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.
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.