In an earlier post, I argued that DAM professionals should establish a core set of values that strengthen our profession by holding us to a set of high standards. In contrast, a code of ethics deals with fundamental questions of right and wrong. Having a professional code of ethics would help us to prioritize aspects of our profession should they come into friction with one another in the future. Here’s an example: when establishing roles and permissions (aka Access Control Lists) should we allow full access to everyone or pair curated asset collections with user groups who would find them most useful? Similar to our core values, a code of ethics would not prescribe what to do in specific situations but would serve as a guide for us to make our own decisions. Below is my code of ethics, adapted from ALA Code of Ethics and AMIA’s Code of Ethics.
As a DAM professional I promise to:
- curate digital collections appropriate to the community I serve
- protect the value of digital content for its intellectual, technical, cultural, historical, and/or artistic significance
- ensure equity of access to, and availability of, digital content
- provide the highest degree of access to digital content without infringing on current copyright or intellectual property rights laws
- keep my personal convictions from interfering with my professional duties
- maintain and enhance my knowledge and skills, encourage the professional development of co-workers, and foster the aspirations of potential members of the DAM profession
- to remain platform and vendor neutral
- respect the confidentiality of the users, colleagues, and employers I serve
- treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith
- share as much information, expertise, and technical knowledge as possible, and to assist colleagues so that they may maintain and improve the condition of digital assets in their care
How do you ensure ethical content stewardship in your work?
Rubin, R. (2010). Foundations of library and information science (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
Thank you, Ian, for this very well thought out article. Having come from a library and archive background myself, I’ve always taken code of ethics very seriously. Your adaptation of the AMIA and ALA Codes are well-rooted and, hopefully, considered by all DAM practitioners.