May 24, 2022

The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the Focus of the Latest Issue of ARL’s Research and Library Issues

From an Introductory Blog Post by Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

The latest issue of Research Library Issues (RLI) opens a conversation about the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of knowledge production, dissemination, and preservation.

AI is rapidly becoming ubiquitous. With so much underway in the field of AI, there is a need for research libraries to act, starting with clarifying AI ethics policies, principles, and practices.

To frame this discussion, we invited three individuals to share their expertise and recommendations in this issue of RLI. In the first article, Sylvester Johnson, the founding director of the Center for Humanities and the assistant vice provost for the humanities at Virginia Tech, focuses on the role of ethics in innovation. AI, like other influential technologies, can be a force for innovation, and is known to have harmful as well as helpful implications, which Johnson examines.

Within the broad context of policy and principles, there is an opportunity for research libraries to make a difference today—explainable artificial intelligence (XAI). In the second article, Michael Ridley, Librarian Emeritus at the University of Guelph, PhD candidate at Western University, and postgraduate affiliate at Vector Institute, defines XAI, and situates it in the context of privacy, opacity, and trust.

Geneva Henry, dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation at The George Washington University, ties it all together with an article on the role of the research library in formulating and implementing institutional policy based on the needs of the users, and in the context of public policy. Starting out with an assessment of national investments in AI, Henry emphasizes the role of policies that promote ethically responsible practice.

In This Issue
Research Library Issues no. 299 (2019)

Direct to Complete Issue (66 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.