published quarterly by the university of borås, sweden

vol. 24 no. 4, December, 2019

Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019

Information domains, information ethics

Kathleen Burnett and Gary Burnett.

Introduction. This paper begins with a discussion of information domains, a theoretical framework, which frames an examination of the ethical implications of digital technology use. The analysis focuses on two areas of concern in which moral disengagement appears to be implicated: cyberbullying and immigration.
Framework. The framework consists of three “domains” for understanding the role of information in people’s lives: the domain of the individual refers to the characteristics of individuals who seek, encounter, use, and otherwise interact with information. The domain of the social refers to the influences of the social contexts within which individuals live. The domain of signification refers to the broad set of representational tools and practices used to understand, embody, and communicate information.
Analysis. The theoretical framework is applied to analyses of information ethics in the contexts of cyberbullying and immigration policy, and is furthered by insights derived from the philosophy of information (Feenberg, 2010; Floridi, 2014, 2017).
Conclusion. Because these three domains interact with each other and function as the structure within which information has relevance in day-to-day life, analysis of how contemporary ethical norms are being re-ontologized by third order technology use (Floridi, 2014, 2017) needs to account for all three.

Information Domains

In recent years, the focus of Library and Information Science has paid increasing attention to non-library-centric issues, with information broadly conceptualized as a fundamental building block of culture, not limited to materials collected and housed within library walls, but central to day-to-day activity in all settings, inextricably interwoven with human interaction. This paper presents a framework for understanding the role and value of information in the construction of human meaning, particularly related to information ethics. It begins with a brief overview of this interconnected three-part framework.

Information domains, first outlined in Burnett, G. (2015) draws upon previous work in theory (e.g. Burnett, G., Besant, & Chatman, 2001; Burnett, G., & Jaeger, 2008; Burnett, G., Jaeger, & Thompson, 2008; Jaeger, & Burnett, G., 2010) as well as cultural and philosophical hermeneutics (e.g. Burnett, G., 2002; Burnett, G., Dickey, Kazmer, & Chudoba, 2003; Dickey, Burnett, G., Chudoba, & Kazmer, 2007; Burnett, G., 2010; Burnett, G., Whetstone, & Jaeger, 2013. It includes three “domains,” outlined below.

The Domain of the Individual

Much Library and Information Science research has emphasised the interaction between an individual and an information system of some sort (Case, 2007). Fundamental to this is the concept of information need as defined by Taylor (2015); such a need, in this formulation, structures the basic information seeking process. Much work of this sort (e.g. Belkin, 1980; Dervin, 1992; Kulthau, 1991) emphasises the individual as the primary unit of analysis, focusing on some combination of cognitive, affective, and other characteristics (though, in the case of Dervin at least, situated within a specific contextual “situation” external to the individual). Information need is defined in terms of individuals, who seek information because of their own unique interests and needs. As Case put it ‘the particular combination of [individual] person and situation’ (2007, p. 13) drives information behaviour. While users are never isolated entities independent of external influences, they are conceptualised as active and autonomous agents and are considered to be the appropriate focus for research on information behaviour. As Yu (2012, p. 5) states,

the informational properties of individuals … cannot be replaced by context-denoting concepts …. [A]n individual’s information world is a sphere of his/her lifeworld which the person experiences in the role of information agent … rather than social, economic or any other agent. (Yu, 2012, p. 5).

Within the domain of the individual, three factors play predominant roles: First, each individual perceives the world – as well as their own particular information needs – through their own unique cognitive characteristics, often defined, as in Belkin (1980) and Dervin (1992), as an anomalous state of knowledge or an information gap; individuals seek information to bridge this gap. Second, individuals experience information needs and the process of information seeking through the filter of their own emotions (see, e.g. Kulthau, 1991). And, finally, individuals interact with the world through their own particular physical characteristics, ranging from simple things such as height to more complex characteristics often defined as disabilities; for example, specific personal characteristics such as blindness or confinement to a wheelchair have direct implications for an individual’s ability to search for, find, and use information.

The Domain of the Social

Another strand of work has looked beyond individual activities and characteristics and concerned itself more with contextual and the social dimensions of information use. Individuals do not exist in isolation, but are situated in social contexts, influenced by the realities of those contexts. As Dervin notes, ‘there is a mandate to build conceptual system which would provide guidance’ (Dervin, 1997<, p. 15) for considering the role of context in information activities. A variety of work takes this approach, including Wiegand’s (2003, 2005) arguments for library as place and library in the life of the user. Fisher and her colleagues (Fisher, Durrance, & Hinton, 2004; Counts & Fisher, 2010) have explored how specific locations function as information grounds where information exchange is not only situated within a precise place but is also inextricably rooted in the social particulars of that place.

