Integrating LIS : My LIS511 Bibliography and Essay

Anyone who has read my blog for more than a few months knows that I took Bibliography with Dr. Krummel last Fall. My project in that class was a short bibliographical essay and an annotated bibliography on the connections between Roy Harris and Birger Hjørland in preparation for my capstone CAS paper.

Recently I converted the Word docs to one HTML file and posted it on the Writings page of my website. It is available there under the Library Science section. Or just click here: The Epilogue that Started It All; or, Integrating LIS (Harris and Hjørland ): A bibliographical essay and annotated bibliography.

All in all, having re-read it recently, I am quite pleased. I have no doubt that both theorists could find something to contest and I am fine with that. It would only help me grow in my awareness and use of their ideas. Clearly, I would welcome any feedback from them. In fact, if I can muster up the courage soon then I will write to both of them and explain what I am trying to do. I guess in Dr. Hjørland’s case I just need to point him to it as we have already had some discussion on the matter.

With any luck I am going to insert the short essay here. Assuming that it works then you’ll have to go to webpage to see the bibliography itself (which I consider the better part). I do still need to put COinS data in that page though. There is DC in the page so Zotero will see it but only the page and not the individual references. I also interlinked the bibliography both internally and externally, although I did not with the essay as I felt it would distract somewhat from it. Probably silly and I may change my mind in time.

OK. I went and linked them here although I have not on the web page itself. Also, you should be aware that many of the Hjørland papers can be found at dLIST. Just be sure to check his name with and without the “ø” as there are currently 27 papers in dLIST with it and 1 with an “o”. Sorry. I refuse to do all of the work for you. ;)


This bibliographical essay and supporting annotated bibliography is, in effect,
a warm-up for my Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) paper. That project will attempt to (1) outline a theory of communication and linguistics called Integrationism and its critique of orthodox views of linguistics; (2) provide a brief overview of the major paradigms of information science, with a short critique of the physical and cognitive viewpoints, and (3) situate Integrationism within Hjørland’s socio-cognitive domain analysis.

This essay and bibliography will focus on the connections and possible overlap between, primarily, two prolific scholars, Roy Harris, emeritus professor of General Linguistics in the University of Oxford, founder of Integrationism, and Birger Hjørland, proponent of the socio-cognitive paradigm and domain analysis in Information Science (IS).

For Hjørland, epistemology is central to work in IS (1998f), defending particular theories and epistemologies is important (2007a), if our theories and epistemologies have no practical implications then they are of no consequence (2007a), and one must argue against a discipline’s theoretical and methodological principles if one finds fault with those principles (Hjørland 1997a).

Roy Harris has been doing just that—arguing against the theoretical and methodological principles of orthodox linguistics for over 30 years. Harris is the founder of Integrationism, a radical view of communication and language. Harris’ main critique centers on what he calls the Language Myth (1981), but Integrationism offers a broad critique of the history of Western thought on language for over two millennia.

My intention for my CAS paper is to take a quick look at the meta-theoretical paradigms or views in LIS, with a specific focus on Hjørland’s socio-cognitive view and domain analysis. Once I have situated my commitments to an overarching view within LIS, I will then focus on what it might mean if LIS were to take seriously the Integrationist views of language and communication.

There is a lot of overlap, if only one direct connection, between Hjørland and Harris. Hjørland (2007a) cites Harris (2005a) in a footnote on the topic of pragmatist semantics and philosophy of science, and says, “Harris (2005) provides an important critique of the semantic assumptions generally made in science” (396). As far as I have been able to discern this is the only direct citation either way.

Both authors are committed to the view that theories, epistemologies, and unexamined assumptions are important; that one should defend those they believe; and that they do, in fact, matter. Our theories, viewpoints, epistemologies, assumptions and myths should, and generally do, have practical or pragmatic effects in the world. Both would question what those effects are and whether they are effects we are or should be willing to accept.

Domain analysis is predicated on a division of labor in society (1997a, 2002f, 2004f). Harris and Hjørland both critique that division of labor within their own and surrounding disciplines (Harris, any, in particular 1996; Hjørland and Albrechtsen 1995a, Hjørland 2004f).

For the Integrationist there are three communicational parameters applicable to “the identification of signs within the temporal continuum.” The biomechanical “relates to the physical and mental capacities of the individual participants”; the macrosocial “relates to practices established in the community or some group within the community”; and the circumstantial “relates to the specific conditions obtaining in a particular communication situation” (Harris, 2005b).

Hjørland’s work across time (1995a, 2002d, 2004f) has reflected much that parallels the three parameters of Integrationism but has grown even more so recently (2007a, 2007f). Several quick examples should suffice to demonstrate this.

Information seeking in a biological sense is reflective of the biomechanical (1995a, 406). Document and genre studies’ role in domain analysis reflects the macrosocial (2002d, 436-438), as does his view of languages for special purposes serving different communicative needs (2002d, 444). “According to the domain-analytic framework, the meaning of a term can only be understood from the context in which it appears” (2002d, 413) is highly similar to “all signs are products of the communication situation” (International Association) and they both reflect the circumstantial.

Synonymy and “when is a semantic relation” are discussed by Hjørland in (2007a, 379-380) and (2001c), while synonymy is the subject of Harris’ dissertation and first book (1973).

