finds unparalleled expression in our discussion.

Historical Perspective

Two historic, geopolitical forces were set in motion as a result of the allied victory in World War Two: the Cold War between the US and her allies versus the Soviet Bloc; and the process of decolonization of Africa, Asia and Latin America by the European powers – simultaneously East versus West, and North versus South. In fact, although the U.S. and the then Soviet Union never actually went to war in a traditional sense (hence, the Cold War), they each fought proxy battles through their respective allies in decolonization struggles at several locations. The importance of information resources and methodologies at play in both these geopolitical conflict sets cannot be overstated, especially in an increasingly technology-oriented world where the wheels of economic development are lubricated, as it were, by the oil of information exchange.

Anthony Smith (1980), in his book, The Geopolitics of Information, wrote,

“The collecting, editing, and distribution of information is now a key element in all economies. It is not inaptly that the French have come to speak of the ‘informatisation’ of society; more and more governmental, economic and cultural processes have come to depend upon a set of companies, institutions and systems which make up the information sector and so the tension over the international flow of news has spread across a wide range of concerns which formerly were not conceived as part of this sector. Changing technology has brought more and more matters into the problem-strewn area of information policy, now subject to this further international wrangle (p. 16).”

It was in this environment that legal scholars, information experts, government officials and politicians came together, fresh from the victories of World War II, to create the United Nations and to adopt a UN General Assembly Resolution 59(1) declaring freedom of information to be “a fundamental human right” (Hajnal, 1983, p. 241). In 1948, the United Nations Conference on Freedom of Information held further debates on freedom of information and information policy subjects. In the same year, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of which states,

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article #19).

Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966 contained similar language to that of the Universal Declaration with respect to information policy, but, in addition, couched as a legally binding agreement among states party to the covenant and containing a provision for an international implementation mechanism (Raude-Wilson, 1986, pp. 116-117). The original Universal Declaration lacked both the legally binding condition and the implementation mechanism, and thus, lacked any true authority under international law (Raude-Wilson, p. 116).

Discussion

A series of conventions and declarations, put forward in 1952, in 1962, and in 1966 all cleared the path for a 1972 Soviet-sponsored UNESCO resolution calling for guiding principles on the use of satellite broadcasting for the free flow of information. But it was the Cold War, and the United States, although it didn’t have an absolute veto vote in UNESCO, cast the sole negative vote against the Soviet-sponsored resolution (Hajnal, 1983, p. 244). The resolution called for prior consent of the receiving nation before receipt of any informational signal. The official United States position was that the Soviet–sponsored resolution and corresponding insistence on host nation “prior approval” would result in “an abridgment of the universal right to receive and transmit information” (Hajnal, p. 244). But the Soviets saw it exclusively as a matter of national sovereignty.

In some respects the United States, even though voting against the resolution, took perhaps a more forward-leaning and progressive approach than the consensus position, stating that the resolution “does not put sufficient emphasis on the central importance of the free flow of information and ideas in the modern world” (Nordenstreng, 1980, p. 213). And on the issue of sovereignty, the U.S. delegation said “in actual practice the sovereignty of States and the unimpeded flow of information and ideas should complement rather than conflict with one another” (Nordenstreng, p. 213). But the die was cast, and the gulf between the two Cold War powers, even though more symbolic than actual, only continued to widen within the UNESCO framework.

The 19th session of the UNESCO General Conference in Nairobi (1976) occurred as a culmination of the Non-Aligned Symposium on Information in Tunis, the Ministerial Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in New Delhi, and the 5th Non-Aligned Summit in Colombo (Gunter, 1978, pp. 44-49, 122-23). All of the aforementioned non-aligned meetings focused on various aspects of mass media and information policy across member states. The Mass Media Declaration that resulted emphasized national sovereignty, noninterference, the growing inequality between developed and underdeveloped nations regarding the circulation of information, and the need to achieve a balance in information exchange (Nordenstreng, p. 213). In Nairobi, the United States told the non-aligned countries that it understood their feelings and aspirations and offered interested countries what Kroloff and Cohen referred to as a “Santa’s bag” of development assistance programs and projects, diverting those countries’ attention from the incorporation of mass media and information policy requests clarified in the Mass Media Declaration (Kroloff & Cohen, 1978, p. 31).

But the U.S. offer was just a subterfuge. In the background, the draft declaration on freedom of information prepared by an intergovernmental group of experts carried with it a draft amendment proposed by the Yugoslavians which equated Zionism with racism (Hajnal, p. 245). The U.S. found that equation unacceptable, and, along with programs and projects it offered, convinced enough delegations to postpone a vote on the actual declaration and instead, to defer the decision by referring it to a study group (Hajnal, p. 245), which postponed the vote until the next session in 1978.

Another contributing subplot in Nairobi was the growing gap between the African countries and the Arab and Asian countries (Kroloff & Cohen, p. 26). The Africans, led by then UNESCO Director General Amadou-Mathar M’Bow, from Senegal, were simultaneously upset over African/Arab conflicts in Western Sahara, Chad, and Ethiopia/Somalia, lured by United States offers of programs and projects mentioned above, and disappointed by Arab oil states’ broken promises of financial and developmental assistance. The Africans voted as a 40-member bloc to delay the vote in Nairobi (Stevenson, 1988, p. 44-45). The agenda was again shifted. Late in 1976, Director General M’Bow created the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems and appointed Irish jurist and legal scholar Sean MacBride as its chairman. One of several papers prepared in 1978 for the Commission, a draft by the Tunisian Secretary of State for Information, Mustapha Masmoudi, more or less coined the term “The New World Information Order.” In it, Masmoudi delineated political, legal and technico-financial imbalances requiring the creation of a new world order for information (Masmoudi, 1978. pp. 3-10).

Politically, Masmoudi listed the imbalance between two-way flow of information from the developed to the developing countries and vive-versa: he cited the information resource inequality resulting in an absolute monopoly of the news by five major transnational news agencies, all in the developed world; and he highlighted the vestiges of the former colonial system enshrined in the present-day information system through selective reporting (Masmoudi, 1978).

On the legal side, Masmoudi addressed individual and community rights, freedom of information and its corollary, freedom to inform, the right to access information, imbalances in copyrighting practices, and inequities in the distribution of broadcast spectrum and use of satellites and other telecommunications (Masmoudi, 1978).

Technically and financially, he drew attention to the inequities in telecommunications infrastructure, tariffs and taxing structures held over from the colonial era, transport and logistics imbalances and other regional distinctions that put the developing countries at a distinct disadvantage (Masmoudi, 1978). The focus of the New World Information Order came to be known as the “4 D’s,” democratization (just flows of information and just allocation telecommunications infrastructure), decolonization (cultural identity), demonopolization (regulation of multinational corporations), and development (national communication policy and journalism education) (Carlson, 2003).

