Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession”

CSEP would like to announce the availability of “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” by Dr. Michael Davis.

In 1993, the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) formed a joint committee to help organize software developers and engineers into a profession. As part of this project, a sub-committee of professionals, academics, and members of ACM and IEEE-CS began work drafting a code of ethics for software engineers through electronic mail. After four years of online discussion and revision, version 5.2 of the Software Engineer’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice was adopted by IEEE-CS and ACM in 1998. Since then, the code has been adopted by software engineering and computer societies worldwide.
Members of the subcommittee drafting the code of ethics did so via an email discussion list, and from the beginning members of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions were participant observers in the project. The entire discussion is documented in an online archive that was launched in late 2007. Dr. Michael Davis, CSEP’s associate fellow, has written an account of how the code was developed based on his own participation in the project and his interviews with key participants and committee members. “Code Making: How Software Engineering Became a Profession” gives insight in how the two professional societies went about establishing software engineering as a profession and drafting a code of ethics, and also looks at this project as a case study to see how other organizations can better go about writing and revising their own codes of ethics in the future. The full text of this account is now available for download off the CSEP Web site.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Library Closed for Martin Luther King Day

The library will be closed January 19th in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. We will resume normal hours on January 20th.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Voluntary Reporting Schemes and Nanotechnology

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its interim report on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program, a voluntary reporting scheme that was launched in January of last year. According to the report, twenty-nine companies or associations submitted information to the EPA on 123 nanoscale materials by December 8, 2008. In the In-depth Program, only four companies agreed to work with the EPA and others on a plan for the development of data on representative nanoscale materials over a longer time frame. In the report, the EPA considers the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program a success, but recognizes that gaps in environmental health and safety information still exist that the Agency had hoped to fill through the program. The agency is considering how to best use testing and information gathering authorities granted under the Toxic Substances Control Act to help address these gaps.

The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA also ran a pilot voluntary reporting scheme from September of 2006 to September of 2008. According to the Seventh Quarterly Report of the program, they received eleven submissions to the program, nine from industry and two from academia during this period. DEFRA has yet to release a final review of the success of this program.

For reactions to the interim report, see the Environmental Defense Fund’s recent blog entry, "Nano Confessions: EPA all but concedes mandatory reporting and testing are needed." In 2005, the EDF and other stakeholders recommended that the EPA adopt a mandatory reporting scheme during a public meeting held by the EPA on the potential for developing a voluntary pilot program for reporting information about engineered nanoscale materials.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ethics Bowl mentioned in special issue of the U.S. News & World Report

The Ethics Bowl was mentioned in a special end of the year issue of the U.S. World & News report, in an article entitled “50 Ways to Improve Your Life-Learn Philosophy.” Founded by IIT’s Dr. Robert Ladenson in 1993, the Ethics Bowl has grown to include over 93 colleges nationwide, and a number of professional organizations and high schools have started holding their own competitions. The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Championship will be held on March 5, 2009 in Cincinnati, at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Best of luck to all participating teams!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Codes of Ethics Resources

Many of the reference questions we receive at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions are from individuals who are in the process of either writing or revising their organization’s codes of ethics. The Codes of Ethics Collection is a very good starting place to see the types of codes that have been developed by other, similar organizations. Alternately, we have just updated and revised our Bibliography on codes of ethics. This includes sections about codes of ethics in general (their purpose, authority, and use), articles and online resources for writing or revision a code of ethics, as well as a list of books that include case studies to help you become familiar with how to use your profession’s code of ethics. If you have any comments or suggestions on materials you think should be added to this list, please let us know.

Monday, January 5, 2009

IIT Intersession Hours

During Intersession, CSEP Library will be open our normal hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m to 5 p.m.