In (2007f), Hjørland critiques the “modern, Western discourses of LIS” (2), which he labels as “positivist, ahistorical and decontextualized” (3). This is a decades long critique by Harris on linguistics and Western discourse about language. In the same paper Hjørland describes controlled vocabularies as representing “a ‘prescriptive’ or ‘normative’ KOS” that have been passed off as neutral and objective (7). Integrationism considers language to be normative (Taylor). Thus, controlled vocabularies will also be normative. The issue is to provide multiple vocabularies to expose and make usable different norms, and to dispel the notion of neutrality and objectivity.

There are superficial and there are deep connections between Harris (and Integrationism) and Hjørland. I hope to uncover even more as I work toward determining which are which. Some of these include bibliometrics as macrosocial and circumstantial (2002d, 2007a); the theory of information processing mechanisms as broadly integrative (2002f, 2004f); and the use of metalinguistic/semantic tools (2007a, 2007f).

Hjørland (2007a) writes:

The different theories and epistemologies that are in competition with one another may be more or less fruitful (or harmful) for information science. It is important to realize this and to take the risk of defending a particular theory. If this is not done, other views will never be sufficiently falsified, confirmed, or clarified. In the process of defending a particular view, one learns what other views it is necessary to reject. As pragmatist philosophers have long suggested, in order to make our thoughts clear, we have to ask what practical consequences follow from taking one or another view (or meaning) as true. If our theory (or meaning) does not have any practical implications, then it is of no consequence (372, emphasis mine).

This is exactly what I intend to do with my CAS paper. I am taking a stand on a few particular theories both within and without LIS to determine their value to progress in our field. To do so will require cogent critiques of those I am also rejecting. In the process I will learn much of value regarding which other commitments must stand or fall due to those I have chosen to defend. My final aim is to start a conversation in our field regarding what our linguistic commitments—often completely unexamined—are and what the impact of those commitments are on both theory and practice in LIS. My secondary goal is to provide Integrationism as a serious alternative to our current communication and linguistic theories in the field.

Some things read this week, 20 – 26 April 2008

Sunday – Thursday, 20 – 24 Apr 2008

Lodge, David. 1992. Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses. New York: Penguin Books.

Wasn’t sure if I was going to continue this but I read it on and off on Sunday and made a big dent at dinner in the Alley on Monday. I’m 66% of the way through so I imagine I’ll finish it and then shift back to more serious things.

Finished this Thursday afternoon. I guess it was OK as it had some moments but I can’t recommend it overall.

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

  • Ch. 17 : “Where the Dark Feelings Hold Sway”: Running as Aesthetic Experience by Martha Nussbaum
  • Ch. 18 : The Power of Passion on Heartbreak Hill by Michelle Maiese.

Only one chapter left to go. Good book.

Friday – Saturday, 25 – 26 Apr 2008

Guarino, Nicola and Christopher A. Welty. “An Overview of OntoClean.” In Staab, Steffen, and Rudi Studer, ed. 2004. Handbook on Ontologies. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Actually a fairly good article, but I have major concerns over their explanation of rigidity. It has certainly been a bit since I last read Kripke or any other relevant literature on rigidity … but they blow it in their explanation, IMHO.

I think they have it right in the end. But. Their presentation is confused. They use a highly questionable example and then make several implicit assumptions in its use and description. It might actually work if they spelled out all of their assumptions but there must be better examples.

I ran it by one or two people and would read a sentence and they’d say, “See, they’re assuming such and such and they are right.” Then I’d read the next sentence where the assumption seems to be reversed and they went, “Oh!”

Lest you think this is nit-picking—it may be but I do not think so—I also have the same complaints about many of the examples used in the cataloging and classification literature. These examples are critical. Many of these concepts are extremely difficult and nuanced. Crystal clear and meaningful examples are a must. Also, in today’s world, quit with the culturally-specific examples. I fully realize that The Wizard of Oz is fairly international by this point. I also realize that there may be few to no fully international examples available, but with a little care I do think excellent examples could be found for anyone who might be reading this kind of literature in the first place.

Recommend. But read carefully.

Saturday, 26 Apr 2008

Frohmann, Bernd. 2008. Subjectivity and information ethics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59, no. 2:267-277. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.20742 (Accessed March 2, 2008).

Recommended if you are into information ethics at all.

Some things read this week, 13 – 19 April 2008

Sunday – Friday, 13 – 18 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

  • Ch. 6 : Running Religiously by Jeffrey P. Fry (Sun)
  • Ch. 7 : Hash Runners and Hellenistic Philosophers by Richard DeWitt (Mon)
  • Ch. 8 : A Runner’s Pain (Mon)
  • Ch. 9 : What Motivates an Early Morning Runner? by Kevin Kinghorn (Mon)
  • Ch 10 : Performance-Enhancement and the Pursuit of Excellence by William P. Kabasenche (Tue)
  • Ch. 11 : The Freedom of the Long-Distance Runner by Heather L. Reid (Tue)
  • Ch. 12 : Existential Running by Ross C. Reed (Wed)
  • Ch. 13 : Can We Experience Significance on a Treadmill? by Douglas R. Hochstetler (Wed)
  • Ch. 14 : Running in Place or Running in Its Proper Place by J. P. Moreland (Thu)
  • Ch. 15 : The Running Life: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Hunter-Gatherer by Sharon Kaye (Fri)
  • Ch. 16 : John Dewey and the Beautiful Stride: Running as Aesthetic Experience by Christopher Martin (Fri)

This has been an excellent read so far. Very motivating. The authors all take a different starting point and make use of (generally individually) a great breadth of philosophies/ers. I can personally make a point of contact with all of them even if I don’t agree with how each of them flesh out their arguments. Some good arguments. Some presented well. And the rare few are both.

