… and number one is fleshing out these dreams of mine.

Atlanta’s a distant memory
Montgomery a recent blur
and Tulsa burns on the desert floor
like a signal fire

I got Willie on the radio
a dozen things on my mind
and number one is fleshing out
these dreams of mine

Cowboy Junkies — 200 More Miles

A little over a week ago I wrote to a handful of those I consider myself close to to tell them of a recent decision of mine. It was quite gratifying and reaffirming to hear back from many of them over the next couple of days, and by a half dozen of them within an hour of sending them my message! My friends are amazing!

Those locally I have been trying to catch up with personally, although I have missed a couple due to Spring Break happening this past week. [Sara, I’ve been looking for you.]

Perhaps, though, I should start at something like the beginning.

I have been at this university education thing for a very long time. For the last ten and a half years I have been at it mostly full-time. All the while I have been employed at least half-time and often more. There was a 3-year period, sort of in the middle, where I worked full-time and went to school half-time for the fun of it … and because the university paid for it, I was able to take classes with people I really cared to learn from, and it kept my loans in deferment.

I have actually been in and out of the higher ed classroom for far longer seeing as I entered Illinois State in 1998 with 118 hours of accepted transfer credit (90 of which I could apply) accumulated during my time in the Army.

Over those 10+ years of mostly full-time schooling I have “progressed” in the ways in which I deal with the joys and stresses of the classroom and, even more so, with the kinds of work students are expected to generate so that their learning can be codified and graded. It started out being fairly difficult and while it (the product) always remained difficult to produce the ways in which it is difficult changed such that at some point the process actually became quite easy such that producing products which demonstrated my learning was easy. Difficult work, but easy nonetheless [I hope that makes some sense].

I seem to be long past that point anymore. I have loved my time at GSLIS for many reasons, but for a long time now I have been increasingly unhappy with the process of higher education. I have often complained of the semester system—here on this blog and elsewhere—and especially lately have complained of the need come the end of the semester to produce something which an instructor can grade. Have not my efforts to learn, to challenge myself, my classmates and the instructor already been amply demonstrated throughout the semester?

Simply put. I am burnt out.

This was to be my final semester and I was going to end it with a 3rd Mother’s Day graduation. My only real task was to write my CAS paper and defend. After consultation with my advisor, GSLIS admin, and my employer I have decided to put myself on a non-academic “sabbatical.” That is, I am taking an incomplete and doing other things for a while.

I shall not go into all of the details of the thought process or situation but the only negative thing that can honestly be said is that I won’t be “done” in May. Theoretically, I need to finish before the start of next Spring semester.

I am still working my 2 assistantships at 60% time. Thus, I haven’t really freed up much time. I will still attend the seminar on subject access/analysis, although I have unfortunately not been attending Allen’s ontologies class for several weeks now [Remember, I am just sitting in on these classes].

I m still applying for jobs although I am seeing very few that are appealing or which I feel qualified for. There are many other sorts of jobs I would consider but the ones in those lines of work (terminologies) which show up in the places I am looking seem to mostly be massively corporate or government, mostly defense.

Yes, I am applying for jobs. I have had an MLS for almost 2 years now. While I would have preferred to be finished with my CAS before taking a job there is really no reason to do so. As far along as I am now will only require me to come back—if I leave—for one day to defend; everything else can be done electronically.

My goal is to focus my energies elsewhere for a while—large portions of my life have been on hold for most of these past 10 years. What little time I gain by not actively working every free moment on my paper will be easily filled. I already have a list of projects, some major, and I haven’t even had to put any effort into identifying them.

I have finally figured out a system for organizing all those photocopied or printed out articles, book chapters, etc. that will work for me for now and which is flexible enough to grow and change with me and my interests. Many of you probably can’t even begin to imagine the amount of paper I have in folders, folders in boxes, and so on. Let’s just say that it is a lot. So I am entering them into Zotero, frequently backing up Zotero, and physically organizing them. Will I ever get finished? Not likely, no. But if I can get most of the important and more recent ones organized I will be happy.

I’d also like to try and fix many of the broken links in this blog that exist due to the migration from Typepad to my own domain. I haven’t started on that yet and I have concerns about how it might affect people’s feeds but we’ll just have to see. I doubt I can or even want to fix every link but there are quite a few I do want fixed.

Most all of my books now reside in my apartment and not in storage anymore so I would like to get more of them into my LibraryThing catalog.

I also still need to find an email and a feed reader solution to my current woes.

There are, of course, a million other things I could add; some more pressing than others. Asking someone out on a date is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I know of no prospects at the moment. But perhaps a little more engagement with the wider world will present one. 🙂

Lest you think my CAS paper has evaporated, I can assure you that it has not. My plan is to primarily focus on other things for a while, perhaps even through summer. I am in the process of reading two books directly related to my topic but I have put them to the side for a bit. I hope to pick those up soon and work through them a bit more slowly than I have been. Basically, I have been cramming things into my mind non-stop since last May when I more or less came to my topic. No time to think, no time to muse, and certainly nothing approaching slow reading.