UNESCO published MacBride’s final report in 1980, “Many Voices One World: Towards a New More Just and More Efficient World Information and Communication Order.” The MacBride report combined information culled from several separate studies, including the Masmoudi draft. It represented a broad consensus of UNESCO’s membership, although the giant superpowers had separate and distinct problems with the language of the final report, centered primarily on the “perceived” anti-commercial bias of the Commission. (Hajnal, p. 248-249)

The MacBride report was detailed and comprehensive (MacBride, 1980). By all appearances, the problems, the imbalances, the inequities in information and communications, well-researched and documented, were on track to being addressed at the global level. But perhaps in keeping with Kingdon’s multiple stream approach to policy formulation, an issue will only gain traction on the policy agenda when the problem stream, the policy stream and the political stream all coincide with a window of opportunity where political entrepreneurs see an opportunity to move forward their personal agenda (Cohen-Vogel and McLendon, 2013). But the necessary coincidence of the aforementioned streams with a window of opportunity was not to be in this case.

Several environmental factors contributed to the postponement and eventual removal from the UNESCO agenda of the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) initiative. The U.S. and the U.K. both opposed the final text of the MacBride report and even threatened to withdraw from UNESCO. The UNESCO director general, sensing pressure from external criticisms of mismanagement and corrupt practices within UNESCO, attempted to appease his critiques by postponing a vote on adoption of the MacBride findings (Preston, W. 1989). Concern about heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union resulting from the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan diverted much of the attention of the New World World Information Order’s strongest advocates. An evolution within UNESCO itself, resulting in a dilution of attention to the thony issues of information policy and an increase focus on easy-to-understand and agree upon programs of assistance and development also diverted attention. Finally, the early 1980’s saw a general weakening of the Non-Aligned Movement, the strongest bloc of support for the NWICO (Carlsson, 2003). By 1985, the United States had withdrawn from UNESCO altogether and the New World Information Order had disappeared from UNESCO’s annual conference agenda.

Conclusions

Ronald Diebert wrote that the world of international politics was being transformed by the advent of high tech telecommunications, which he referred to as the “hypermedia environment” (Diebert, 1997, p. IX). Medium theory, first articulated by Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan (who was to have been the Canadian representative to the 1980 MacBride Commission until illness prevented his travel), sought to explain the evolutionary path to hypermedia by examining the effects of different modes of communication on the way information was stored, transmitted and distributed at different times in history. For example, changes in the human vocal tract and development of the spoken word resulted in a great leap forward in human development over 35,000 years ago; the invention of writing accompanied the development of the first civilizations along the Nile and in the Tigris Euphrates Valley; the development of the Alphabet accompanied the Greek enlightenment; and development of printing and movable type occurred simultaneously with the Renaissance and modernity as we know it (Diebert, pp. 1-3). One can speculate that the development of a global information and communication order, similar to what was attempted in UNESCO in the 1970’s, may well be the necessary and sufficient condition for peace between the nations of the world.

Since reading this Blainey (1973) passage over thirty years ago, I have found it to be haunting:

“A pioneer of sociology, Georg Simmel, while lecturing in philosophy at Berlin in 1904, set out a sad truth about international relations. He argued that the most effective way of preventing a war was to possess exact knowledge of the comparative strength of the two rival nations or alliances. And this exact knowledge, he wrote, ‘is often attainable only by actual fighting out the conflict.’” (Blainey, p. 118)

Imagine if the nations of the world, all the sub-groupings, all the regional alliances could agree to adopt a global information policy, that, among other things, promoted transparency about military strength in each country. Perhaps humankind could then attain the world peace we claim we seek, without engaging in conflict. Without putting too strong a spin on it, it may be that the New International Information and Communication Order proposed by UNESCO in the 70’s was on this path. We can only speculate.

A report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) in 1977 (when the new information policy was being considered) begins, “Whether we like it or not, there will be a ‘New World Information Order’” (Kroloff and Cohen, 1977. p. 1). Today, with new technologies for creating, acquiring, disseminating, evaluating, and organizing information, globally and practically instantaneously, we must acknowledge that we already have a new world information order in operation, in fact, we have several orders, several overlapping global orders. But these global information orders are not governed nor held accountable by states or international organizations like the UN or UNESCO, nor even by the superpowers like the United States, Russia, China, or the European Union. They are governed by multinational corporations like Google, and single government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), and regional and global communications networks like CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera.

That same SFRC report ends, “Today the computer is vaguely considered a factor in the “New World Information Order.” Tomorrow it could be the factor.” (Kroloff and Cohen, 1978, p. 38). The writers of that report could not have been more prescient.

References

Blainey, G. (1973). The Causes of War. New York: The Free Press.

Buckland, M. (1997). What is a “Document”? Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48 9. pp. 804-809. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu.

Carlsson, U. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the NWICO. Nordicom. Goteborg University. Retrieved from http://www.nordicom.gu.se/common/publ_pdf/32_031-068.pdf

Chancellor, R. (2013). Information Policy, Copyright & Intellectual Property Law. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu.

Cohen-Vogel, L. and McLendon, M. (2009). Multiple Streams. Retrieved from http://politicalframes.wikispaces.com/Multiple+Streams.

Diebert, R. (1997). Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia. Communication in World Order Transformation. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gunter, J. (1978). The United States and the Debate on the World “Information Order.” Washington, DC: Academy for Educational Development, Inc.

Hajnal, P. (1983). Guide to UNESCO. New York: Oceana Publications.

MacBride, S. (1980). Many Voices, One World: Communication and Society Today and Tomorrow. New York: UNESCO.

Masmoudi, M. (1978). The New World Information Order. Retrieved from http://www.unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0003/000340/034010EB.pdf.

Nordenstreng, K and H. Schiller. (1980). National Sovereignty and International Communications. Norward, NJ: ABlex Publishing Company.

Preston, W. Herman, E. and Schiller, H. (1989). Hope and Folly: The United States and
UNESCO 1945-1985. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Raube-Wilson, S. (1986). The New World Information and Communication Order and
International Human Rights Law, 9 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 107 (1986),
Retrieved from: http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/iclr/vol9/iss1/5

Rubin, R. (2010) Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Smith, A. 1980. The Geopolitics of Information. New York: Oxford University Press.

12 thoughts on “The Birth and the Death of the New World Information and Communications Order

  1. Buckland Collaboration with Rachel and Melissa and Anita

    Economists say “Supply creates its own demand.” Say’s Law. We learn from Buckland’s article that the increased supply of scientific and technical literature and publications created a demand for improved techniques and methods for managing and processing that literature and those publications to make them useful/available/accessible throughout the scientific community. Even the name for the process, “bibliography,” had to be expanded to “documentation” to include traditional bibliography, scholarly information services, records management, and archiving. Buckland focuses in the article on Europe, but similar developments were simultaneously taking place throughout the developed world, especially in North America.