Recommended if you are a runner that has never “gotten” philosophy, or if you are a fan of Dr. George Sheehan’s writings, or you are a philosophical runner. I don’t actually understand how one could be a (distance) runner and not be somewhat philosophical. Seems downright absurd to me but one must leave open the space of logical possibility. [Or so I am repeatedly led indoctrinated to believe.] Oooh. One more category of recommended readers: philosophers who value a disembodied philosophy; one that has removed the experiencing subject in anything but the most clinical and sterile [and non-productive] way.

Monday, 14 Apr 2008

Banush, David, and Jim LeBlanc. 2007. Utility, library priorities, and cataloging policies. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services 31, no. 2:96-109. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VSH-4R718K6-1/1/b1967e800400df0464b6b26bfa785a1c.

A clearly ex post facto attempt at ethical justification for cataloging policy at an ARL library. The fundamental good was “no backlogs.” I read this because David had sent me a response, which I hope is being published somewhere.

Bade’s response to the above.

Going to be vague on this as I think David has it out for publication but yesterday when we were hanging out I failed to clarify what I can say about any of the recent things he sent me. So, vagueness ensues.

Excellent! Even more eviscerating than I was and far more eloquently put than I would do.

Friday, 18 Apr 2008

Lodge, David. 1992. Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses. New York: Penguin Books.

Began book at diner. Perhaps read some Saturday. Finished 2 out of 6 chapters.

This is a book that was recommended to me by the man who sold it to me. Now I only paid about $3 for it and he has a limited knowledge of what fiction I may have read, except he has as good of knowledge as is possible for any other human being to have of my literary reading. Brian of Babbitt’s Books (of Normal, and, also formerly, Champaign) and I have been in several book discussion groups during my 6 years in Normal at ISU [Oh, and the 1st year I was here I would drive over pretty much once a month].

Somehow I managed to fall into this small group almost immediately. Most importantly, we were in the Auerbach Mimesis group for over 3 years. That is where the vast majority of my literary reading comes from. He also knows of my love for White noise.

I think he recommended it because is set in two campus environments, one in some fictional state between Northern and Southern California and somewhere in England.

I was beginning to question how much time I was going to give it but I’m 150 pages in now after reading it some Sunday and tonight [Mon.] at dinner in the Alley. It’s had its moments of humor

What have I been up to?

What a question. I feel like I need a recap of some of it myself sometimes.

I hope to have some semi-substantial blog posts and/or Flickr sets for some of these but I’d like to get them mentioned before they all become old news.

[some kind of division]

Been watching a fair few movies, started running (4x 5x 6x now), and have been taking and uploading lots of photos.

“Article” project

This is an ongoing project that I got a recent jump on due to my school hiatus, if it is possible to say that [hiatus, that is].

Flickr set. Main pic.

This is one of the things I’ve been considering blogging. But it mostly seems like a waste of time; for any system to work for someone it must meet their individual—current and future—modes of working. Any idiot can say: enter them into a citation manager (that meets your needs), put them into some sort of order (which also meets your needs), and stick them in something (that works for you).

Besides, who else has so many printed and photocopied things?

Much of what I might say is already in the Flickr set via notes and comments; especially on the “main pic.” By the way, I could very simply publish assorted bibliographies of all this, to include good discovery metadata (COinS).

Reading some David Bade things

UIUC Progressive Librarians Guild is hosting a lunch time (11:30-1 PM) discussion with David Bade on Monday, 21 April 2008.

Technology Waits For No One: Thinking About Technology, Progress and Responsibility in Academic Librarianship

I’ve been getting something on e-reserve (Harris’ Epilogue) and making another short Word doc available.

David’s been sharing a few other things with me, too. :)

Job Search

Nothing going on here. Have nothing out at the moment.

The End of the Semester

We have 3 weeks left in the semester and then finals week. After Subject Access/Analysis seminar Tuesday, one of my fellow classmates asked me how I was dealing with the end of the semester. I had to tell her, not so bad, but then it isn’t the end for me.

She knows I’m only sitting in on Subject Access/Analysis and that I was sitting in on Allen’s Ontologies, but she rightly assumed I should be taking something. Anyway, I kind of felt a little bad cause I knew she was just looking for a little commiseration and reassurance that we’ll both get through. And in a sense, I took that from her. So. Bad.

But about 20 minutes later when I realized that this was the first semester in 10 years in which I wasn’t facing her exact situation, I decided that I will not feel bad about not being in that space right now when I “fail” more of my friends.

But I am prepared now. I can most certainly empathize, sympathize, feel you, and so on to an extraordinary level. I will not lord my situation over any one [cause I'd like to have been finishing, too]. But I will not feel bad when any of my friends put us in the same same situation as Tuesday afternoon.