A short five years ago I was able to read DeLillo’s White Noise once and then produce a 14-page analysis of the lived morality as presented in the novel which actually impressed one of the professor’s I most admire in the world. Part of that may be due to lots of exposure to thinking about morality—both academically and as experienced in daily life—over the years. But part of it is where I was in my progress of academic productivity [pretty much in top form at that point].

My CAS paper has taken me into a realm where I have little formal education and where much lay thinking is mistaken due to two millennia of Western culture and education. Thus, I have had to work extra hard trying to come to grips with what I want to “produce.” Now that it is time to do so my mind has rebelled.

At first, when I floated the idea of perhaps delaying this a bit it was lovingly suggested that I “just do it” and then I could relax and follow this more where I want to take it as I further develop my research agenda [something I can actually say I have now]. I had to concur that that would be lovely. But I left that meeting feeling quite apprehensive. A week later when I went back to re-discuss my options it was readily agreed that my current plan is what is needed and it was immediately supported.

There are many reasons why the wise woman who is my advisor agreed a week later after trying to nudge me forward a week earlier. The reasons are no doubt complex, but when I asked her why she knew now that this was the right decision I was told that, “You turn gray. Today you aren’t gray and thus I know this is the right decision.” And here I always thought it was simply metaphor.

the sky is grey
the sand is grey
and the ocean is grey

and i feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way

ani difranco — grey — reckoning

This past Thursday when I told this story to one of my best friends ever—and my boss during what was probably the worst couple years of my life—she just looked at me funny for a few seconds. And then she said, “Of course you do!”

I guess all I can say is, “Here’s to learning to radiate all the colors of the spectrum!”

My intention regarding my paper is to distract my mind for a bit, dabble some directly on topic (soon), dabble on the periphery, let the mind do its own thing on its own time in the background, have conversations with others which will force me to be able to say what I want, and to finally get on it “full-time” come the start of the fall semester with the goal of defending at the end of fall.

I have received an enormous amount of support and validation from my advisor, other profs, GSLIS admin, the folks I work with at the Library, and especially from my friends and family. This, more than anything else, means the world to me. Thank you.

Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness.
And I like the whole truth,
but there are nights I only need forgiveness.
Sometimes they say, “I don’t know who you are
but let me walk with you some.”
And I say, “I am alone, that’s all,
you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done,”
But they’re waiting just the same,
With their flashlights and their semaphores,
And I act like I have faith and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends.

Dar Williams — My Friends — End of the Summer

Some things read this week, 2 – 8 March 2008

Sunday, 2 Mar 2008

Toolan, M. J. (1996). Total speech: an integrational linguistic approach to language, Post-contemporary interventions., 337. Durham, N.C: Duke University Press.

  • Read Ch. 4: Further Principles of Integrational Linguistics, or, On Not Losing Sight of the Language User


Sunday – Friday, 2 – 7 Mar 2008


Aitchison, J. (2003). Linguistics, Teach yourself. (6th ed), 257. Chicago, Ill: McGraw-Hill.

  • Ch. 1: what is linguistics?
  • Ch. 2: what is language?
  • Ch. 3: the study of language (Mon)
  • Ch. 4: deciding where to begin (Mon)
  • Ch. 5: sound patterns (Mon)
  • Ch. 6: words and pieces of words (Tue)
  • Ch. 7: sentence patterns (Tue)
  • Ch. 8: meaning (Tue)
  • Ch. 9: using language (Wed)
  • Ch. 10: language and society (Wed)
  • Ch. 11: language and mind (Wed)
  • Ch. 12: language and style (Thu)
  • Ch. 13: language change (Thu-Fri)
  • Ch. 14: comparing languages (Fri)
  • Ch. 15: attitudes towards change (Fri)

This book is great fun. Not great fun as in to read it, but as in to make fun of it and to explicitly see how strictly orthodox and, thus, simplistic (and wrong) textbooks and textbook-like texts are as they follow the party line.

Here’s a nice absurdity:

In fact, it is quite impossible for anybody to form sentences and understand them unless they realize that each one has an inaudible, invisible structure, which cannot be discovered by mechanical means such as counting (20).

All I can say to that is “Seriously, what the hell!” So a 5-year-old child learning their native (or even a 2nd) language must “realize” that each sentence “has an inaudible, invisible structure” before they can form or understand any sentence in their language? What kind of idiot makes a claim like that?

Human bigotry gets us this comparison:

Human language is innately guided. Human infants are not born speaking, but they know how to acquire any language to which they are exposed. They are drawn towards the noises coming out of human mouths, and they instinctively know how to analyze speech sounds. Bees present a parallel case: they are not born equipped with an inbuilt encyclopedia of flowers. Instead, they are pre-programmed to pay attention to important flower characteristics … (21-22, emphasis mine).