    Otlet’s idea that objects could be considered documents is particularly persuasive. Briet’s expansion to include all physical evidence as documents, while equally appealing, consists of the limitation that objects, to be documents, must be processed. It seems a bit off-putting, if not all together unnecessary. However, her very illuminating discussion of the six objects provides a peek into her thought process even though it has debatable notions; the antelope anecdote is both comprehensible and enjoyable in relation to her viewpoint. Duyvis expands the definition further, from objects, to physical evidence, to any expressed thought, which brings Steinerian spiritualism into the forefront as well. Ranganathan’s attempt at further expansion of the original definition is interesting, moving from Duyvis’ “any expressed thought” to “any embodied micro thought,” but he his insistence on physical parameters, such as a more or less flat surface, fit for physical handling, transportable across space, or preservable through time, left these readers flat.

    The article also forced us to consider how the LIS field might change or expand to accommodate the proliferation of information and data we are presently experiencing via internet technologies. Documents today can be any source of information, material or digital, that can be studied which is similar to the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation’s definition. The notion of intentionality, from Briet, seems important as well. Also, documents must include “traces of human activity.” Documents must be manifested in a physical or digital sense; an idea alone is not a document. Finally, we predict the best days for information scientists and librarians are yet to come.

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  2. Bates comments

    There was lots to “grab the attention” in the Bates article. Certainly presenting information science as a meta-discipline, along with education and journalism, provided a useful and informative construct from which to understand the elements of the discipline that might otherwise remain hidden, or in Bates words, “below the water line.” The distinction in information science between content, on the one hand, and form, organization, and structure, on the other, brought into clear focus the function of the organization of information and how that morphology itself may inform and enhance content. Finally, the mental transformation Bates refers to is a process we all are undergoing, and must undergo completely if we are to emerge as information professionals. Bates intentionally leaves vague the actual content of that transformation, but leaves us with trail markers and a litmus test to gage our position and our progress along the path. With Bates, I think we are in good hands.

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  3. an aside

    Just as an aside to the mention of the looting of the museum in Baghdad…

    The former head librarian at the State Department (God rest her soul) told me several years ago that in 1812, the chief clerk at the State Department (head librarian equivalent at the time) heard that the British were coming down from Baltimore to burn Washington, DC. (The National Archives, mind you, didn’t become a separate agency until the 1920’s, before then all the archival content was maintained by the State Department). So, according to State Department legend, passed down from one head librarian to the next over the generations, the chief clerk packed all our founding documents into a horse-drawn carriage and hauled them out to a farmhouse in Leesburg, Virginia, where they remained until the ashes cooled and the building housing the State Department at the time was rebuilt. This is all oral tradition, though, and I haven’t managed to find any documentary evidence in support of the legend, which is not to say it isn’t true.

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  4. Current Trends Essay #1: What is Information?

    Raymond D. Maxwell

    The Catholic University of America – School of Library and Information Science

    What Is Information?
    This essay attempts to answer the question, “What is information?” Beginning with historical antecedents, I will arrive at an approximation of a definition using various ranges of thought as described in assigned readings and class discussions. Following a brief analysis of information’s superstructure and substrate of current ideas about information, I will offer a short concluding statement.

    Historic Antecedents
    Case (2002) cites an early mention of information by Chaucer between 1372 and 1386. Perhaps an even earlier allusion to information may be found in Plato’s Timaeus, where he wrote about the Muses transmitting knowledge about harmony directly to the soul of man:
    “And harmony, which has motions akin to the revolutions of the Soul within us, was given by the Muses to him who makes intelligent use of the Muses, not as an aid to irrational pleasure, as is now supposed, but as an auxiliary to the inner revolution of the Soul, when it has lost its harmony, to assist in restoring it to order and concord with itself.” (Plato, Great Books, 1952, p. 455).
    It is possible the allusion was an early attempt to define/describe “information.”

    Ranges
    Synthesizing all the readings, a series of “ranges” of thought repeated themselves. I struggled to restrict these “ranges” to the following: narrow vs. broad definitions; static vs. dynamic definitions; structured vs. less-structured definitions (although these terms are not used exactly, I sense from my study of art and poetry that the same or a similar paradigm may apply; and socio-political considerations in existence at the moment.

    Case takes a decidedly broad, if not vague definition of information. Case (2002) cited from Bateson as a definition for information, “any difference that makes a difference to a conscious, human mind.” (Bateson, 1972, p.453) Surveying the literature, he expands the definition to include from Miller “any stimuli we recognize in our environment.” (Miller, 1968)

    Rubin takes a much narrower view, describing information as “an aggregation, organization or classification of data….that has been assigned meaning,” later suggesting that that meaning “must be previously unknown to the recipient.” Case (2002) also made the distinction between the narrow restrictions requiring that information be useful, intentional, and true, and broader definitions that were perhaps more inclusive. By definition, narrower definitions also tend to be more structured ones, while broader definitions tend to be less so.

    I found Bates repetition of the doctor/actor analogy (Bates, 1999), where the actor has better acting skills and so “represents” a doctor on film or on the stage better than would someone who was actually a doctor, fell a bit flat, and for me, resulted in a rather static description of the distinction between the content of information and the form, organization, and structure of information. Much more dynamic and satisfying for me was Case’s description of information-as-process, information-as-knowledge, and information-as-thing (as cited in Buckland, 1991).

    Superstructure and Substrate of Information
    Rubin’s Chapter 7 provided a comprehensive overview of information science, in the process building a superstructure to house a robust understanding of the various components and properties of information (Rubin 2010). He cited and amplified the following three big questions (Bates, 1999) addressed by information science: the physical question; the social question; and the design question. His section on emerging fields in information science demonstrated the evolution of information to its present (and potential future) state as the new lubricant of the world economic engine, as well as its essential role in such diverse fields as competitive intelligence and national security.

    Bates (1999) description of the below-the-waterline features of information science, aspects not so readily apparent to the uninitiated, provided a panoramic view of methods, values, and most importantly, the steps of the mental transformation we all must make as we embark on a new, exciting, cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary career path.