I am taking a Deferral on my paper; hope to write it in the Fall.

Since I won’t be walking the stage and I’ll be going to the GSLIS Commencement any way [lots of friends' big day] I volunteered to help. Looks like I’ll be the “candid photographer.” Will have to have lots of little short conversations but I’ll be “forced” to move around and see folks at Commencement and at the reception. :)

[Volunteering. It's an addiction.] [Also got 2 other students to volunteer. Surely that counts towards being an Enabler of Vices.]

[the other part of the union of topics]

ASIS&T panel

Mentioned this a bit back. Been trying to work out what we are actually doing based on reviewers’ feedback.

Fifth Annual GSLIS Storytelling Festival, Saturday, 18 April

[Audio] [My Flickr set] [Program]

I know that I’ve made 3 of these, but I might have actually made the last four. It is always excellent. Excellent storytelling and excellent art on the whiteboard behind the tellers. I have taken photos the last 3 years but since I sit in the back row and feel that the flash would be intrusive to, well, everyone, I haven’t gotten too many good ones. This year’s camera is radically different than the ones in the past. It worked better and I got some good shots. And then ….

I was out of memory. WTF? I’d already replaced the batteries, but that’s routine. Out of memory? I only remember running out of memory once. That was shortly after getting my first digital camera and was at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis in April 2006. It was Spring and there were 100,000s of flowers and trees in bloom and I took a couple hundred photos. But never since.

Well. I had bought a larger capacity memory card than came standard when I got my first camera, and it subsequently moved into 2 more cameras. 256MB.

I keep forgetting that at some point recently I managed to accidentally put the new camera in highest-quality mode. Yeah. I got 74 pictures. It filled up right before Rachel Shulman and thus I missed almost the whole back half of the program. I really feel bad about that.

So I remedied that a couple days ago. For probably less than I paid for the 256MB card initially, I bought a 4GB card. And if I somehow fill that one up before exhausting all the batteries I can carry then I have a “small” backup card. Sweet!

The Festival was awesome! And the art this year was superb. It was done this year, and I think the year before last, by Tiffany Carter. [I had to ask. And I suggested that whoever the artist is each year ought to have their name in the program; it may have been once before.] [Left-side] [Right-side]

Afterwards, a few of us went to a friend’s house and had a drink, conversation, and cat-watching and NSFW [you get my water bottle there].

Opportunity sent my way

A person of quality recently sent me a nice opportunity; thank you. Still to hear from the other party, though.

Incomplete

Found out Monday that my petition to withdraw from my independent study was denied. So that means I will either be keeping that F and my A- GPA. Or I do something about it for my own pride.

This was not good news but I was kind of expecting it. Have not decided what I am doing yet. Considering possibilities; talking to some folks. Lots of things going on around here that could use some terminologies services thinking.

Scheming and pondering at the same time.

Crane Alley Guinness Mondays

A little birdie whispered in my ear that the Alley would soon be doing away with the Monday $2 Guinness / Harp special. I have feared this one coming for a while now, too. Seems they want to run some other specials. Fair enough, I guess, but it will affect my lifestyle. And they’ll get a lot less of my money.

Sara is going to library school

My daughter called me on my birthday (back in Feb.) to tell me “Happy Birthday and, oh, by the way, I’m applying to library school.” I hadn’t even known it was on the table. I was hoping that Sara might wander on to grad school some day but I wasn’t going to harass her. We’d talk about it when she wanted to let me know what she was thinking. She worked very hard her whole life in school, but especially throughout high school, because she knew if she wanted an opportunity for a good education she was responsible for it, in many ways. Four more years of school at Oberlin took its toll.

I do not prod my kids for much in the way of information. I know another parent who does that and it drives the kids crazy. I’d rather have what they want me, or think I need, to know than a bit more grudgingly dragged from them.

Monday evening, Sara called to tell me she got accepted. Yippee! She’s currently an indexer & abstracter at Chemical Abstracts where she intends to remain full-time with a flexible schedule. Her education is in chemistry and she has a year of nanotech research under her belt prior to about 8 months at Chem Abs so far.

Other than probably academic, I have no idea what area of librarianship she intends to focus on. And I’m happy with that. I’m twice her age and I changed my mind after getting here so she ought to have that opportunity. I have, of course, put her in touch with Christina because if Sara is thinking sci/tech librarianship then this is my friend best suited to introduce her to that world.

Also trying to talk her into coming to ASIS&T this year since it’s in her city.

[Yes. I purposely left out where she's attending. It is not here, which is perfectly fine.]

Sandy Berman and panel

Wednesday evening, Sandy Berman and 3 others, along with a moderator, joined in a panel discussion on the question of, “What is a progressive librarian?” [Flickr set]

  • Carolyn Anthony, Director, Skokie Public Library
  • Sandy Berman
  • Allison Sutton, Social Science Librarian, UIUC
  • Anke Voss, Archivist, Champaign County, IL
  • Moderator : Abdul Alkalimat, Professor, GSLIS

I had volunteered to meet Sandy at the Illini Union and walk him over to GSLIS at 5:15. I went to the Quad side of the Union, visited the ATM, tried to call my son back, and took some photos to kill a few minutes before meeting Sandy out front.