Humans know, bees are programmed. What a crock! This may be the opposite of anthropomorphizing, but it is just as bad.

Thursday, 6 Mar 2008

Solomon, P. (2002). Discovering information in context, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 36(1), 229-264. Retrieved March 6, 2008, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aris.1440360106.

Friday, 7 Mar 2008

Ellis, D. (1992). The physical and cognitive paradigms in information retrieval research, Journal of Documentation, 48(1), 45-64.


Saturday, 8 Mar 2008

Sundin, O., & Johannisson, J. (2005). The instrumentality of information needs and relevance. In F. Crestani & I. Ruthven (Eds.), Context: Nature, Impact, and Role: 5th International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Sciences, CoLIS 2005, Glasgow, UK, June 4-8, 2005 ; Proceedings, Lecture notes in computer science., 3507 (p. 250). Berlin: Springer.

Some things read this week, 17 – 23 February 2008

Sunday, 17 Feb 2008


Decker, S. et al. 2000. The Semantic Web: the roles of XML and RDF. Internet Computing, IEEE 4, no. 5:63-73.


For Ontology Development.


Monday – Friday, 18 – 22 Feb 2008



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.


  • Ch 1 : The Language of History and the Language of Science (Mon)
  • Ch 2 : The Origins of Mathematics (Wed)
  • Ch 3 : Communication by Numbers (Thu)
  • Ch 4 : Language Unlimited? (Thu)


Friday, 22 Feb 2008



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



Re-reading this for its overview of Integrationism.

  • Ch 1 : Language and Communication


Saturday, 23 Feb 2008



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


I cataloged this little book a few weeks ago. It looked interesting enough to possibly provide a decent overview of rhetoric. And it was.


This is not a rhetoric handbook, but more of a history of rhetoric, its ups and downs, and its re-shapings. I found it quite interesting and somewhat useful as far as putting together (for myself) a bigger, coherent picture of Western intellectual thought over the past 2.5 millennia. Also validated much of Harris’ critique of Western education on language—grammar, rhetoric, metaphor, etc.

Omega and Alpha

The end approaches and Tuesday I spent preparing for it.

A few weeks ago I sent in a petition to the Grad College to move my “additional” 2 hours from my MS (42 vs. 40-required) to my CAS. That was approved last Friday (Feb 1st).

Seeing as I had 72 completed hours that put me at 32 for the CAS and as I’m doing (fingers and toes crossed!) my 8-hour paper this semester I applied for (another) May graduation (also 40-required hours).

I did finish my Bibliography class last month but it remains ungraded so I will have an additional 4-hours at the end after all.

I also have what I continue to think of as an Incomplete (4-hrs.) but it is actually an F now. That could be changed if I could turn something in but that is looking unlikely. It is the independent study I was working on last spring on Terminology Services.

I’m still immensely interested in many aspects of the topic but even though my advisor and I went into the semester thinking I could probably do something she could grade we agreed Tuesday that I best just focus on my CAS paper. So I also filed a petition to have the grade changed to a W for Withdrawn. It’ll remain on the transcript—Independent Study will be so illuminating—but have no effect on my GPA. Current impact? OMG!!

[Of course, it’s all relative. As UIUC grads know, here an A- will reduce your GPA. I got one and it was deservedly so (last MS semester). So I had a 3.96 last graduation and now I have 3.76. Ouch!]

Don’t confront me with my failures.
I had not forgotten them.

Jackson Browne. These Days. For Everyman. [WorldCat]

I do actually have a terminologies idea but it is way too deep for a semester paper, especially if I’m actually trying to graduate ….

… and find a job. [I once ended up in the Army for quite awhile trying to avoid finding a job.]

As to the topic, I’m not even ready to talk about it here. I’ve put a couple of feelers out and I’m noticing bits here and there and trying my best to record them for now. My 1st coherent comments on the matter came in an IM conversation with my good buddy, Iris, who was so kind to “listen” as I tried to “say” something coherent. Thanks, Iris. All in all, all I have at the moment is one half of a hypothesis that seems pretty uncontroversial (but how it is fleshed out might well matter to some) and another half that is the vaguest hand waving in the direction of something that is hard to state even in skeletal form. To me it sounds like it couldn’t be the slightest bit controversial in skeletal form (but I know better). As to how it’d play if actually coherently fleshed out I cannot begin to say. But I sure as hell would like to.

I am pretty certain that what I am claiming is so. The question is whether or not the differences make a difference. Finding those differences will involve falling down a couple of rabbit holes once the descent of the current one begins to slow down.

Seems I now have a “research agenda” as a future academic librarian. I just need to find the job interview way of saying it. 🙁 Luckily I am pretty much there now with the current one, which I foresee going on for a long time, at least the Integrationism bit.

