Friday, 18 December 2009

Ethics and the Web

This blog is concerned with questions relating to the dissemination of the Duchas archive. One of the first proposals for dissemination of the archive was to secure a web presence, however, this raises many issues, funding, ethics, who decides what goes on line and what does not. Since its inception in 2000 contributors to the archive have been made aware that the archive is a public archive, however, technological advances have added a new dimension to what is considered the public domain since the inception of the archive. There is a very different sense to having ones story heard in a building locally to having it out there on the world wide web. This raises an ethical question, while the contributors have signed consent to have their stories heard in the public domain, should they be consulted as to whether they want all or part of their stories on the internet? Needless to say there are all sorts of implications in addressing this issue. What format does a new consent form take, is it enough to write to the contributors or should somebody go and discuss the issue with them. Both strategies involve staff time as well as other costs, however, the archive is committed to ethical practice. These are questions which need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

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