Seeing as I knew I only had a few minutes alone with Sandy I took a peek at his site and checked out his biography [probably have a copy somewhere, but this was easier]. I noticed he had spent a few years in Germany in the 60s so I took that as my angle. Upon meeting him he immediately asked me what my story was. Knowing I had about 7 minute tops I gave a 2-minute or so answer [stop snickering, you!], to which he politely asked a couple further questions. So somewhere a bit past halfway to GSLIS as soon as I had given my latest reply to Sandy I spit out something along the lines of, “Iknewwe’donlyhaveafewminutestogether / soIscannedyourbioforsomethingofinterest /andIwanttoaskyouaboutyourtimeinGermany.” To which we immediately had a short but spirited conversation with many points in common. We have shared several locations in space (Germany) together, just about 15 years apart.

Sandy was quite easy to talk to and before you knew it we were at GSLIS. I handed him off to Abdul Alkalimat, our moderator. Turns out they had met when Sandy was in Uganda in 1971-72.

I got a few photos of the pot luck that aren’t necessarily good photos but they capture the feel. Most of the photos are of the panel discussion, which was quite good.

Afterwards, Abdul, Kate Williams (GSLIS faculty), Sandy, I and a few other students went to Murphy’s for a beer. Nice time, to say the least, except for the table of very loud undergrad boys next to us. I walked Sandy back to the Union from Murphy’s. The weather was excellent for an evening stroll and I got a few more minutes with Sandy.

Jer at Fort Hood

Ten minutes after walking Sandy back to the Union, getting a hug and saying goodbye, I finally got hold of my son. He had just signed into Fort Hood and ended up in the new (2nd) battalion in the Division’s Aviation Regiment.

They are packing their bags this Monday and they head back to Iraq in July. He hasn’t even been issued his gear and he’s supposed to sealing it up to be shipped off on Monday. He had just signed a lease a couple days before. Volunteering can get you in some seriously jacked up ….

I had a rough day or so after hearing this, but I’m putting it off to the side for now. July is not April.

I’m thinking I might head down there for a couple/several days in late May or June; whatever works best for him.

Update [Sat. eve]: They now leave the 2nd week of June. I will probably be heading down there.

Update [Sun. morning]: Narrower leave period than he originally thought; will be probably heading down there sometime between 22 May – 1 June once he knows how much leave he’ll have. He just got off a month’s so he may not have much left.

It’s times like this that make me smile that we even use the same words [serve/service] to describe what librarians do for their patrons/customers and what service members do for their nation.

I guess the main difference is in the kind and amount of sacrifices made.

Overall

Some unexpected positives; some not unexpected negatives (and positives). A massive [expected] negative. It’s my life.

Some things read this week, 6 – 12 April 2008

Sunday, 6 Apr 2008

Chan, Lois Mai. 1977. Alphabetical arrangement and subject collocation in Library of Congress Subject Headings. Library Resources & Technical Services 21, no. 2:156-169.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

Marshall, Linnea. 2003. Specific and generic subject headings: increasing subject access to library materials. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 36, no. 2:59-87.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

The section on The Syndetic Structure is an excellent read that points to many failures of our current systems. Don’t misunderstand, I am not particularly commenting on what Marshall writes, as I am pretty much completely reading her in light of being highly informed by several previous articles on specificity and closely related topics (although a fair bit older), along with the daily struggles—experiential and conceptual—within these systems as a cataloger and catalog user. If one construes what she writes as a call for tools that would make entering, maintaining, and making the syndetic structure usable and useful then run with it. Please.

But. I am also loathe to say “go out, read this, and go forth.” I have many reservations about much of what Marshall (and the folks she cites [much of which I had just read]) advocate. The point, though, is that this is easily a century old discussion. And lest any foolish youngster or modernist thinks we have really made any serious “progress” towards solving—much less defining—specificity then I want them to steer clear.

There are, at least, two major (and somewhat related) issues here. What has been and is the state of the theoretical view(s) on specificity? And, what has been, what are the reasons why, and what is the state of specificity in action? That is, how has it been implemented in our systems, and how does it, or does it, work?

Issues of theory are complex enough, and highly disparate and even contentious. As for “progress”, we have had some if beginning to pull apart past and other possibly productive uses of the concept can be defended as good conceptual analysis. Svenonius’ 1976 article [see last week] gave us 7 concepts of specificity. Certainly useful, and clarifying, in a sense. The number has not gone down in the last 30 years, either.

I do think that there is much of value to be learned from, tested, and applied (or re-applied more smartly) from much of our literature. But it is also extremely rare that much of the conversation can be had by reading one or two articles or books. And I think that it is the conversation that is often of far more value than simply an answer or two to run with. But I do wish more folks would run with more of them.

And, yes, I know that includes me.

Monday – Wednesday, 7 – 10 Apr 2008

Budd, John. 1992. The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. New York: Greenwood Press.

  • Ch. 2: Libraries, Information, and Meaning. (Mon)
  • Ch. 3: What Does a Communication Process Look Like? (Mon-Tue)
  • Ch. 4: The Library in the Communication Process (Wed- )

Ah, yes. I did actually leave ch. 4 hanging. I temporarily abandoned it as my bus/lunch reading for the running and philosophy essays below.

