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Ethical issues in the analysis and representation of images: a content analysis of the ISKO meetings proceedings

The analysis and representation of images is a big issue for the construction of the narratives of the world and its documentation process (see, for instance, the pioneer work of the BBC news information librarian Geoffrey Whatmore, 1978). Media knowledge organisers and other information professionals not only have a great responsibility for the retrieval of those images, but also face many ethical challenges as they have the power of adding and omitting points of views in their descriptions (García-Gutiérrez and Martínez-Ávila 2014). In this sense, information professionals have an ethical commitment with the users, as they must meet their information needs in an ethical way in order not to distort the construction of new knowledge. The importance of ethics in knowledge organisation has been highlighted in the work of Hope Olson (e.g. 2002), Clare Beghtol (e.g. 2005), Joe Tennis (e.g. 2013), and Jens-Erik Mai (2013), among others. In 2015, Guimarães et al. conducted a research on “the ethical values in knowledge organisation and representation”, and presented five groups of values: respect for the diversity of the user, respect for the diversity of the indexing language, respect for the diversity of the document, professional competence, reliability of the processes and products. Based on these groups of values, this paper aims to study how these ethical aspects are being presented in the ISKO literature on analysis and representation of images, working with the sample of the ISKO International meetings proceedings. This sample was analyzed using basic bibliometric techniques, in order to reveal publication patterns, and a Bardinian content analysis for the content (Bardin 1977). The analyses concluded that the analysis and representation of images is an underresearched topic in knowledge organisation (at least in the ISKO international meetings). The ethical approach in the analysis and representation of images is also concluded to be underresearched. On the other hand, we detected that works on the topic are more likely to be related to digital contexts and, authors that work with practical applications leaning to technologies, software, databases, and the like, seem to be less concerned with epistemological questions.