Parliamentary Research & Library Service Ethics
The IFLA Section for Library & Research Services for Parliaments identified in 2016/17 that, although it had developed quite extensive guidance on setting up and running a parliamentary service, there is no general guidance on how to manage ethical issues. While there are general standards for ethics in the library profession, and for academic research, as well as standards for public services in general, there are specific ethical issues in parliamentary research and library services that require management. While some services have explicit policies covering at least some of these issues, comprehensive models are rare and there is no common approach.
A presentation from the 2017 Pre-Conference explains the issue and its significance. The work done at the 2017 Pre-Conference showed that there were many real, practical, ethical issues facing services and there was enthusiasm to develop general guidance.
Creating immediately a general standard of ethics would be challenging, not least due to the diversity of situations IFLA member services are in, with very different histories and contexts. Insteas, the approach is to develop a series of checklists that are intended as a working tool for individual services, which may help them to identify issues and risks, and take some action where they find it appropriate and possible. The use of the checklists may eventually lead to some agreement on common standards, or at least common aspirations, but that is not the primary purpose now
At our 2018 pre-conference we will be holding a workshop to look at some of the main points and issues that came out of those discussions. The aim is to establish - through workshops and through online consultations - which aspects are seen as valid and important by the community of parliamentary research & library services.
Last update: 3 August 2018