Which brings us back to the Alpha. It seems that I am officially on the job market and looking for a job. There is no way that I can rely on staying here no matter how many people might tell me they want me to stay. All I can say is “Show me the job(s)” then. Cause I’d be happy to stay for the right job.

One of the problems with UIUC is the fact that we have an LIS school and a large academic library (40 some odd truthfully). Lots of folks stick around here for assorted reasons—townies all along, spouse still in grad school, …. Despite the size of our library there are not that many full-time openings available, nor do they tend to hire our own grads.

But one of the benefits of being large is we get lots of grants and there are all sorts of grant-funded Visiting Professorships in the library. There might also be hourly work available, but that means no benefits, which might be OK if you have an employed spouse. I really have little doubt that I could stay, at least for a while.

I have told my bosses (and others) that as much as I’d like to stay I certainly do not have to. I also have no need to take any job just to stay. Nor will I.

Personally, I think I could do the institution a lot of good if they kept me around. Not just for UIUC or the Library but for GSLIS, too. Just an opinion, mind you.

I can go anywhere, technically. I have no restraints. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to be in a major city, though. Nor do I want to be at a school with 400 students in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the above was written a couple days ago but I am having a hard time finishing this as I need to be careful. I don’t want to seemingly rule something out so that someone on a search committee can say, “That describes us so he doesn’t even want to be here!”

I am a long way from applying for any jobs that I don’t want (as best as I can tell from all sources short of visiting). In fact, I doubt I’ll get to that point. That behavior has never made sense to me.

Of course, telling what kind of job it really is based on a job ad/description is a crap shoot of the highest order.

So. I want an academic position; tenure is not important. I could take it or leave it. I will pursue continuing opportunities to learn about interesting things and to share that with others via formal and informal publishing whether or not I am required to do so.

I want to do cataloging/metadata work, preferably descriptive and classificatory work of resources more towards the individual end than in the aggregate. Vocabulary work and other forms of classificatory structures are also on the table.

Serials do not scare me. In fact, that is where most of my current experience lies, although I also do monographs now. I do not think I am ready to be an electronic resources librarian but I do hope to learn more of what I need to feel qualified, along with many other things that I am interested in but have little or no experience with yet.

Working with people who are interesting, hopefully fun, and who are actively engaged in helping each other learn their craft so as to provide better service to their patrons and to move the profession forward are all important. I am not out to save the world (20 years in the Army demonstrated the futility of that endeavor) but I do want to make it a better one.

Anyone knowing of anything they think I might be interested in is welcome to point me towards them. 🙂

Some things read this week, 27 January – 2 February 2008

Sunday, 27 Jan 2008

Nonmonotonic Logic. Leora Morgenstern. MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.

Suggested by fellow classmate Tom Dousha for additional elucidation for Ontologies Development. Highly understandable resource for non-experts in logic, although having a basic grasp probably helps.

Sunday – Wednesday, 27 – 30 Jan 2008

Harris, Roy, and International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication. 2006. Integrationist Notes and Papers : 2003-2005. Crediton, Devon, England: Tree Tongue http://www.librarything.com/work/details/26156294 (Accessed January 26, 2008). Discover UIUC Full Text
[more info here] [WorldCat]

  • 6 : Synchrony and Diachrony
  • 7 : Integrationism and Philosophy of Language
  • 8 : On Determinancy of Linguistic Form
  • 9 : Integrationism and Arbitrariness (Tue)
  • 10 : Integrationism and Etymology (Tue)
  • 11 : Signs and Stories (Tue)
  • 12 : Meaning and Experience (Tue)
  • 13 : On Holistic Models of Language (Wed)
  • 14 : Integrationism and the Foundations of Mathematics (Wed)
  • 15 : Integrationism and Godspeak (Wed)

I believe this is the 1st book I have finished this year.

Thursday, 31 Jan 2008

Markey, Karen. Users & Uses of Bibliographic Data. [paper presented in lieu of her attendance at the 1st LC Working Group Meeting, March 8, 2007]

This is a very interesting statement that ought to be taken seriously. Once we see the data in the forthcoming article: Markey, Karen. In press. 25 years of research on end-user searching. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology.

One should check … actually it was published in two parts in JASIST 58(8), June 2007: 1071-1081 and 1123-1130.

Markey, Karen. (2007) Twenty-five years of searching, Part 1: Research findings.

Markey, Karen. (2007) Twenty-five years of searching, Part 2: Future research directions.

Downloaded the pdfs and imported the data into Zotero. Will need to read them soon.

Looks like Wiley-Interscience is making some improvements on the ASIST Digital Library. Whoever is responsible, thank you.