    Conclusion
    Rubin’s (2010) analysis of internet usage and the role that usage could possibly play in the massive proliferation of new information drove me to the internet for more recent statistics. I discovered that the world regions with the highest internet usage growth rates over the past twelve years (2000-2012) (Africa (3607%), Middle East (2640%), and Latin America (1311%)) actually have relatively low rates of penetration (% of population actually using the internet). Africa is woefully low at 7.0% penetration. Latin America and the Middle East both remain well under the 50% penetration level (Internet World Stats, 2013). It is ironic that the regions with the greatest growth rates still have the furthest to go in terms of net new internet usage. It is a safe bet to assume that these regions also have the lowest levels of access to information and, consequently, the lowest levels of overall economic development. This bodes well for information professionals interested in contributing to these regions in the future

    References
    Bates, M. J. (1999). The Invisible Substrate of Information Science. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50, 12, pp. 1043-1050. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu
    Buckland, M. K. (1997). What is a “Document”? Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48, 9, pp. 804-809. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu
    Case, D. O. (2002). Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior. San Diego: Academic Press. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu
    Crane, G.T. Editor. Plato: Timaeus. 47{d}. Retrieved from Perseus Digital Library, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0180%3Atext%3DTim.%3Asection%3D47d
    Internet World Stats. (2013) [Graph illustrates Internet Users in the World Distribution by World Regions – 2012 Q2]. Internet Usage Statistics: The Internet Big Picture: World Internet Users and Populations Stats. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
    Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

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  5. Current Trends Essay #2: Filtering, Selecting and Censoring Online Information

    Raymond D. Maxwell
    The Catholic University of America – School of Library and Information Science
    June 16, 2013

    The issue of filtering/censoring access to online information will be crucial to information professionals for some time to come. In this essay, I briefly define the “micro” elements of the ethical question at issue, tracing some elements of the cause of censorship as well as the development of ALA institutional responses to it. I address a few of the “macro” determinants, focusing on the First Amendment and two possible legal derivations, and I conclude with future prospects based on potential technological developments.

    Wars raise public awareness and create the tendency among some in society to attempt to restrict information that might otherwise have not been restricted, under the guise of national defense. Laughlin (2003, p. 226) reported that World War 1 saw a rise in concerns about and calls for censorship at libraries, but that it was also during World War 1 that librarians first cited the First Amendment in an effort to protect their collections and patrons. (Just as an aside, the terrorist attacks of 2001 that resulted in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unleashed a torrent of censorship efforts embodied in the Patriot Act.) The librarian at Princeton at the time wrote:

    “The fundamental right and absolute need of democracy is the right to know all that can be said for or against any question. There is no right, and rightly no right, of which we are so sensitive as this right of knowing both sides and of the right to know the truth. . . . This was no matter of theory with the founders of America or the framers of the constitution. In America the people are sovereign. They have a right to know, and information cannot be withheld from them which would be kept of subjects [under a monarchy]. (Laughlin, 2003, from Geller, 1984, p. 226)

    Let’s first establish the direct link between books and online information. OK, done. Now let’s look at the link between filtering (selection) and censoring in books and documents. From the Asheim article (1953) we know that a librarian selects books for a collection based on space, cost, and standards (Asheim, p 64). Standards can consist of the author’s intent, literary excellence, literary standing, the presumed effect on the reader, and customs of the community (Asheim, p. 65). The difference between selection and censoring, according to Asheim, is the positivity and inclusion of the selector, versus the censor’s negativity and bias to exclusion (Asheim, p. 66). The selector looks for reasons to include a book, the censor looks for reasons to reject it. The selector says if there is anything good about a book, keep it, while the censor says if there is anything bad in the book, reject it. The censor judges books by external characteristics; the selector looks at internal values. Ultimately, selection is democratic, while censorship is authoritarian (Asheim, p. 67).

    Rubin (Rubin, 2010) cites fundamental reasons for censoring material, such as sexual content, violent content, offensive language, and concern for children (Rubin, pp. 381-3). These concerns are obvious, and of course transfer over to on-line material. But most of these concerns can be mitigated at minimal expense and with minimal intrusion. Rubin also cites the foundational efforts of the American Library Association (ALA) to enable librarians to protect the rights of citizens, rights to privacy, rights to protection against government-ordained censorship, rights to free access to information and ultimately, to free speech as enshrined in the Constitution, through the Library Bill of Rights adopted in 1948, the Freedom To Read Statement adopted in 1953, the Intellectual Freedom Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement adopted in 1979, all reinforcements to the First Amendment clause guaranteeing free speech (Rubin, pp. 389-92).

    And what of the First Amendment? I heard on WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show (Rehm, 2013) just today that the founding fathers were ready to approve the new Constitution without a Bill of Rights, but that then Ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson refused to join consensus without it, insisting that the people required protection against their government. But is the government the only entity the people need protection against? Tim Wu, in a collection of essays in “Constitution 3.0 (Rosen and Wittes, 2011),” highlights two separate trends or traditions of free speech that might inform our discussion (Rosen and Wittes, pp. 84-87). The central free speech narrative, also known as the first free speech tradition, focuses on the free speech rights of the individual. The second tradition focuses on the exercise of free speech by “concentrated, private intermediaries who control or carry speech” (Rosen and Wittes, p. 85). In the second tradition, private intermediaries, not the government, may act as censors, particularly of on-line material. Rosen notes, in a chapter of the same book entitled, aptly, “The Deciders: Facebook, Google, and the Future of The Privacy and Free Speech,” that,

    “… the person who arguably had more power than any other to determine who may speak and who may be heard around the globe is not a king, a president, or a Supreme Court justice. She was Nicole Wong, the deputy general counsel of Google. …it was Wong who decided what controversial user-generated content went down or stayed up on YouTube and other applications owned by Google, including Blogger, Picasa, and Orkut. Wong and her colleagues also oversee Google’s search engine…” (Rosen and Wittes, pp. 78-79).

    Future librarians and information professionals will continue to have to deal with government efforts as we move further away from 2001 and as public calls increase to reduce the onerous over-reaching of elements of the Patriot Act. Additionally, they (we) will have to consider the potential invasion of privacy and effects of information filtering by large scale providers of on-line information like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook, among others. Today’s news flash, “Google builds new system to eradicate child porn images from the web (Barrett, 2013),” sounds wonderful on the
    surface but may, in the wrong hands, bode ill for the future of internet control and freedom.

    References
    Asheim, L. (1953). Not Censorship But Selection. Wilson Library Bulletin (R) 28 S 1953. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/basics/notcensorship.cfm

    Barrett, D. (2013, June 15). Google builds new system to eradicate child porn images from the web. The U.K. Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/
    10122452/Google-builds-new-system-to-eradicate-child-porn-images-from-the-web.html

    Laughlin, G.K. (2003). Sex, Lies, and Library Cards: The First Amendment Implications of the Use of Software Filters to Control Access to Internet Pornography in Public Libraries. Drake Law Review. Vol. 51. Retrieved from http://students.law.drake.edu/lawReview/docs/51-Laughlin.pdf

    Rehm, D. (2013, June 16). The Diane Rehm Show [Radio Broadcast]. Washington, DC: NPR.

    Rosen, J. and B. Wittes. (2011). Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

    Rubin, R. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

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    1. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB) established during the Bush II administration is an inter-agency entity charged with creating and implementing a national strategy to protect and “contain” the critical information infrastructure across a number of foreign affairs related agencies (Rubin, 2010). On the surface, that sounds rather benign, and even rather technical, because it sounds like it pertains to machines that carry the information, not the information itself.