This is one of the few books on libraries and communication, and especially on libraries in communication. I ordered myself a used copy on Saturday when I also ordered the Carely below, despite its faults.

Main fault: Although discusses assorted models of communication, they are all transportation/transmission-based. The language from the beginning allows no other option; those metaphors are just assumed. There is no real space to even ask broadening questions.

So why did I buy it? Because it bears study; on several fronts. And whether I borrow much of the good and/or use it as a foil—as an exemplar of a (group of) paradigm(s) or viewpoints—it will be valuable.

This is much like the Raber book in that it discusses a critical concept, [more on Raber] [finale] but much clearer on whose views are whom’s, and better argued. I have a lot of respect for Budd as a writer and a thinker, but this is far more rooted in a single meta-view than one might (I do) hope for, despite its seeming diversity within that view.

Monday, 7 Apr 2008

Carey, James W. 1992. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routledge.  

  • Read Introduction and ch. 1: A Cultural Approach to Communication.

Wow! Can I just say, “Wow!” Recommended by Tom Dousa.

Carey pulls apart the concept of communication into two of its dominant metaphors, one of transmission/transportation and one as of ritual. That is, cultural.

From such sources one can draw a definition of communication of disarming simplicity yet, I think, of some intellectual power and scope: communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed (23).

To study communication is to examine the actual social process wherein significant symbolic forms are created, apprehended, and used (30).

The widespread social interest in communication derives from a derangement in our models of communication and community. This derangement derives, in turn, from an obsessive commitment to a transmission view of communication and the derivative representation of communication in complementary models of power and anxiety. As a result, when we think about society, we are almost always coerced by our traditions into seeing it as a network of power, administration, decision, and control—as a political order. Alternatively, we have seen society essentially as relations of property, production, and trade—an economic order. But social life is more than power and trade (and it is more than therapy as well). As Williams has argued, it also includes the sharing of aesthetic experience, religious ideas, personal values and sentiments, and intellectual notions—a ritual order (34).

Carey may not have the answer, but he provides a useful counterforce to much; for instance, Budd above. Although Tom only really recommended the first chapter, I ordered myself a copy as it has lots of overlap with previous and current studies. And I’d love to see the ritual and magic of human communication taken a bit more seriously in our field. We have such primitive notions of communication in our field.

Wednesday – Friday, 9 – 11 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub. &nbnsp;

  • Foreword by Amber Burfoot
  • Preface: Warming Up Before the Race by Michael W. Austin, ed.
  • Ch. 1: Long-distance Running and the Will to Power by Raymond Angelo Belliotti
  • Ch. 2: Chasing Happiness Together: Running and Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship by Michael W. Austin (Thu)
  • Ch. 3: Running with the Seven Cs of Success by Gregory Bassham (Thu)
  • Ch. 4: The Phenomenology of Becoming a Runner by J. Jerry Wisnewski (Thu)
  • Ch. 5: In Praise of the Jogger by Raymond J. VanArragon (Fri)

Cataloged this a few weeks ago. Gave it time to get to Applied Health Sciences and then went and got it.

Started running again last week. I made it out last Saturday and again Monday. Then the weather got crappy (for running anyway) again. Definitely a fair weather runner but I need to get back into some kind of shape. I took a coupe years off due to my hip acting up, but it hasn’t bothered me for quite a while.

I tried to start up again last year but things just got in the way repeatedly and then it was hot. I will run when it’s hot but I have to acclimated to the heat first. Hopefully I will do better this year.

These essays are really helping me to be in the proper mindset to start running again. All of these things, and more, are, or at least can be, part of the experience of being a runner. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this. This is what replaced Budd as my current bus/lunch book.

Saturday, 12 Apr 2008

Dickinson, Liz. 1976. Of catalogs, computers, and communication: visions of the whole service catalog. Wilson Library Bulletin 463-470.

Given to me by Tom Dousa a couple days ago due to commentary on the catalog as communication tool. Highly dated but useful mini-critique of some of the issues with our catalogs and LCSH. Still. And of interest to me due to its explicit mention of library praxis as communication.

NOTE: WordPress’ formatting issues, even using the HTML editor, are biting me hard in this post. Notice how the variously formatted entries are snugged up against the citations. I have tried assorted fixes; some of which hold for short periods; none which work. There are other issues of format but that is the most virulent and most easily spotted. What sort of idiot would crowd those elements like that? Intentionally? Not me. I find this positively distressing.

Hmmm. They are printing just fine; I did a print test of this draft post for other reasons. Verified the display stupidity in Safari.

Going to have to edit my template’s stylesheet to place some “padding” around some of these elements in display. Although it wasn’t the template that changed. Grrr. More things broken by so-called technological “progress.”

WP 2.5 and Zotero, test post 2

Harris, Roy. 1998. Introduction to Integrational Linguistics. 1st ed. Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon.

Harris, Roy, ed. 2002. The Language Myth in Western Culture. Richmond Surrey: Curzon.

Harris, Roy. 2005. The Semantics of Science. London: Continuum.

Harris, Roy, and Indian Institute of Advanced Study. 2003. History, Science, and the Limits of Language : an Integrationist Approach. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

Hickman, Larry A. 2007. Pragmatism as post-postmodernism : lessons from John Dewey. New York: Fordham University Press.

