Students and scholars alike descended upon Centennial Hall in Milwaukee over Memorial Day weekend to examine the ethical issues facing the field of library science at the ground-breaking 2009 Ethics of Information Organization Conference. Hosted jointly by the School of Information Studies (SOIS), the Center for Information Policy Reseach (CIPR) and the Information Organization Research Group (IOrg), the two-day conference covered a wide array of matters concerning the field.
“The goal of the conference was to define the issues in cataloging and information organization,” said Dr. Hope Olson, the conference’s coordinator and founding member of IOrg. The conference included a number of well-known speakers from specializing in areas as diverse as national security to folksonomies. Olson believes that the conference was successful at addressing many issues not only on the theoretical level but at the practitioner level as well. “There was something for the academic and the cataloger,” quipped Olson.
As a culminating flourish, the conference featured a panel discussion entitled “Trust, Authority, and Power: The Intersection of IO Professionals with Users, Standards and Institutions.”
The conference is a big step for all three organizations. On a larger level, SOIS can be pleased to have played host to such a strong assortment of scholars. Meanwhile, CIPR and IOrg in particular laid a major cornerstone for identifying themselves as crucial voices in the discussion of ethics and information.
Dr. Olson is keen to keep the momentum going. “We’re building a lot of strength in these areas,” she asserted, adding that by next year SOIS will have three tenure-track professors, three visiting scholars and two lecturers who specialize in information organization, more full-time faculty with this expertise than any other MLIS department in the United States or Canada. With this type of unrivaled strength, Olson foresees great things for both the department and the IOrg research group.
Dr. Olson said that she was very pleased to see a good representation from the student population at the conference, too. The combination of dedicated faculty and increasingly active student interest in information organization positions SOIS as a leader in an area that promises great opportunity – and challenge – for today’s and tomorrow’s information professionals.