The work of Chatman (e.g. 1991, 1992, 1999, 2000; Burnett, G., Besant, & Chatman, 2001) turns away from a conceptualisation of the individual as the center of information-related phenomena, emphasizing social factors as the shapers of information behaviour within what she called small worlds. However, Chatman relies on an extremely constrained notion of the boundaries around those worlds, arguing that, while individual behaviours are meaningful only within their localized social worlds, such worlds are, themselves, isolated entities allowing few, if any influences from external forces into their settings (Burnett, G., Besant, & Chatman, 2001).

However, just as individuals exist within specific social settings, those settings exist within and are shaped by larger social groupings. The lives of participants within even the smallest worlds, such as inmates in a women’s prison (Chatman, 1999) are influenced not only by immediate surroundings but by external factors such as the social worlds of prison guards and administrators, and by the relationships between the prison and the worlds of the legal establishment and local, state, and national political and economic forces. Information, thus, is structured not only at the level of the individual, but is a critical part of the structure and interaction of social worlds across multiple levels.

Melding Chatman’s work with Habermas’ notion of the lifeworld – a culture-wide sum of all available information resources and channels within which both individuals and smaller social worlds are situated—the theory of information worlds (Jaeger & Burnett, G., 2010) proposes that, while individual characteristics play important roles in information behaviours, all information-related activities are also inextricably socially situated; the theory further proses that worlds are not all small, but exist at a wide variety of scales and sizes, from the absolutely localized (e.g. small families) to the global, and that these many “information worlds” interact with and influence each other in a variety of ways across different types of boundaries. Through social interaction, particular information worlds maintain their own social norms (commonly agreed-upon standards governing acceptable forms of observable behaviour) and information value (agreed-upon scales for assessing the relative importance of different kinds of information and the ways in which such information may be valued).

The domain of the social, although it focuses on social worlds rather than on individual users, denies neither the importance of individuals nor the relevance of individual preferences, cognitive, affective, or physical states; rather, it sees those characteristics and choices as being embedded within – not isolated from – the social world. Individuals are never fully free agents, but act within a set of social norms, constraints, values, and possibilities; conversely, social factors are not deterministic, but allow (within some constraints) variations across different individuals.

The Domain of Signification

Human users of information, whether conceptualised as individuals or as social groups, do not interact with information as an abstraction, but always as something encoded and communicated in some way via a material system of representation, whether writing, visualization, or some other medium for recording and storing—in a very literal sense, Buckland’s Information as Thing (1991). Information cannot be usefully conceptualised, sought, retrieved, or used without the mediation of representational practices.

Although it has not always been informed by linguistic or philosophical approaches, much library and information science work has examined the relationship between language and information. Much work focusing on retrieval and other information systems directly engages questions related to language, whether in the use of controlled vocabularies (see, for only one recent example, Gross, Taylor, & Joudrey, 2015) or the different ways in which information needs could be expressed by a user during a search interaction (Taylor, 2015). Other work has addressed the gap between natural language and more formalized vocabularies through approaches such as ontologies (see, for two examples, Compton, 2014; Willis & Losee, 2013), with methods sometimes borrowed from linguistics (see, for instance, Faith, 2013). Other work has examined automated approaches to approximate human language use (e.g. Workman & Stoddart, 2012) or to develop systems to automatically interpret and modify users’ queries (e.g. Symonds et. al, 2014), or has examined “crowd” approaches such as user tagging and folksonomies (e.g. Lin, Trattner, Brusilovsky, & He, 2015; Spiteri, 2007). Still more work builds upon versions of semiotics to investigate the role of signification, representation, interpretation, and the creation of meaning in information work (see, e.g. Thellesfsen et al., 2014; Liu, 2013, and Friedman & Smiraglia, 2013).

Much of this work emphasises the rootedness of information within two different systems outside of the individual: the semiotic system of language and representation, and the system of social discursive practices. An essential contribution of the more cognitively-oriented approaches to information, however, is that individuals cannot be removed from the equation; information, while unquestionably reliant upon some system of representation for its transmission, and while (equally unquestionably) imbued with meaning because of how it is embedded within social practices, is also sought and used by individuals for their own individual purposes.

