#FacultyFriday Spotlight: Norman Mooradian

MARA Blog

Published: April 27, 2018 by Katie Kuryla 

If you are planning on taking a one credit summer course for MARA, you would have seen Norman Mooradian’s name come up with the ethics class. I had the opportunity my first summer to take Ethics and it was a wonderful class. Norman is such a great teacher and he really knows his subject but as you will read, he has been in the business for almost 20 years. If you get the opportunity for the summer to take his class or are planning on taking his class, take it from me, it’s well worth learning about ethics in records management! Thank you Norman for taking the time to let us get to know you! – Katie

Self

I currently work as a senior solutions analyst for a global technology company in the Enterprise Content Management group, which the group is part of a larger information technology services division. My responsibilities include business analysis, solution architecture, documentation, and training.  I have worked in information management/content managed for close to 20 years. My industry focus is in the government sector, but I have done projects in other sectors as well. My disciplinary focus is information governance, with electronic records management, public records, and information privacy being core interests. Artificial Intelligence is another interest from both a technical and ethical perspective, but AI has not fully infiltrated ECM just yet, so I am waiting for an opportunity to incorporate it into my ECM work.

I started my career in academia, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Ohio State University. My dissertation was in the history of philosophy, in the areas of ethics and moral psychology.  I gravitated toward philosophical ethics early on in my teaching career. When I left full time teaching (for familial reasons) to begin a career in the information technology field, I could see a lot of commonality between the fields, especially in their analytic methodologies and their attempt make tacit understandings of things explicit and formal.  From the beginning of my career in the information fields, the relation of computing to both knowledge and ethics was a central, driving interest. This led me to begin teaching business ethics at CSU Pomona as a lecturer and to publish academic articles in topics such as sales ethics, virtual reality, information privacy, and knowledge management. While teaching business ethics, the idea of a book on ethics in records and information management developed.

Book

The original idea behind the book project was to create educational content that laid a foundation for a professional / applied ethics for the information fields. Teaching business and professional ethics, and studying allied field such a finance/accounting, medical, engineering, and communication ethics, it became clear that there was no professional ethics for the information fields.  There were excellent books written in law, philosophy, economics and other areas about societal issues such as the impact of automation and robotics on work, privacy and individual freedom, the internet and censorship, etc., but nothing that had the shape and content of a professional ethics for practitioners in the field of information and records management.

I began the project then with the goal of writing a book that would serve as a contribution to the development of a field of applied or professional ethics for practitioners who manage content and records for organizations.  The book is structured to realize this objective. It presents a framework of ethical principles and concepts that are widely accepted and used by ethicists and legal scholars and which form the basis of laws and regulations.  It develops the framework into a complete system that can be applied to problems that arise for information professionals. It also provides an overview of methods of ethical reasoning that can be used to support decision making and effective communication with stakeholders.  

After laying down foundations in concepts and methods, the book addresses topics in the information fields. These include professional ethics, conflict of interest, confidentiality, business ethics, stakeholder management, intellectual property, whistleblowing and leaks, information privacy ethics, privacy by design, and information governance.  The book includes an appendix that that summarizes the main points in the five chapters for easy reference. The book will be published late spring / early summer by the ALA under the title Ethics for Records and Information Management.

Class

The class, MARA 284 Ethics for Archivists and Records and Information Management Professionals, offered as a 1 unit special session course this summer (July 5 to August 3), is based on the content book. Its main modules address ethics, professional ethics, whistleblowing / leaks, and information privacy.  The objective of the course, like the book, is to equip information professional with knowledge in ethics that will directly support their daily work and career progression. In addition to the book, I include legal and compliance materials on the topics covered. These include professional codes, information privacy authorities, copyright and trade secrets law.

The inclusion of legal authorities is meant to bridge ethics and compliance in order to provide a more unified information governance vision.  As new laws and regulations emerge in response to developments such as the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica incident and others, this foundation will be particularly useful.

Class assignments are meant to provoke critical reflection on ethical issues and synthesis / integration in relation to students’ areas of interest and career objects.  Assignments consist of discussion questions that allow students to exchange ideas, as well as a weekly short writing piece on the module’s main topics. Readings and assignments aim to provide students with a set of tools that will help them analyze ethical and legal issues and communicate their reasoning effectively.