Levy, Neil. 2007. Neuroethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Above test failed.

Test based on feedback from forum.

Maxwell, Robert L. 2008. FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed. Chicago: American Library Association.

Richards, Jennifer. 2008. Rhetoric. London: Routledge.

Shiga, Jason. 2007. Bookhunter. Portland, Or.: Sparkplug Comic Books.

ASIS&T bound; with a purpose

Of course I was planning on attending ASIS&T this year in Columbus, OH, but now I have an even better reason than simply because I enjoy it. Some friends (and real researchers) “roped me into” being on a panel and we just heard today that it was accepted.

“Tagging as a Communication Device: The Impact of Communities on Transforming Tag Information”

Panel: Heather D. Pfeiffer, Emma Tonkin, Margaret E. I. Kipp, David R. Millen and me.

These folks will be speaking on their research on effects of communities on tagging as a form of communication. I hope to contribute something based on Integrationism. In what ways do communities use tags as a way to integrate their language and communication?

In a sense, I’m the armchair philosopher, linguist and communications theorist on the panel. [Which is exactly the argument I tried to use to get out of it.] Thankfully, though, I’ll be no Descartes Kant trying to get back-to-basics, doubting all, rolling a ball of wax between my fingers and musing. The heck with the radical skepticism, although it serves a purpose on occasion. I have a few decades of experience with this whole use of language and communication thing, and I have spent most of those musing on, and struggling with, both. I have read just a few score things on both and I intend to “stand on the shoulders of giants.” Perhaps they are neglected giants but I hope to give them some exposure. While I rarely think of myself as a researcher, I do fit the Andrew Abbott view of “library researcher.” [And, no, I am not trying to compare myself to Descartes Kant, who despite being wrong about so much was still far more brilliant than I could ever be.]

The first giants, though, that I want to give some credit to are two of my friends for, in effect, facilitating this opportunity for me. If not for the help of two friends I made at my first ASIS&T conference 2 years ago in Austin I would not have this opportunity.

Benjamin Hockenberry (washtublibrarian), who I “met” through our blogs was my roommate. Now Ben is a bit introverted himself, but with the help of one of his Buffalo peeps we both came out of our shells a bit while there.

The lovely and talented Jennifer Graham (jennimi) was (and is!) such an inspiration. There is no question that when I listen to Haley Bonar singing, “… you must have too many women on your mind …,” that she is at or near the forefront. Always.

Jenn brought us both out of our shells and allowed us to meet some extremely interesting, and fun, people; several of whom I am now on a panel with.

I also want to thank Kathryn La Barre, Allen Renear, and Carole Palmer for believing in me and providing me positive ways to view my being “roped in.” I have no doubt that there are outstanding faculty and mentors at all of the LIS schools, but here at UIUC we are amazingly blessed.

And, Carole, even if I have to pay someone to “design” it for me, I promise to have the “habitually probing generalist” shirts made before ASIS&T this year.

Comcast update

I guess I ought to give some kind of update on my issues with Comcast. Honestly though, it’s all just highly demoralizing.

Let me start with the good. I do think that the local folks care. And the technician that came out—Will—spent about an hour here trying to get things working with both computers and with the wireless router. Unfortunately, in the end, none of that mattered.

While the local folks seem to care they also seem to be seriously constrained by a highly flawed system. Although by Saturday my appointment was scheduled for Wednesday morning I still had probably 30 calls from Comcast (national and local) between then. They thought I had appointments scheduled which I never had. They didn’t quite get that my appointment had been rescheduled. They thought I was really odd because I didn’t want my cable fixed as early as possible. Uh, what part of “I won’t be home!” don’t you understand.

Truthfully, I wanted the cable fixed as soon as it went out, and not over 5.5 days later.

As for the situation once I got a technician out here (when I was available), it appears kind of dire. I still need to verify fully that the case is at it appears but I have little hope. It appears that the storm fried (the signal part) of the cable modem, the router, and the NIC on the PC. While I do have Internet now, it is only on the laptop and only wired. Grrr!

So I got a new modem, which I am leasing from Comcast. If it goes bad then it’ll be replaced for free. But that is only a benefit if. Also, the modem seems to be a piece of crap. It has been pausing and outright stopping since it was hooked up. I came home early from work Thursday (due to Voyager not working for crap) and called after putting up with the idiocy of the bad connection on Wednesday eve and Thursday morn. They said they’d send someone over that day. 1:30 – 8 PM and still nobody.

They called about 9 AM Friday and asked if I’d be home. “Uh, no.” They called a couple more times throughout the day until I knew when I’d be home and said someone would be right over. So there I sat on a Friday evening from 5 – 8 PM and still no one.

I changed the CAT5 cable from one they supplied with the modem to one I had previously and it seems a bit better but it still sucks on occasion.

I am grateful that the local folks seem to care but, nonetheless, they still made my life a living hell for over a week. And it still isn’t fixed. This really is a highly oversimplified account of the Keystone Cop mayhem of the past week plus.

I have taken the 1st step to getting off of them by getting a gmail address and have begun switching some of my assorted accounts over to them.

If the PC’s NIC is bad, though, then the issue of getting the email off has become much harder.