Another approach to the domain of signification, drawing upon cultural and philosophical hermeneutics, more fully acknowledges this interconnectedness. Recent versions of hermeneutics theorise about how semiotically-encoded objects (e.g. texts) created in one time and place still communicate to readers in often radically different settings. As Hans-Georg Gadamer puts it, practices of representation—written language foremost among them—are ‘the fundamental mode of operation of our being-in-the-world and the all-embracing form of the constitution of the world’ (1976, p. 3). That is, the creation, dissemination, seeking, and use of information forms the heart of our engagement with—and understanding of—the world in which we live. Hermeneutics provides an ideal framework for conceptualising the entire life-cycle of information. Indeed, Ricoeur’s definition of a text as ‘a discourse told by somebody, said by somebody to someone else about something’ (1974, p. 30) equally applies to information. Information is created (and packaged) by someone with a particular intention and a vision of a potential audience, is about something, and is a ‘social phenomenon’ (1974, p. 31) involving a producer, a set of mediating factors (both objects and actions), and a receiver; it is our way of understanding the world.

Hermeneutic approaches have been proposed for library and information science research since at least 1989 (see Benediktsson, 1989), and have informed studies of numerous information-related phenomena (see, for example, Burnett, G., Whetstone, & Jaeger, Burnett, G., 2013; Burnett, G., 2002; Cohen, 1993; Murphy, 2005, among many others). As Hansson (2005) suggests, hermeneutics, because of its focus on the mediation of systems of signs in information activities and because of how it sees the individual and the social as inescapably intertwined, can provide a way forward.

Entwined Domains

These three domains—the individual, the social, and signification— are inextricably intertwined with one another. Individuals occupy social worlds and interact with one another through the mediation of signification. Conversely, the domain of the social is the context within which individuals live, exchange information, and engage with each other through signification and representational practices.

One implication of this is that information itself is neither static nor disengaged, but is, rather, one component of a complex process of interaction, mediation, and creation of meaning involving all three domains. In particular, information ethics, to which we now turn our attention, is a locus of interaction between individuals and other individuals, between individuals and social collectives, and across different social groupings; signification practices hold the entire process together and makes it work. In what follows, we examine two issues related to information ethics, informed by the three information domains.

Information Ethics

Information ethics explores the relationship between the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing human conduct. The technologies we use to facilitate and empower our individual information behaviours are signifiers in both the individual and the social domains, and may have lasting ethical consequences. Floridi (2017) characterizes this as “digital’s cleaving power”, or the power to couple, decouple, and recouple the world. Floridi locates this power in two characteristics of digital technology. First, it is a “third order technology,” and second, it has the capacity to “re-ontolgise” (Floridi 2014). First order technologies stand between us and nature (example: an axe); second order technologies stand between us and another technology (example: an engine); and third order technologies stand between a technology and another technology, ‘like a computerised system controlling a robot building a car’ (Floridi, 2017, p. 125). Floridi (2010) coined the term re-ontologise to describe the process of re-engineering ‘that not only designs, constructs, or structures a system (e.g. a company, a machine, or some artefact) anew but that fundamentally transforms its intrinsic nature, that is, its ontology’ (Floridi, 2017, p. 125). Information ethics is concerned with the ethical and moral codes governing human conduct. This is sufficient when dealing with first and second order technologies, since these require human initiation, participation, and oversight, but what about third order, re-ontologising technologies? Can moral agency be sustained without ongoing human presence, and if not, how does this affect well-being across the individual, social, and signification domains?

Third-Order Technology and Cyberbullying

During the early development, implementation, and proliferation of the digital sphere (particularly as manifested in and through the Internet), the effect of re-ontologising on moral agency was obscured by a fundamental misconception of the digital sphere as a ‘liminal’ space (Miller, 2014). This apparently transitional space between what was and what’s next operated for a time under a separate set of norms and conventions than those that govern information behaviour in real world civil society (Barlow, 1996; Turkle, 1997). This digital sphere, which began as a relatively unregulated, non-commercial experiment, quickly escalated into a technologically-mediated rhizome (Burnett, K. 1993) that is far more extensive and dynamic in its affordances than we ever could have imagined. Privitisation, commercialisation, and internationalisation of the Internet have problematised our assumptions about its liminality. Once described as the new frontier, the digital is no longer separable from real life. Miller (2012) points to online suicide as an extreme example of how inextricably interdependent the digital and real life have become. Cyberbullying is another example of the ethical problematic that people encountering and interacting with one another on- and offline has generated.