      However, at the agency level, the existence of the CIPB is a bit troublesome. In terms of information policy, the ALA (American Library Association) and other agencies have a very well-founded fear regarding the potential and/or effects of the CIPB to withdraw or restrict government information that may have been otherwise available to the public (Rubin, 2010, p. 325). Especially, or perhaps even more significantly, the CIPB creates the potential for an information “detour,” i.e., the withdrawal or restriction of information that should be available to Congressional committees who are charged with oversight of the operations of those organizations, such as Homeland Security, State, FBI, IRS, etc.

      In the wrong hands, the CIPB allows for the creation of a “cloak of secrecy” within an agency that provides for limited collection and destruction of information that might prove detrimental to that agency’s political leadership, a climate of secrecy that cannot be penetrated by Congressional committees who represent the American people, in a broad sense. The ALA 2003 report mentioned in Rubin is precisely on point in this regard.

      Here is a link to the ALA report: http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Resolution_on_restrictions_on_access_to_government_information

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  6. The Birth and the Death of the New World Information and Communications Order

    Raymond D. Maxwell
    School of Library and Information Science, LSC-557
    The Catholic University of America
    June 23, 2013

    Abstract
    The New International Information Order (NIIO), also known as the New World Information and Communications Order (NWICO), was a short-lived UNESCO initiative that focused on global information policy. In this paper I will examine the origin and short life of this initiative within the UN bureaucracy. I will analyze how and why it came to be, and how it met its end. I will conclude with some thoughts on why such an organization is needed today, more than ever before, especially in light of new global technologies for storing, transmitting and distributing information.

    Keywords: information policy, new information order, international conventions

    The Birth and the Death of the New World Information and Communications Order

    Introduction
    A passing reference in a Buckland article (Buckland, 1997) to the existence of the International Institute for Cooperation, an agency of the short-lived League of Nations, sparked my interest in exploring international institutions dedicated to global information policy. That, a few Google searches later, led me to the New World Information Order, also known as the New World Information and Communications Order, another short-lived initiative, this time in UNESCO, the branch of the United Nations that deals with science, cultural exchange, and information policy, among other subjects.
    This paper examines the origin and short life of this initiative within the UN bureaucracy and analyzes how and why it came to be, and how it met its end. It concludes with some speculative thoughts on why such an organization is needed today, more than ever before, especially in light of new technologies for storing, transmitting and distributing information.
    First, a few words are in order about information policy and policy formulation in general. From Rubin’s textbook and Chancellor’s class notes we know that domestically, the federal government determines how information is created, acquired, disseminated, evaluated, and organized in a country through the creation of laws and regulations (Rubin, 2010 and Chancellor, 2013). Globally, international institutions make a similar determination regarding the range of issues governing information flow across national boundaries, subject to agreement by member states.
    Of the several policy formulation models to be considered, Kingdon’s Multiple Streams model provides a robust explanation for how policy is formulated at the international, multilateral level (Cohen-Vogel and McLendon, 2009). Problem, policy and political streams interact and inter-twine. Policy choices seek issues, problems that exist seek decision-making points where they can insert themselves, solutions are on the lookout for problems for which they may provide an answer, and politicians are ever watchful for issues, projects, and programs that might propel or sustain their careers and positions (Cohen-Vogel & McLendon, 2009). Information policy formulation at the international level presents a unique example of multiple streams at work. And the idea of agenda change, prominent in Kingdon’s model, finds unparalleled expression in our discussion.
    Historical Perspective
    Two historic, geopolitical forces were set in motion as a result of the allied victory in World War Two: the Cold War between the US and her allies versus the Soviet Bloc; and the process of decolonization of Africa, Asia and Latin America by the European powers – simultaneously East versus West, and North versus South. In fact, although the U.S. and the then Soviet Union never actually went to war in a traditional sense (hence, the Cold War), they each fought proxy battles through their respective allies in decolonization struggles at several locations. The importance of information resources and methodologies at play in both these geopolitical conflict sets cannot be overstated, especially in an increasingly technology-oriented world where the wheels of economic development are lubricated, as it were, by the oil of information exchange.
    Anthony Smith (1980), in his book, The Geopolitics of Information, wrote,

    “The collecting, editing, and distribution of information is now a key element in all economies. It is not inaptly that the French have come to speak of the ‘informatisation’ of society; more and more governmental, economic and cultural processes have come to depend upon a set of companies, institutions and systems which make up the information sector and so the tension over the international flow of news has spread across a wide range of concerns which formerly were not conceived as part of this sector. Changing technology has brought more and more matters into the problem-strewn area of information policy, now subject to this further international wrangle (p. 16).”

    It was in this environment that legal scholars, information experts, government officials and politicians came together, fresh from the victories of World War Two, to create the United Nations and to adopt a UN General Assembly Resolution 59(1) declaring freedom of information to be “a fundamental human right” (Hajnal, 1983, p. 241). In 1948, the United Nations Conference on Freedom of Information held further debates on freedom of information and information policy subjects. In the same year, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of which states,
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (“Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” “Article #19”).
    Moreover, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966 contained similar language to that of the Universal Declaration with respect to information policy, but, in addition, couched as a legally binding agreement among states party to the covenant and containing a provision for an international implementation mechanism (Raude-Wilson, 1986, pp. 116-117). The original Universal Declaration lacked both the legally binding condition and the implementation mechanism, and thus, lacked any true authority under international law (Raude-Wilson, p. 116).

