University libraries offer services that generate data about how students and faculty use knowledge sources and engage with teaching and learning. In an era of Big Data there is mounting pressure to use these data, something that challenges the professional ethics of librarians. This paper explores how Norwegian librarians position themselves in relation to the new phenomenon of learning analytics, which would like to process library data to help improve learning and its contexts. A literature review shows that librarians in general are highly sceptical to let any information that is not anonymised out of their hands to be used by other professions. However, library data is increasingly being shared with third parties as part of development of library systems and practices. In a survey presented in this paper Norwegian librarians were asked about their willingness to take part in analytics and data sharing. The findings show that even if librarians in general do not want to share data that reveals personal information, their resistance will depend on the consent of the students, and to which degree librarians themselves are involved in processing and analysis of the data. This study identifies learning analytics as a field the library community should engage with, and the authors give their advice on what should be focussed to sustain librarians’ professional ethics related to use of library data.
Copyright (c) 2018 Tore Hoel, Weiqin Chen, Anne-Berit Gregersen
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The copyright for articles in this journal are retained by the author(s). First publication rights are granted to the journal. By virtue of their apperance in this open access journal, articles are free to be used with proper attribution in educational and other non-commercial settings. Authors also extend to the Editors the right to redistribute their articles via other scholarly resources and bibliographic databases at their discretion. This extension allows the authors' copyrighted content to be included in some databases that are distributed and maintained by for-profit companies.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.