Friday – Saturday, 1 – 2 Feb 2008

Harris, Roy. 2005. The Semantics of Science. London: Continuum. Discover UIUC Full Text

Re-read Chap. 6 : Mathematics and the language of science

Another rather light week as I was trying to finish my Harris and Hjørland bibliography and essay by Thursday. I did make this deadline thankfully. In the end, neither are what I was particularly envisioning. They really area far cry from what I thought I was aiming for; which leaves me quite ambivalent about it.

I most certainly did not give “just a school assignment” to Dr. Krummel as one simply does not do such things. But in some ways it does seem as if I am far closer to that end of the spectrum than what I wanted to be.

Thus, I don’t know if or when I will post any of it. I have a hard time imagining anyone would actually be very interested in any of it. This is not to say that I think no one should be interested in the topic, whether or not they care what I might have to say about it, but that I just don’t think that many are. If you truly do care I will happily email you the 2 small Word docs. By the way, at 1097 words the essay is far shorter than many of my blog posts. The bibliography has 34 entries in the final count, I believe; there could have been so many more. It is a tad over 13 pages and is 4115 words. Both are definitely much shorter than my natural bent.

But. It is done. So it is time to move forward now.

Today [Sunday, 3 Feb] is the 3rd day of Birthday Month. This year’s Birthday Month—which I intend to attempt to celebrate to the max—is off to a good start. It was welcomed in with a decent snow storm on the 31st-1st; I am a Midwestern, mid-Winter baby so one must have a decent winter storm once during Birthday Month.

There has been a couple decent movies this weekend after finishing the bibliography stuff. I watched Balls of Fury which is pretty good as a ping pong cum-kung fu movie. I also watched Once but I am really ambivalent about the movie. I am better disposed to it after watching all of the extras, but extras should not determine what we think of a movie and perhaps only deepen our understanding and/or appreciation of it.

One that I will highly recommend, though, is the French movie, Blame it on Fidel! This was an very good movie and the kids who star in this movie are simply incredible. Watch the extras and this feeling can only deepen. There is a pretty good description at IMDB but I think it also contains a spoiler about the end of the movie. Perhaps it is not a major spoiler but I certainly am glad I hadn’t read it before watching the movie. Highly recommended.

Some things read this week, 13 – 19 January 2007

Sunday, 13 Jan 2008

Toolan, Michael. 1997. A Few Words on Telementation. Language Sciences 19, no. 1:79-91.

I had read this before (28 Oct 07) as it is in: Harris, Roy, and George Wolf, eds. Integrational Linguistics: A First Reader. 1st ed, Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon, 1998.

Sunday – Monday, 13 – 14 Jan 2008

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

  • Carr, Philip. The Mythical, the Non-mythical and Representation in Linguistics
  • Talyor, Talbot J. Folk Psychology and the Language Myth: What Would an Integrationist Say?
  • Davis, Daniel R. The Language Myth and Mathematical Notation as a Language of Nature

Monday, 14 Jan 2008

On the Record: Report of The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (January 9, 2008) [pdf]

  • Read about half at the diner for dinner.

Tuesday, 15 Jan 2008

Harris, Roy. “The Language of History and the Language of Science” in 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. [WorldCat]

This is the 1st of 4 lectures Harris gave at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, India in October 2002. I ILL’d myself a copy to see if I wanted to buy a copy. For $4.95 and about $15.50 shipping I have a copy of this print-on-demand book on order from India.

Wednesday, 16 Jan 2008

Davis, Daniel R. 1997. The three-dimensional sign. Language Sciences 19, no. 1:23-31.

This week

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

This is the book Hjørland cites in Semantics and Knowledge Organization in the section on Semantics and the Philosophy of Science (en2, 373/396): “Harris (2005) provides an important critique of the semantic assumptions generally made in science” (396). Of course, that ought to read something more like “made under the supercategory science and also in individual sciences (or perhaps better still, scientific disciplines).”

  • Re-read chap 1: Language and the Aristotelian scientist (14, 16-17 Jan)
  • Re-read chap 2: Before and after Aristotle (17-18 Jan)
  • Re-read chap 3: Semantics and the Royal Society (19 Jan)

Spring 2008 courses, 1st impression

Officially, I am registered for one 8-hour “class” this semester, LIS593 CAS Project.

Individual study of a problem in library or information science; forms the culmination of the Certificate of Advanced Study program. Only 8 hours will apply to the CAS degree [catalog].

As to what I’m doing there pick pretty much any post from last year, but especially starting mid-May. Or, perhaps this is best?

More on this topic <patented hand-waving> in the future </ patented hand-waving>.

Besides working 60% which is beginning to seem like a lot again, I am sitting in on 2 seminars. There are several of us nuts in each of them and some folks actually taking the classes for grades.

Both are on Tuesday, which is my only non-work day, in the afternoon and at night. Both are on campus. I love my distance peeps but I am a bad LEEP student.