    Discussion
    A series of conventions and declarations, put forward in 1952, in 1962, and in 1966 all cleared the path for a 1972 Soviet-sponsored UNESCO resolution calling for guiding principles on the use of satellite broadcasting for the free flow of information. But it was the Cold War, and the United States, although it didn’t have an absolute veto vote in UNESCO, cast the sole negative vote against the Soviet-sponsored resolution (Hajnal, 1983, p. 244). The resolution called for prior consent of the receiving nation before receipt of any informational signal. The official United States position was that the Soviet–sponsored resolution and corresponding insistence on host nation “prior approval” would result in “an abridgment of the universal right to receive and transmit information” (Hajnal, p. 244). But the Soviets saw it exclusively as a matter of national sovereignty.
    In some respects the United States, even though voting against the resolution, took perhaps a more forward-leaning and progressive approach than the consensus position, stating that the resolution “does not put sufficient emphasis on the central importance of the free flow of information and ideas in the modern world” (Nordenstreng, 1980, p. 213).
    And on the issue of sovereignty, the U.S. delegation said “in actual practice the sovereignty of States and the unimpeded flow of information and ideas should complement rather than conflict with one another” (Nordenstreng, p. 213). But the die was cast, and the gulf between the two Cold War powers, even though more symbolic than actual, only continued to widen within the UNESCO framework.
    The 19th session of the UNESCO General Conference in Nairobi (1976) occurred as a culmination of the Non-Aligned Symposium on Information in Tunis, the Ministerial Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in New Delhi, and the 5th Non-Aligned Summit in Colombo (Gunter, 1978, pp. 44-49, 122-23). All of the aforementioned non-aligned meetings focused on various aspects of mass media and information policy across member states. The Mass Media Declaration that resulted emphasized national sovereignty, noninterference, the growing inequality between developed and underdeveloped nations regarding the circulation of information, and the need to achieve a balance in information exchange (Nordenstreng, p. 213). In Nairobi, the United States told the non-aligned countries that it understood their feelings and aspirations and offered interested countries what Kroloff and Cohen referred to as a “Santa’s bag” of development assistance programs and projects, diverting those countries’ attention from the incorporation of mass media and information policy requests clarified in the Mass Media Declaration (Kroloff & Cohen, 1978, p. 31).
    But the U.S. offer was just a subterfuge. In the background, the draft declaration on freedom of information prepared by an intergovernmental group of experts carried with it a draft amendment proposed by the Yugoslavians which equated Zionism with racism (Hajnal, p. 245). The U.S. found that almost equation unacceptable, and, along with programs and projects it offered, convinced enough delegations to postpone a vote on the actual declaration and instead, to defer the decision by referring it to a study group (Hajnal, p. 245), which postponed the vote until the next session in 1978.
    Another contributing subplot in Nairobi was the growing gap between the African countries and the Arab and Asian countries (Kroloff & Cohen, p. 26). The Africans, led by then UNESCO Director General Amadou-Mathar M’Bow, from Senegal, were simultaneously upset over African/Arab conflicts in Western Sahara, Chad, and Ethiopia/Somalia, lured by United States offers of programs and projects mentioned above, and disappointed by Arab oil states’ broken promises of financial and developmental assistance. The Africans voted as a 40-member bloc to delay the vote in Nairobi (Stevenson, 1988, p. 44-45). The agenda was again shifted. Late in 1976, Director General M’Bow created the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems and appointed Irish jurist and legal scholar Sean MacBride as its chairman. One of several papers prepared in 1978 for the Commission, a draft by the Tunisian Secretary of State for Information, Mustapha Masmoudi, more or less coined the term “The New World Information Order.” In it, Masmoudi delineated political, legal and technico-financial imbalances requiring the creation of a new world order for information (Masmoudi, 1978. pp. 3-10).
    Politically, Masmoudi listed the imbalance between two-way flow of information from the developed to the developing countries and vive-versa: he cited the information resource inequality resulting in an absolute monopoly of the news by five major transnational news agencies, all in the developed world; and he highlighted the vestiges of the former colonial system enshrined in the present-day information system through selective reporting (Masmoudi, 1978). On the legal side, Masmoudi addressed individual and community rights, freedom of information and its corollary, freedom to inform, the right to access information, imbalances in copyrighting practices, and inequities in the distribution of broadcast spectrum and use of satellites and other telecommunications (Masmoudi, 1978). Technically and financially, he drew attention to the inequities in telecommunications infrastructure, tariffs and taxing structures held over from the colonial era, transport and logistics imbalances and other regional distinctions that put the developing countries at a distinct disadvantage (Masmoudi, 1978). The focus of the New World Information Order came to be known as the “4 D’s,” democratization (just flows of information and just allocation telecommunications infrastructure), decolonization (cultural identity), demonopolization (regulation of multinational corporations), and development (national communication policy and journalism education) (Carlson, 2003).
    UNESCO published MacBride’s final report in 1980, “Many Voices One World: Towards a New More Just and More Efficient World Information and Communication Order.” The MacBride report combined information culled from several separate studies, including the Masmoudi draft. It represented a broad consensus of UNESCO’s membership, although the giant superpowers had separate and distinct problems with the language of the final report, centered primarily on the “perceived” anti-commercial bias of the Commission. (Hajnal, p. 248-249)
    The MacBride report was detailed and comprehensive (MacBride, 1980). By all appearances, the problems, the imbalances, the inequities in information and communications, well-researched and documented, were on track to being addressed at the global level. But perhaps in keeping with Kingdon’s multiple stream approach to policy formulation, an issue will only gain traction on the policy agenda when the problem stream, the policy stream and the political stream all coincide with a window of opportunity where political entrepreneurs see an opportunity to move forward their personal agenda (Cohen-Vogel and McLendon, 2013). But the necessary coincidence of the aforementioned streams with a window of opportunity was not to be in this case.
    Several environmental factors contributed to the postponement and eventual removal from the UNESCO agenda of the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) initiative. The U.S. and the U.K. both opposed the final text of the MacBride report and even threatened to withdraw from UNESCO. The UNESCO director general, sensing pressure from external criticisms of mismanagement and corrupt practices within UNESCO, attempted to appease his critiques by postponing a vote on adoption of the MacBride findings (Preston, W. 1989). Concern about heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union resulting from the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan diverted much of the attention of the New World World Information Order’s strongest advocates. An evolution within UNESCO itself, resulting in a dilution of attention to the thony issues of information policy and an increase focus on easy-to-understand and agree upon programs of assistance and development also diverted attention. Finally, the early 1980’s saw a general weakening of the Non-Aligned Movement, the strongest bloc of support for the NWICO (Carlsson, 2003). By 1985, the United States had withdrawn from UNESCO altogether and the New World Information Order had disappeared from UNESCO’s annual conference agenda.
    Conclusions
    Ronald Diebert wrote that the world of international politics was being transformed by the advent of high tech telecommunications, which he referred to as the “hypermedia environment” (Diebert, 1997, p. IX). Medium theory, first articulated by Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan (who was to have been the Canadian representative to the 1980 MacBride Commission until illness prevented his travel), sought to explain the evolutionary path to hypermedia by examining the effects of different modes of communication on the way information was stored, transmitted and distributed at different times in history. For example, changes in the human vocal tract and development of the spoken word resulted in a great leap forward in human development over 35,000 years ago; the invention of writing accompanied the development of the first civilizations along the Nile and in the Tigris Euphrates Valley; the development of the Alphabet accompanied the Greek enlightenment; and development of printing and movable type occurred simultaneously with the Renaissance and modernity as we know it (Diebert, pp. 1-3). One can speculate that the development of a global information and communication order, similar to what was attempted in UNESCO in the 1970’s, may well be the necessary and sufficient condition for peace between the nations of the world.
    Since reading this Blainey (1973) passage over thirty years ago, I have found it to be haunting:
    A pioneer of sociology, Georg Simmel, while lecturing in philosophy at berlin in 1904, set out a sad truth about international relations. He argued that the most effective way of preventing a war was to possess exact knowledge of the comparative strength of the two rival nations or alliances. And this exact knowledge, he wrote, ‘is often attainable only by actual fighting out the conflict.’ (Blainey, p. 118)
    Imagine if the nations of the world, all the sub-groupings, all the regional alliances could agree to adopt a global information policy, that, among other things, promoted transparency about military strength in each country. Perhaps humankind could then attain the world peace we claim we seek, without engaging in conflict. Without putting too strong a spin on it, it may be that the New International Information and Communication Order proposed by UNESCO in the 70’s was on this path. We can only speculate.
    A report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) in 1977 (when the new information policy was being considered) begins, “Whether we like it or not, there will be a ‘New World Information Order’” (Kroloff and Cohen, 1977. p. 1). Today, with new technologies for creating, acquiring, disseminating, evaluating, and organizing information, globally and practically instantaneously, we must acknowledge that we already have a new world information order in operation, in fact, we have several orders, several overlapping global orders. But these global information orders are not governed nor held accountable by states or international organizations like the UN or UNESCO, nor even by the superpowers like the United States, Russia, China, or the European Union. They are governed by multinational corporations like Google, and single government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), and regional and global communications networks like CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera.
    That same SFRC report ends, “Today the computer is vaguely considered a factor in the “New World Information Order.” Tomorrow it could be the factor.” (Kroloff and Cohen, 1978, p. 38). The writers of that report could not have been more prescient.