Patchin and Hinduja define the act of cyberbullying as ‘when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices” (2015, p. 72). Attempts to establish the frequency of occurrence of cyberbullying and the change in that frequency over time have been inconclusive, but all agree that it is a pervasive problem that crosses most of the standard demographic markers. While the majority of the research on cyberbullying focuses on teens in middle and high school (e.g., Anderson & Anderson, 2018; Dennehy, Cronin, & Arensmen, 2019; Smith, et al., 2008), recent studies indicate that victimisation extends into higher education, and that bullies are often adults (Elçi, & Seçkin, 2019; Luker, & Curchack, 2017; Watts, et al., 2017). Likewise, although not usually labeled as cyberbullying, online harassment of older adults appears to be on the rise (Elueze, & Quan-Haase, 2018).

In many cases, cyberbullying manifests as an individual act, perpetrated by a single bully on a single victim, but even in those cases where involvement is limited to just two individuals, the consequences of cyberbullying invariably reverberate across the social domain, whether through support or denial, ethical engagement or moral disengagement. As mentioned earlier, individuals are never fully free agents, and the extent to which an act is perceived to be cyberbullying may vary among the victim, the perpetrator, and the information world in which they are embedded. While cyberbullying is usually a deliberate act of defiance of a set of social norms, constraints, values and possibilities set by society, it is also possible that the victim, the perpetrator, and the information world may each define cyberbullying differently, and with reference to conflicting contexts or circumstances. Because bully and victim are not physically co-present with each other, and may not in fact be co-present in each other’s immediate information worlds, many interpretations of the act itself are possible.

While analysis of cyberbullying from an individual behavioural perspective may be useful in predicting and reducing occurrences, and in protecting and assisting victims, the phenomenon also needs to be approached with full acknowledgement of its social context and implications. This kind of analysis has the potential to expose components and consequences of cyberbullying that might otherwise be missed. For example, the effects of harm propagated by the revelation to others of information (whether true or not) that the victim did not voluntarily share (or may have deliberately hidden) often extend beyond the victim to their friends, family, employers, and community. Because of the permanence of the written record, the consequences may extend indefinitely into the future.

Cyberbullying is equally a form of technologically-mediated signification executed through layers of signifiers that may obfuscate the intentions, and, almost certainly, the real life identity of the bully. In this sense cyberbullying is fundamentally different from most (but not all) acts of traditional bullying, which rely on physical co-presence of the bully and the victim. In co-present bullying, the physicality of the act usually disambiguates intentions and simplifies identification. While the physically co-present bully may hide their identity from everyone but the victim, there can be little question to the two primary actors that the individual committing the act is in fact responsible. Cyberbullying is another matter. It is conceivable that a cyberbully will retain the cloak of anonymity in perpetuity, never being identified by the victim or anyone else.

Cyberbullies often use either messaging or social media apps, or both. As mobile digital technology has come to play an increasingly prominent and instrumental part in our everyday lives, the boundaries between physical and digital presence have become less distinct. Feenberg describes this as the Paradox of Means: ‘today, not only are you what you do, but even more emphatically you are what you use’ (2010, p. 10). The nature of presence has been re-ontologised by the integration of the digital sphere into everyday life, but our moral conception of presence is still that of geographic co-location, which is dependent on co-presence and proximity. While physical co-presence is the norm in traditional bullying, in cyberbullying the anonymity of the bully and lack of co-presence with the victim is de rigeur. Cyberbullying incidents often involve perpetrators and victims who have never met, but even if this is not the case, technological mediation not only shields the bully from the victim, it also makes it possible for bully to forget the victim. The combination of anonymity and lack of co-presence afforded by mediation through mobile digital technology not only distances the cyberbully from moral obligation to the victim, but creates a cyber identity for the bully that is distinct from that of the individual in real life. The domain of the individual is compromised, affording the bully the opportunity to act immorally within the apparently liminal digital sphere, while maintaining a sense of moral well-being in everyday life. Since victims rarely know anything about their harassers, they often fail to report cyberbullying. They believe that since perpetrators are cloaked in anonymity, they cannot be traced (Patchin, & Hinduja, 2015). The cyberbully can commit moral outrage online with impunity and without moral obligation as long as the myth of liminality persists, but for the victim there is no moral or legal recourse. The cyberbully becomes more like a computerised system controlling a robot building a car, the pre-programmed purpose of which is to run over an unseen and unacknowledged victim.