590SA Topics in Subject Access : Pauline Cochrane and Kathryn La Barre

An advanced topics seminar in subject access and subject analysis that covers a range of topics including aspects of the traditional bibliographic canon regarding OPACS, the challenge of universal subject access in a digital world, ongoing discussions about Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), new search and discovery tools (including experimentations with hybrid folksonomic and corporate taxonomic approaches (syllabus version). [catalog]

Pauline is emphasizing the duality between subject access and subject analysis, as she says there “is a split in focus in library science [specifically]; these two vantage points are our heritage.”

Early readings/assignments include reading 2 chapters from her festschrift (Wheeler). We’re reading Robert Fugmann, “Obstacles in Progress in Mechanized Subject Access and the Necessity of a Paradigm Change,” and our own Linda Smith’, “Subject Access in Interdisciplinary Research.” I’m not sure if I’ve read the Fugmann but the Smith is excellent. I’ve read it at least 3 times before.

There is another assignment that involves the Clinic book but I am not concerned with doing it.

Readings for next week are the 2 chapters of the festschrift I previously listed, and 2 from Visualizing …: Elizabeth D. Liddy’s “Natural Language Processing for Information Retrieval and Knowledge Discovery” and Joseph A Busch’s “Building and Accessing Vocabulary Resources for Networked Resource Discovery and Navigation.”

Wheeler, William J, ed. 2000. Saving the Time of the Library User Through Subject Access Innovation: Papers in Honor of Pauline Atherton Cochrane. Champaign, IL: Publications Office, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. [WorldCat]

Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 1998. Visualizing Subject Access for 21st Century Information Resources. Eds. Pauline A Cochrane and Eric H Johnson. Champaign, IL: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [WorldCat]

We also are reading an unpublished paper (1979) of Pauline’s on universal subject access and advising her on its suitability for publication today as a means to think about these issues and, I would add, historically and contemporarily.

590OD Ontology Development : Allen Renear

An introduction to formal ontology focusing on development and implementation issues and contemporary ontology software tools and languages. In spring of 2008 we will use as example ontologies one for museum and heritage information (CIDOC-CRM) and one for biological information (the Functional Model of Anatomy). Students may also do projects on other ontologies in other areas if they wish. The ontology editor Protege will be used throughout and the representation of ontologies in W3C semantic web languages RDF(S) and OWL will be emphasized. [catalog]

This is an odd class for Allen as it involves a hands-on component using Protégé to view, edit, build ontologies. Protégé is a free, open-source ontology editor.

Some of the topics we will be becoming “familiar” with are RDF and OWL, which I certainly need more knowledge of.

Related miscellanea

On a side note, I’m thinking of taking the TEI workshop again later in Feb. I did it 2 years ago on my birthday weekend. The then draft P5 version was formalized this past year so it can’t hurt to have a look again over a weekend.

While in one sense, these classes are completely extraneous to me, although in a larger sense they are important. Luckily I’ll have the flexibility to commit any level of effort, including none, to them. I foresee far more than none most of the time, though. Time will tell.

Technically, I still have an incomplete for my vocabularies independent study from last spring. Four hours. In truth, those 4 hours along with those from Bibliography will be extra hours when completed. This needs to be cleaned up as it has finally turned to an F. There is also the possibility of having it dropped, or more likely changed to Withdrawal.

I am hoping that one of these 2 classes will inspire me to spit out “a school assignment” somehow on the topic of vocabularies that I can turn in to be graded. I’d still really like to do what I had planned all along, but it will not happen, now.

Somehow it seems likely one or both will generate a topic. But will it be one that I can just generate something from? Something of quality, of course. But. Normal-sized.

Some things read this week, 6 – 12 January 2008

Sunday, 6 Jan 2008

Taylor, Talbot J. 1997. Roy Harris and the Philosophy of Linguistics. Language Sciences 19(1): 1-5.

The introduction to a special issue of Language Sciences that was a festschrift for Roy Harris on his 65th birthday. The issue, entitled “The Philosophy of Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Roy Harris,” contains an additional 9 articles authored by folks who were all “students of Professor Harris during his tenure of the Chair of General Linguistics at Oxford University” (1).

Acquired via Science Direct.

Love, Nigel. 1997. Integrating Austin. Language Sciences 19, no. 1 (January): 57-65.

This is one of the two references I tracked down earlier this morning that led me to find the special issue noted above. The Taylor intro is not the other one, though, it is an article by Haley Davis that looks like an overview of her book, Words.

How can Austin be rehabilitated? Was he a proto-integrationist?

Cameron, Deborah. 1997. When Worlds Collide: Expert and Popular Discourse on Language. Language Sciences 19, no. 1:7-13.

Shows that in the conflicting discourses on language linguists naturalize language while lay language-users moralize it. Gives some reasons for why moralizing discourse on language is so powerful; also notes that these conflicting discourses are a couple millennia old in Western discourse.