Test post re WP 2.5 and COinS plugin

Feel free to ignore this post. I am simply testing the new version of WP with the COinS generator plugin that I have been using.

One of the main things I checked after the upgrade was whether it was working. Past posts still showed the data and the draft of last week’s readings did, too. But having now just posted it I noticed that everything was stripped except for the post’s data. All of the book and article data was stripped out. Which is utterly unacceptable to me.

Perhaps it has to do with that post being written across the 2 versions. Sounds stupid to me, but who knows? So this is a fully native WP 2.5 post with some test COinS data.

Levy, N. (2007). Neuroethics. , 346. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maxwell, R. L. (2008). FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed. , 151. Chicago: American Library Association.

Richards, J. (2008). Rhetoric. , New critical idiom., 198. London: Routledge.

Shiga, J. (2007). Bookhunter. , 1. Portland, Or.: Sparkplug Comic Books.

Swift, J. (1996). Gulliver’s travels. (Unabridged [ed.].). Mineola N.Y.: Dover Publications.

Toolan, M. J. (1996). Total Speech: An Integrational Linguistic Approach to Language. , Post-contemporary interventions., 337. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press.

Wilson, P. (1968). Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. , Librarianship., 155. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Doesn’t matter whether I drop COinS data in the visual or the so-called HTML editor, it is stripping it all out. Crap!

I really needed one more fucked up thing in my life right now! Thanks, WordPress!

OK, now I am confused. Is the span tag deprecated or not? Musciano and Kennedy claim that it is in HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 5th ed. (2002) but I can find nothing on the net that says so. In fact, lots of newer items say to use them to replace things done with deprecated and/or obsolete tags.

Also, WP has left in the spans being used to style the above entries but removed those with the COinS metadata. Clearly, WTF?

Anyone have any insight into this? Please comment here or email me.

For now I’m off the the WordPress and Zotero forums to see what I can find. BTW, I’m using the COinS Metadata Exporter 0.1

By the way, if you are reading this Walt, it is certainly screwing with even simple formatting—like paragraphs—in the HTML editor.

Some things read this week, 30 March – 5 April 2008

Note: Not that it matters to anyone but me but my chronology may be a bit off due to Comcast pretty much taking over my life for most of this week and the end of the last one.

Sunday – Thursday, 30 Mar – 3 Apr 2008

Budd, J. (2008). Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. , 281. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Read ch. 2 Place and Identity (Sun.?) and began ch. 3 Being Informed about Informing (Thu).

For anyone interested in the current debates about the profession/”just who is a librarian?” there is a decent discussion in ch. 2 of this topic, along with one on LIS education. Not saying I fully agree with Budd on either, but he makes some good points on both heads.

Monday – Friday, 31 Mar – 4 Apr 2008

Critchley, S. (2001). Continental philosophy : a very short introduction, Very short introductions, 43. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

This is an excellent introduction to the split between Continental and Anglo-American (or analytic) philosophy, along with why it needs to be eradicated and some ways to work towards a reconciliation.

The primary reason for the split is the professionalization of the discipline and self-identification by said professionals. Hmmm. Sounds kind of familiar. Sadly.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday – Thursday, 2 – 3 Apr 2008Dousa, Thomas. (2008) Subject Heading Specificity with Especial Reference to LCSH: A Basic Bibliography.

Tom has produced an excellent annotated bibliography for his 3rd assignment in 590SA (Subject access & subject analysis).

Friday, 4 Apr 2008

Budd, J. (1992). The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. , Contributions in librarianship and information science., 71, 193. New York: Greenwood Press.

Grabbed this because Budd cited it in ch. 3 of Self-Examination. “As one would suspect, the literature on communication is voluminous. That literature will not be covered in great depth here; elsewhere I (Budd, 1992) have examined it in some detail” (79).

Now that was interesting to know, so I grabbed it the next day as quickly as I could. And I might, in fact, read this one first and then go back to Self-Examination.

I need to know about these texts. There is another one Pauline told me about that used to be a textbook, at least 4 editions. I picked up all 4, which we had. It seems our profession goes through cycles in the (mostly) lip service paid to our being in the business of communicating.

Read the Introduction and ch. 1 Libraries, Information, and Meaning at lunch.

As I suspected, and complained about last week, Budd does not make the same mistake here re the need for language for the possibility of communication.

Saturday, 5 Apr 2008

Library of Congress. (1951). Subject Headings: A Practical Guide. , 140. Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Office.

Read parts of this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see the bibliography above).

Svenonius, E. (1976). Metcalf and the principles of specific entry. In W. B. Rayward (Ed.), The Variety of Librarianship: Essays in Honour of John Wallace Metcalfe (pp. 171-189). Sandy Bay, Tas: Library Association of Australia.

Same as above. Recommended.

Web Ontology Language: OWL (ch. 4 of a soon-to-be published book on the Semantic Web from MIT Press, I believe. Handed out in class last week.)

For 590OD. Good stuff to know, to say the least. But it just feeds my beliefs that the Semantic Web will not save the world despite what Sir Tim and others might think. There is actually so little of importance that can be modeled using First Order Logic, or, should I say, there is so much more of importance than what can be modeled by FOL.

In fact, I believe they even blow one of their examples. I may have to go to class on Tuesday just to find out. Or else I’ll simply talk to Allen or Karen about it