Re-ontologising Immigration

Digital’s cleaving is apparent in areas of our lives that we do not particularly associate with either digital technology or information exchange. As both travel and exchange of information across borders have become more fluid and commonplace, attitudes toward the immigration of bodies across those same borders have hardened. This hardening is symptomatic of a re-ontologising of national boundaries, and is clearly evident in the ongoing Brexit debates, and in the responses of European nations to the plight of Syrian refugees seeking relief, relocation, and asylum.

Nowhere, however, is it so clearly symbolized as in the current controversy in the United States over building a wall along its border with Mexico. President Trump’s wall is a symbol for the seemingly ever-mounting fear in White America of the other. ‘Build the Wall’, a political slogan developed by Trump’s campaign advisers to tie his experience as a real estate developer to his anti-immigration policy proposals, quickly became the campaign’s rallying cry (Davis & Baker, 2019). Since the election, there have been repeated reports that children have used the chant to bully their Latinx (and other not-White, not-Christian) classmates (Larimer, 2016; Goldberg, 2019). Two years later, in the face of congressional refusal to allocate $7 billion for building this wall, Trump signed a Declaration of National Emergency, declaring a crisis and requiring money allocated for other purposes be used instead to build the wall. In February 2019, Congress passed a joint resolution to overturn the emergency order, but President Trump vetoed it, and in August 2019 a court-ruling upheld his right to redirect national defense funding for this purpose. The state of emergency was declared not out of empathy for the desperate people fleeing intolerable and often life-threatening situations in Central America, but for relatively well-off people of the United States who might be asked to clothe, feed, and employ them. In so doing, he characterised asylum seekers as terrorists, playing off the post-911 conflation of Muslim people with terrorism to brand all non-White United States citizens as a monolithic, threatening other, whose presumed mission is not to escape tyranny, but to destroy democracy and plunder our wealth and endanger our happiness. In the terms of the framework of Information Domains, all of this – in part because of the often-extreme rhetoric involved – can be seen as an effort to deploy the tools of the domain of signification to redefine the country’s relationship to both certain classes of individuals and certain “outside” social groups, or, in Floridi’s terms, to re-ontologise immigration as a threat equivalent to terrorism. The others, in this case, have been transformed into signifiers themselves; that is, they are cast not as individuals or communities who may deserve empathy, but as dehumanised representations of a myriad of dangers and threats.

Throughout history and across cultures, the otherwise unsupportable goals of segregation and genocide that these attitudes support have been re-ontologised through the suppression of information and the deliberate spread of misinformation. While they used different tactics, both the Nazis and American slaveholders were masters of propaganda (a form of signification), who were frighteningly successful at convincing segments of the population that they were inherently better, and deserved more, than those around them. In the end, the Nazi information campaign diminished both the quality and quantity of the printed scholarly record so severely that it ceased to have any credibility (Richards, 1984), and American slaveholders recast slavery as an act of benevolence (Jemison, 2013).

Fake news is the current phrase used by President Trump and others to refer to what at various times in the past has been dubbed yellow journalism (during the Spanish American War) or propaganda (especially during the period encompassing World War II and the subsequent Cold War), but Trump and his supporters have re-ontologised this concept in the context of the age of big data. While Hearst and Pulitzer certainly sensationalized events and sometimes invented facts, their primary motive consistently remained the sale of more newspapers; monetary rather than political gain was their objective (Murphy, 2018). They were famously successful within this limited purview, but ultimately their competitive showmanship had little influence on the public’s perception of the world around them. Trump and his media supporters (including both traditional and social media) go several steps further, in the interest of accomplishing explicit political goals. In an environment where information must be “mined” from a limitless sea of data, it is easy to declare facts to be false and lies to be truth. For example, the anti-immigration rhetoric paints a picture of a crowded nation that cannot provide sufficient employment for its “native” population, but population growth in the United States is on the slow side when compared to other nations (0.7%-0.9% per year), and the birth rate has declined steadily since 1978 to a current 1.8 births per woman. While immigration does contribute to maintaining healthy population growth in the United States, it does not appear to have had a significant impact on unemployment, which remains low, both historically and when compared to other nations. According to population projections by the United Nations, even considering current levels of immigration, Nigeria’s population will likely exceed that of the United States by 2050 (United Nations, 2017). New York, which is the largest city in the United States, is just over half the size of many cities in Asia. While the population of the United States is largely comprised of multiple generations of immigrants, and is as diverse and multi-ethnic as any other nation on the globe, segments of its population digest the misinformation fed to them to justify their position that current national immigration policies not only threaten their individual and social identities (which are still perceived as monoethnic), but also their basic constitutional rights. Instead of empathy for the suffering of immigrants and asylum seekers in crisis, this vocal minority proudly flies the flag of selfishness. As Feenberg (2010) indicates in his paradox of the parts and the whole, these kinds of situations are complex. As long as the public is willing to accept unexamined statements as facts, the situation will continue and its effects will intensify. On the other hand, this situation could only have emerged in an environment in which false information is shared freely, and accepted without question if it is seen to come from the ‘right’ people. In other words, as long we believe that the origin ‘of complex wholes lies in their parts’ or individuals, we will continue to hold ‘the whole to which they belong’ inculpable (Feenberg, 2010, p. 4), and in so doing, we will re-ontologise immigration.