    References

    Blainey, G. (1973). The Causes of War. New York: The Free Press.
    Buckland, M. (1997). What is a “Document”? Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48 9. pp. 804-809. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu.
    Carlsson, U. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the NWICO. Nordicom. Goteborg University. Retrieved from http://www.nordicom.gu.se/common/publ_pdf/32_031-068.pdf
    Chancellor, R. (2013). Information Policy, Copyright & Intellectual Property Law. Retrieved from https://blackboard.cua.edu.
    Cohen-Vogel, L. and McLendon, M. (2009). Multiple Streams. Retrieved from http://politicalframes.wikispaces.com/Multiple+Streams.
    Diebert, R. (1997). Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia. Communication in World Order Transformation. New York: Columbia University Press.
    Gunter, J. (1978). The United States and the Debate on the World “Information Order.”
    Washington, DC: Academy for Educational Development, Inc.
    Hajnal, P. (1983). Guide to UNESCO. New York: Oceana Publications.
    MacBride, S. (1980). Many Voices, One World: Communication and Society Today and Tomorrow. New York: UNESCO.
    Masmoudi, M. (1978). The New World Information Order. Retrieved from http://www.unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0003/000340/034010EB.pdf.
    Nordenstreng, K and H. Schiller. (1980). National Sovereignty and International Communications. Norward, NJ: ABlex Publishing Company.
    Preston, W. Herman, E. and Schiller, H. (1989). Hope and Folly: The United States and
    UNESCO 1945-1985. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Raube-Wilson, S. (1986). The New World Information and Communication Order and
    International Human Rights Law, 9 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 107 (1986),
    Retrieved from: http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/iclr/vol9/iss1/5
    Rubin, R. (2010) Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman
    Publishers, Inc.
    Smith, A. 1980. The Geopolitics of Information. New York: Oxford University Press.

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  7. Ranganathan’s First Law

    As last week, this week’s readings are rich with “writable” ideas, areas where one may take a deep dive in a single thought or in an aggregation of related thoughts. As I read the Nine Principles for Building a Digital Collection in Rubin, I thought to myself, “Why does this sound so much like Ranganathan’s five laws, only nine, not five?” Simultaneously, I thought to myself (I was multitasking, maybe…), “And why does this sound so much like Briet’s definitions of documents? At a subconscious level, it all runs together for me, all tributary streams to a mighty Mississippi, but even at the conscious level, there appears to be more than just a superficial relationship here, more than even a thematic, functional relationship between these three sets of definitions.

    Documents, books, digital collections, we can conclude, are all packages of information, all objects, to use Otlet’s construction, whose observation (interaction with our five (or six) senses) informs us. Acceptance of that conclusion resolves the riddle of why their definitions sound somehow related. That said, I am most partial to Ranganathan’s First Law, Books are for Use. The usefulness, the utility of the “information package,” whether book, document, or digital collection is, for me, foremost, because from it derives all the other of Ranganathan’s Laws, Briet’s rules, and NISO’s principles. Use is a measure of value, or a determination that value can be extracted, and the intrinsic value of a thing is what helps us decide to pay attention to the thing or ignore it.

    Rubin appends to the NISO nine principles an adaptation of Ranganathan’s five laws as “additional” laws for digital library service. But I think here Rubin misses the boat. Ranganathan’s laws, or even a modern interpretation thereof, in my estimation, are not a mere appendage, they are the essence and the foundation of the NISO nine principles, and the source from which they all may be derived.

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    1. Five laws of library science – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      The Five laws of library science is a theory proposed by S. R. Ranganathan in 1931, detailing the principles of operating a library system. Many librarians worldwide accept them as the foundations of their philosophy.[1][2]

      These laws are:
      1.Books are for use.
      2.Every reader his [or her] book.
      3.Every book its reader.
      4.Save the time of the reader.
      5.The library is a growing organism.

      1 Overview 1.1 First law: Books are for use.
      1.2 Second Law: Every reader his or her book
      1.3 Third Law: Every book its reader
      1.4 Fourth Law: Save the time of the reader
      1.5 Fifth Law: The library is a growing organism

      2 Variants
      3 References
      4 External links

      Overview[edit]

      First law: Books are for use.[edit]

      The first law constitutes the basis for the library services. Dr. Ranganathan observed that books were often chained to prevent their removal and that the emphasis was on storage and preservation rather than use. He did not reject the notion that preservation and storage were important, but he asserted that the purpose of such activities was to promote the use of them. Without the use of materials, there is little value in the item. By emphasizing use, Dr. Ranganathan refocused the attention of the field to access-related issues, such as the library’s location, loan policies, hours and days of operation, as well as such mundanities as library furniture and the quality of staffing.

      First law of library science Books are for use This means that Books in Libraries are not meant to be shut away from people.

      Second Law: Every reader his or her book[edit]

      This law suggests that every member of the community should be able to obtain materials needed. Dr. Ranganathan felt that all individuals from all social environments were entitled to library service, and that the basis of library use was education, to which all were entitled. These entitlements were not without some important obligations for both libraries/librarians and library patrons. Librarians should have excellent first-hand knowledge of the people to be served. Collections should meet the special interests of the community, and libraries should promote and advertise their services extensively to attract a wide range of readers. [2]

      Second law of library science Every reader his (or her) book This means we don’t judge what someone wants to read. Everyone has different tastes and differences & we should respect that.