Fits well with the much more in-depth argument Toolan gave in an article last week on the normativity of language, which is why lay language-users do moralize talk about it: Taylor, Talbot J. 1990a. Normativity and Linguistic Form. In Redefining Linguistics, 118-148. New York: Routledge.

Monday, 7 Jan 2008

Hjørland, Birger. 2007. Arguments for ‘the Bibliographical Paradigm’. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science–“Featuring the Future” 12:4. http://informationr.net/ir/12-4/colis/colis06.html (Accessed November 25, 2007).


Harris, Roy. Epilogue, “Saying Nothing” to: Harris, Roy. 1987. The Language Machine. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

Re-read for 3rd time, now fairly conversant with Harris’ critiques and its now even more devastating that the 1st time. Amazing! Read it.

Tuesday, 8 Jan 2008

Harris, Roy. 1978. Communication and Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Or more accurately, Communication and Language : An Inaugural Lecture delivered before the University of Oxford on 24 February 1978.

Re-read. Is included in: Harris, Roy. 1990. The Foundations of Linguistic Theory: Selected Writings of Roy Harris. Ed. Nigel Love. London: Routledge. Which is where I first read it.

Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Read the Introduction; short but powerful. This is high on the list of books to be read this year.

Hjørland, Birger. 1998. Information Retrieval, Text Composition, and Semantics. Knowledge Organization 25, no. 1/2:16-31.


Friday – Saturday, 11-12 Jan 2008

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

  • Harris, Roy. The Role of the Language Myth in the Western Cultural Tradition.
  • Love, Nigel. The Language Myth and Historical Linguistics.
  • Davis, Hayley. The Language Myth and Standard English. (Sat)
  • Weigand, Edda. The Language Myth and Linguistics Humanized. (Sat)

Davis, Hayley. 1997. Ordinary People’s Philosophy: Comparing Lay and Professional Metalinguistic Knowledge. Language Sciences 19, no. 1:33-46.

Is a shorter recapitulation of her books, Words. Good place to start to get a feel for whether you’d want to read the longer work.

Language games, or, Navigating the new

Except this is no game to me.

I seem to be really struggling with writing my bibliographical essay and bibliography (primarily as an ancillary issue). I have realized that this is vastly new writing territory for me. There are, in fact, several pieces of writing by me of which I am particularly proud. Many of these are publicly available; some were turned into blog posts either at my previous blog (now residing here) or at this one.

Many of those pieces were written while engaging primarily with one text (often only one), along with a few supporting texts and/or class discussion to that point. This would be true of things from my early philosophy days or through history, anthropology, and sociology on to my LIS stuff with something like, “Is Bibliography a Science?” (590EB, Summer 2005) which had a handful of citations and a few dictionary definitions to “A Tale of Two Properties; or, CIDOC CRM P88 and P89“(590OH, Spring 2007) which is one standard, a small number of significant supporting, or critiquing standards and documents and a parcel of Wikipedia citations. [I never believed I would ever turn in anything with Wikipedia citations but the prof is fine with them, and I am for the sorts of things I used them for.]

Then in Fall 2006 (590TR) I wrote my first significant lit review with 42 citations (hopefully) woven into a particular story about “Mapping Thesauri for Interdisciplinary Work.” I did get an A but for various, legitimate reasons I do not yet have the comments that the prof wants to make. So. I know I did well—which has a pleasant habit of recurring—but I don’t know why or what could be improved—which has a similarly recurrent, but nasty, role in my education.

My lit review involved a fair few sources, most of which were articles, but they simply had to be woven into a coherent narrative that told the story I intended. There were many more good ones to choose from so it was mostly tell the story and then pick the sources that make the specific points you need to support, ensuring they cohere “internally” when telling the story.

Now I find myself facing, primarily, the mutli-decade output of two prolific scholars who, each in their own way, question and probe the foundations of their disciplines. Certainly I am representing Integrationism a bit more broadly than just Harris, but he is well represented as he should be. As for Hjørland I am letting him speak primarily for himself. But that implies that the people he cites are in conversation with him [Winograd & Flores, Wittgenstein, Goody, ….]

I am trying to make, show, demonstrate, suggest, … and inspire connections between the ideas, sources, and (partial) published output of two prolific scholars. And although Harris has written a boatload of articles, I have been mostly reading his (almost equally prolific) book output.

So this is an entirely new kind of analysis, synthesis and writing (process especially) for me. [Here’s the unannotated bibliography for now.] And I’m struggling. Badly.

I will get there, but it’ll take time. I hope so anyway as the amount of interlocking citations is only going to double, and probably triple, at a minimum, when I switch to the overall CAS paper for Spring [defend early May].