Information, and particularly the control of dissemination of information, plays a crucial role in re-ontologising immigration. Recently, the government refused to supply information to researchers at Syracuse University, who have, since 1989, systematically requested, compiled, and made available to the public and press national government statistical data about asylum and immigration cases. In April 2019 Susan Long (co-founder and co-director), reported that their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information began stalling the previous month (Kutz, 2019). They were told that the Department of Justice was initiating a new review. Several data fields were withheld, including the fields that indicate whether individuals have filed for asylum in immigration court, and where potential immigrants are located during the immigration process. The government has cited concerns for protecting individual privacy in the data, but according to Long all data are aggregated, and individual identification is impossible. The database, known as Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), has been used by the press since its establishment in 1989 in immigration news reporting. It is also used by legal aid groups to track locations for assignment of pro bono attorneys to cases with the greatest need, and by government watchdogs to ensure compliance with federal law.

The suppression of information is in this case ethically fraught and suggests that moral agency cannot be sustained in a re-ontologised digital world. The most immediate and direct affect is at the individual level: individual immigrants and asylum seekers may not receive legal advice and representation that otherwise would be made available to them, which could ultimately affect whether they are deported or allowed to remain in the United States. Suppression of this information that has been routinely made available for 30 years is also troubling in its societal implications. Without these ‘facts’, compiled directly from data collected by the government itself, the population of the United States cannot judge the veracity of the information supplied to it by that very same government. Through a single act of suppression, the government has rendered information itself static and disengaged it from the involvement in the complex process of interaction, mediation, and creation of meaning. If re-ontologising is re-engineering ‘that not only designs, constructs, or structures a system (e.g. a company, a machine, or some artefact) anew but that fundamentally transforms its intrinsic nature, that is, its ontology’ (Floridi, 2017, p. 125), what hopes are there for democracy?


In this paper we have applied the Information Domains framework to understanding the way that digital’s cleaving is re-ontologising information ethics in people’s lives, through an analysis of information practices in cyberbullying and immigration policy. In applying the framework, we have demonstrated how this entwined analysis provides means to meld the cognitive, affective, and physical characteristics of individuals who seek, encounter, use, and otherwise interact with information (individual domain), through the interactions and mediations that influence the social settings and contexts (social domain) within which individuals create and exchange meaning (domain of signification). Because these three domains interact with each other and function as the structure that information exists within and has relevance in day-to-day life, analysis of how contemporary ethical norms are being re-ontologized by third order technology use (Floridi, 2014, 2017) needs to account for all three.

About the authors

Kathleen Burnett is professor at and director of College of Communication & Information, Florida State University, United States. Her research interests are Social Informatics; Gender, Race, and Ethnicity and IT; Disciplinary Identity. She can be contacted at kburnett@fsu.edu.
Gary Burnett is professor at College of Communication & Information, Florida State University, United States. His research focuses on the intersection between information exchange, social norms, and social interaction in online settings, with a particular focus on textuality and interpretive practices. He can be contacted at gburnett@fsu.edu.


How to cite this paper

Burnett, K. & Burnett, G. (2019). Information domains, information ethics. In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019. Information Research, 24(4), paper colis1942. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1942.html (Archived by the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20191217182431/http://informationr.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1942.html)

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