Globalization and Library and Information Science: Ethical Challenges

Globalization and Library and Information Science: Ethical Challenges

Ismail Abdullahi (North Carolina Central University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6433-3.ch070
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Abstract

Globalization is a complex set of partly contradictory forces. Driven by technological and transportation and, as in the case of libraries, high and fast transfer of information, globalization has accelerated tremendously. There are those who think globalization affects the nation, especially the developing world. They feel that their culture is fragmented as Western values and ways of life are becoming dominant, and others think that globalization creates new opportunities for those who are left out of economically, culturally, and in trade. For the development of libraries, political stability and economic growth are essential resources. At the same time, we understand that libraries are part of cultural institutions. If as some think, globalization takes away certain powers from nation-states, are libraries able to develop and preserve the nation's heritage in such environments? This chapter examines the ethical implication of globalization in the development of library and information science.
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Globalization And Cultural Diversity

One claim that has been made repeatedly over the last twenty years is that globalization creates a homogeneous world in which cultures are lost: “It is often said that the success of economic globalization tends towards social and cultural homogeneity” (González, 2003, p. 23). These allegations have been related mostly in discussions of multinational corporations. The premise of a homogeneous world has also been called the Americanization of the world.

It should be pointed out that globalization is not a new event or process Many have commented “the world economy was just as globalized 100 years ago as it is today” (IMF Staff, 2000). In fact, it could be argued that globalization began centuries ago but the difference is that commerce is fare more integrated in the world economy today than ever before and it is this greater integration that some argue is destroying cultures. (IMF Staff 2000).

The definition of Globalization encompasses a host of interwoven complex processes that includes amongst other things: increasing transnational movement of capital, goods, and people; closer ties via new communications technologies; a more complex international division of labor as a result of the dispersal of the production of goods and services to a number of different locations; a rapid turnover of ideas, of images, and of patterns and objects of consumption; a growing awareness of risks and dangers that threaten the world as a whole; a quantitative increase in, and growth in importance of, transnational institutions and globally interlinked political movements. What is involved is thus the interpenetration of these processes both horizontally and vertically, and at national, sub national, and transnational levels (Randeria 1998)

What are some of the impacts globalization has created in human life? Gorman (2000) reminds us the impact created by the following:

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