      Third Law: Every book its reader[edit]

      This principle is closely related to the second law but it focuses on the item itself, suggesting that each item in a library has an individual or individuals who would find that item useful. Dr. Ranganathan argued that the library could devise many methods to ensure that each item finds it appropriate reader. One method involved the basic rules for access to the collection, most notably the need for open shelving.[2]

      Third law of library science Every book its reader This means we should have books in the library even if there is just one person who wants to read it. We shouldn’t just have popular books

      Fourth Law: Save the time of the reader[edit]

      This law is a recognition that part of the excellence of library service is its ability to meet the needs of the library user efficiently. To this end, Dr. Ranganathan recommended the use of appropriate business methods to improve library management. He observed that centralizing the library collection in one location provided distinct advantages. He also noted that excellent staff would not only include those who possess strong reference skills, but also strong technical skills in cataloging, cross-referencing, ordering, accessioning, and the circulation of materials.[2]

      Fourth law of library science Save the time of the user. This means it should be as easy as possible to find what you want in the library and the library should be accessible to all.

      Fifth Law: The library is a growing organism[edit]

      This law focused more on the need for internal change than on changes in the environment itself. Dr. Ranganathan argued that library organizations must accommodate growth in staff, the physical collection, and patron use. This involved allowing for growth in the physical building, reading areas, shelving, and in space for the catalog.[2]

      Fifth law of library science The library is a growing organism. This means that a library is always changing. The books need to be updated over time, new books should be bought and old books replaced.

      Variants[edit]

      Librarian Michael Gorman (past president of the American Library Association, 2005–2006), and Walt Crawford recommended the following laws in addition to Ranganathan’s five in Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Realities [American Library Association, 1995], (p. 8) Gorman later repeated them in his small book, Our Singular Strengths [American Library Association, 1998].
      1.Libraries serve humanity.
      2.Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
      3.Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
      4.Protect free access to knowledge.
      5.Honor the past and create the future.

      In 2008, librarian Carol Simpson recommended that editing be done to Ranganathan’s law due to media richness. The following were:
      1.Media are for use.
      2.Every patron his information.
      3.Every medium its user.
      4.Save the time of the patron.
      5.The library is a growing organism.[3]

      References[edit]

      1.Jump up ^ Koehler, Wallace, Jitka Hurych, Wanda Dole, and Joanna Wall. “Ethical Values of Information and Library Professionals – An Expanded Analysis.” International Information & Library Review 32 (3/4) 2000: 485–506.
      2.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Rubin, Richard E. Foundations of Library and Information Science. 2nd ed. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. 2004.
      3.Jump up ^ Simpson, Carol. “Five Laws”. Library Media Connection 26 no7 6 Ap/My 2008. Available at: http://www.carolsimpson.com/5laws.pdf

      External links[edit]
      Full text of The Five Laws of Library Science at HathiTrust Digital Library.

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  8. Ethics

    ALA Code of Ethics #7 speaks directly to information quality, i.e., that information professionals should strive to provide a high quality, the best quality of information available. And the delivery of that information should not be obstructed by individual prejudices or personal convictions that might not accord with professional duties or the aims of the organization. This particular principle is clearly spelled out in Rubin chapter 10 and especially in the chart on page 424 that details the ethical issues of privacy, misuse of authority, and possible organizational inadequacies.

    These principles are all over the front page of every national newspaper today, though slightly nuanced, in the discussion of the trial of Bradley Manning of Wikileaks fame, and in the news of recent revelations made by Edward Snowden on NSA programs that reportedly “snooped” on American citizens under the guise of combatting terrorism. While neither Manning nor Snowden were librarians, or even information professionals, both, through their jobs, had access to large amounts of information. And both, according to the defenses they now offer, made the ethical decision that the information in their possession, compartmentalized and for all practical purposes, hidden from the view of most American citizens, should actually be made available to the public. An article in today’s (June 12, 2013) Washington Post by Greg Miller (“The low-profile, tech savvy intelligence risk”) points out other parallels between Bradley and Snowden: both had enlisted in the Army and neither had a college degree or significant academic training. But left out of the Miller article is the following conclusion: both made what they considered to be ethical decisions regarding the provision of information, yet neither had the benefit of training in ethics that might have informed their “ethical” decision-making process or the conclusions they reached, conclusions that may have been based on a flawed understanding of ethics. A cautionary tale for us, perhaps…

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    1. here is a link to the Greg Miller article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-bradley-manning-and-the-risk-of-the-low-level-tech-savvy-leaker/2013/06/11/f5e3ad72-d2c7-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

      I didn’t address the interview with Dr. Chu above, so please allow me to do so here. A few elements stood out for me. The Canadian experience with a multicultural policy vs. the American experience with affirmative action is an attention grabber and I would love to speak more with her about it. The idea that we should examine “who is desired and who is shunned” and why also jumps off the page. Training children to be “Immigrant Mediators” has potential application also in dealing with the digital divide. Finally, the idea Dr. Chu alludes to regarding the diversity within discrete demographic groups as well as the diversity across various groups is something that should be considered in all our discussions about diversity.

      Library professionals can certainly enhance the culture or the ethnicity of a community through highlighting the literature, cultural artifacts, and specialized knowledge of that community. Of course, in a multicultural community, fairness would dictate a sort of rotation of attention to highlight each discrete sub-group. Addressing various language groups and accommodating them with library resources may be easier said than done in a budget-constrained environment, but patrons and clients will appreciate the effort, even though it may be small.

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  9. Policy

    The Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB) established during the Bush II administration is an inter-agency entity charged with creating and implementing a national strategy to protect and “contain” the critical information infrastructure across a number of foreign affairs related agencies (Rubin, 2010). On the surface, that sounds rather benign, and even rather technical, because it sounds like it pertains to machines that carry the information, not the information itself.

    However, at the agency level, the existence of the CIPB is a bit troublesome. In terms of information policy, the ALA and other agencies have a very well-founded fear regarding the potential and/or effects of the CIPB to withdraw or restrict government information that may have been otherwise available to the public (Rubin, 2010, p. 325). Especially, or perhaps even more significantly, the CIPB creates the potential for an information “detour,” i.e., the withdrawal or restriction of information that should be available to Congressional committees who are charged with oversight of the operations of those organizations, such as Homeland Security, State, FBI, IRS, etc.

    In the wrong hands, the CIPB allows for the creation of a “cloak of secrecy” within an agency that provides for limited collection and destruction of information that might prove detrimental to that agency’s political leadership, a climate of secrecy that cannot be penetrated by Congressional committees who represent the American people, in a broad sense. The ALA 2003 report mentioned in Rubin is precisely on point in this regard.

    Here is a link to the ALA report: http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Resolution_on_restrictions_on_access_to_government_information

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