At the moment I am only supposed to be focusing on the direct and passably direct connections between Harris and Hjørland. But I simply cannot stop my mind (nor do I want to) from making connections that are important for the larger paper but not at the moment. They need to be recorded, processed, and hopefully remembered or refound when needed. So much new and interesting stuff to read and so much need for re-reading and synthesizing/synopsizing.

I still need to do some annotations and they could all be done differently … and I need to write the bibliographical essay making the one explicit (one-way) link and the others that I choose to weave into my narrative tying these two together as a start.

I have an “idea index” on my internal wiki, although the most up-to-date version is in my draft bibliographical essay Word doc. It almost seems as if real 3×5 cards would be best for this to avoid any multiple versions problem but they are useless from a portability option when one is already carrying a laptop. I need to do something with it though as it has become broader than the current essay and is geared toward the overall CAS paper now.

So if anyone has any good tips/views/ways/rubrics for dealing with large bodies of works—bodies comprised largely of two prolific scholars and their associated colleagues and citees—that need to be interwoven please feel free to pass along what you may.

… we may also say that until we make clear and explicit to ourselves, by reflection on our activities and goals, what it is we know and how that knowledge is related to the rest of our knowledge, we do not fully understand or fully realize what we have been doing and pursuing.

… Analysis is not in practice separable from criticism, nor elucidation from reform and rebuilding. But a little clarification in one place is likely only to expose further obscurities and difficulties in neighboring places, and there is some truth in the claim that we cannot clarify anything unless we clarify everything. Since we cannot manage that, we must be content with relative clarity and a bit of precarious understanding (2)

Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Berkeley: University of California Press.

I really have the utmost respect for Birger Hjørland. I may not agree with everything he says but I do see him evolving in ways that I do more agree with. And I’m hoping to prod him into using more of Harris’ and other’s Integrational ideas. But my respect comes not for his agreeing with my views (Forfend!) but from his public attempt to formulate a coherent account, as comprehensive as possible, of his chosen discipline and its overlap with ancillary or adjoining fields. He seems to be after a “systematic philosophy” the likes of which is rarely attempted anymore, at least by philosophers, and even more rarely by others.

His belief in the centrality of epistemology for our field resonates with the entire course of my life.

Many of the ideas and sources which have led me to this place have pretty much been my life for the past year [look at my “Some things read this week” posts for 2007]. And will be for at least the next 5 months more. Due to the nature of the problems, they, if not the readings, will (and have) been with me for all of my life.

Language, communication, epistemology, meaning, definition, knowledge, …

Harris and Hjorland administrivia


At the start of break I found a treasure when I was down in the Basement West stacks looking for another “Harris book”: Harris. Roy. 1990. The Foundations of Linguistic Theory: Selected Writings of Roy Harris. Ed. Nigel Love. London: Routledge.

Actually, I found 2 treasures. The edited volume I had so far overlooked; I have yet to undertake a completist approach to Harris’ writings as he has written so many books, much less articles. I have been predominantly lusciously wallowing in his books. Anyway, the little volume edited by Love is quite good and I was able to purchase myself a good used copy for cheap.

The unlooked for treasure was: Harris, Roy. 1977. On the Possibility of Linguistic Change. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press.

A tad more accurately, it is: On the Possibility of Linguistic Change : An Inaugural lecture delivered before the University of Oxford on 18 November 1976 / by Roy Harris, Professor of the Romance Languages.

This is a lecture given by Harris when he was installed as the Chair of the Romance Languages at Oxford.

This 23 p. document was pam-bound on 1 May 1984. It has a call no. label attached and the call no. is written in it in the right place, but it had no barcode and had never made it into the electronic catalog. I had a monographics stacks pass with me so Circ gave it to me to catalog. Today I did just that on my 1st day back in a while. There was a record I just brought in and made sure it was OK and attached a holdings and item record.

Yes, I read it over lunch. It is typical Harris at his scathing best. I imagine one should feel free to speak rather bluntly about one’s discipline and department when being given the chair of a department at Oxford. ;))


Thought I’d mention that a lot of Hjørland stuff has been showing up in my dLIST feed the last couple days. [You are subscribed to dLIST and E-LIS aren’t you? Or at least those of you looking for things of interest to read.] Seven things with Hjørland as the primary or co-author have shown up in the last 2 days according to the Latest Additions listing.

A search on “hjorland, b” or “hjorland” returns 8 items.

There are some good things here, including his recent information research article [dLIST], some conference presentations (ISKO, ASIST, …), and this article (recommended) from KO.

I am assuming that more will be showing up.

Many Hjørland documents are (or were) available from his site at the Royal School of Library and Information Science. In my collecting of his corpus I have primarily gone to the original publication source. That way I precluded any issues with something being a pre- or post-print or whatever. Some I got electronically, e.g., all JASIS & JASIST articles, many I photocopied. Also be aware, the list linked to at the start of this paragraph probably includes a large percentage of his publications but there are a couple missing.