frenetic, or a comment on the New Media Citation digped of 2 Nov

digital citation in new media.
one hour, twitter,
go! #digped.

wrong tools.
tweets & convos
race past.

reflection,
@Jessifer files
Storified version.

On Friday the 2nd of November I participated in a Twitter chat on the topic of new media citation practices. It was quite “raucous” as Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) calls it in his post at Hybrid Pedagogy. For me, it was “frenetic.” [OED online. Sense 2b: Of a quality, power, act, process, etc.: frenzied, manic; wild, passionate; rapid and energetic in an uncontrolled or unrestrained way.]

As soon as it was over I attempted to write a poem describing my experience of it. I got the first two stanzas out fairly quickly but then got no further. This morning, Jesse posted his Storified version to Hybrid Pedagogy and I read it through. I think he (and it) does a good job of capturing much of what was said, although clearly not everything was captured, as he used about a score of the total of 440 tweets.

The second stanza of the poem above reflects more my frustration with the tools I was attempting to use. I have participated in less than a handful of tweet chats previously and I was not prepared for this raucous freneticism. I was at my desktop for it—wouldn’t even begin to think of trying it on the iPad—where I use the Twitter app for Mac from Twitter. But I wanted to keep that kind of separate from what I was doing so I opened Twitter in a Chrome tab on the desktop I am using for DigiWriMo and ran a search for the #digped hashtag.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that the Twitter search on their website was not showing me tweets (or more specifically, replies) from some of the folks I follow. For example, @Jessifer’s responses to me were only showing up in the Twitter app for Mac. I figured this out fairly early as my phone was next to me and kept vibrating as I got replies that I wasn’t seeing.

Robin Wharton (@rswharton) suggested I try Tweet Chat but I, in the moment, assumed it was an app and not simply a website. Later, Sara seconded it as a good tool also. I will definitely try it the next time.

The next biggest issue, not directly related to the chat but to DigiWriMo, is that I was trying to copy my tweets and the links to them into Scrivener to save them towards my word count. This was much easier from the Twitter app than the browser. This meant switching desktops and multiple windows and …. I eventually moved the Twitter app onto the same desktop but things stayed hectic due to the volume of things going on in the chat.

On the other hand, stanza two in the poem above also reflects my firm belief that Twitter is simply not the place for such conversations. Sure, it sort of worked. If you look at the comments on this post at Hybrid Pedagogy you’ll see that a few of the participants think differently than me. And that is fine. I have had these conversations before. Twitter works great for some conversations but, at least for me, fails horribly for others.

There were so many differing, and frequently unexplicated, assumptions behind (most of) the tweets and no way to tease out philosophical, departmental, temperamental or other differences. There were, on occasion, conflations, or at least lack of specifying, between whether one was talking about a standalone bibliography (annotated or not) or one attached to a specific work (article, book, blog post, etc.). There was little actual real discussion about what purposes/roles/functions a citation actually does or should play. There was much agreement that things are, and probably should, change in academia regarding citation practices. I am fairly sure that sometimes some of us were bringing “old” media issues back into the discussion supposedly about “new media.” But I am not sure there is, or should be, a lot of difference. Certainly the how of how one goes about making a citation in many new media might frequently need to be different than how one does in a print medium, but I remain fully unconvinced that the why is different.

To me, these sorts of higher level questions are of more interest and ought also be more immediate. Once the larger issues of why—multiple reasons corresponding to different roles/functions—are sorted out, then it is time to figure out best practices (within disciplines/communities/media/etc.) for actually doing so. One of the larger questions—or perhaps more intermediate—to me then becomes answerable, or at least addressable.

Back in the day, over 5 years ago now, myself and others (and no doubt many others elsewhere including such folks as the makers of Zotero) were wondering what and how bibliographies could be of the web and not simply on it. Sadly, I never got very far with that, and all of the people involved in the conversation with me at the time have also moved on to other things, although I am willing to bet that they are still highly intrigued in how things could be different if we had better tools.

Some of my questions were:

What purposes (if any) do bibliographies serve on the web? Is there one?
What form should web-based bibliographies take to support those purposes?
Should embedded COinS or some other OpenURL or similar technology be employed?
What would be the best way to present our literature in a web-based bibliography that might entice you to read some of it?

I was also trying to get at things better tools could do for us and allow us to do. My brilliant friend, Jodi Schneider, hit the nail on the head, as usual, with her comment:

Ok: in my ideal bibliography system:

You would be able to:
* filter, search, and sort items by any metadata field.
*select any subset of the bibliography (including the whole thing)
*and do actions on the whole or your selection

Here are some actions I would want:
*download citations to your own collection (online or locally hosted on your own computer)
*mark the subset for later use in the online system
*search the full-text of all items in the subset. Results would show KWIC snippets and could generate subsets for further actions
*add all references to your collection (preserving field structure)
*use an associated “bibliography processor” to download all the associated items. Your processor would be able to authenticate for your library access and individual subscriptions. It would create a new subset of problem items, for manual inspection, which could easily be passed to other services (like ILL).

Other bibliography thoughts:
*free online resources and subscription resources would be distinguished by an icon
*a good bibliography should give a sense of the field–clustering and facets may help with this, and leveraging the structured data (e.g. by journal, tags/descriptors, etc.)

If we had tools that easily pulled citations, references, links, pointers out of new media documents, web pages, reference managers, and what-have-you, and that easily added them to other documents, whether web-based or not (prior to printing, of course) and that allowed us to easily manipulate sets and subsets of them and to perform assorted actions on them easily, then not only would our lives be easier (and, arguably perhaps, better) but much of the discussion that took place in the tweet chat would be moot.

Only the larger questions of why we would cite or compile bibliographies would remain, along with some issues of formatting. But, despite the amount of effort that goes into formatting citations into the almost innumerable styles that are out there, the reasons for specific formatting styles is rarely ever known by most users of them, and even less frequently ever actually theorized (and how much of this formatting is just bullshit wasted effort in the first place?). We truly need to get rid of about 95% (or more!) of the styles that exist for formatting citations (in any medium) and revisit the why of the specific how of doing so, with good and proper reasoning for each choice.

Ah. Now Mark the librarian and inveterate footnote/citation tracer is talking. ::sigh:: I think for now I’ll just wander off of this obviously passionate topic. It seems clear that many of my first-order concerns with citation practices are not the same ones as many of those who participated in the chat. And that is perfectly OK, too.

I do want to add that I did, though, despite the poem or any of the above comments, enjoy myself in the chat. It was just a very frenetic enjoyment which could have been helped by better tools.

“Better tools.” Maybe that ought be the title of this post.

 

COinS. Screw ’em!

COinS

I’m just giving up. There will be no more in my posts; at least for the citations I include.

I’m tired of all the work I have to do to get the citations out of Zotero as HTML, open the source of the generated web page, copy the div with the COinS, paste it into HTML view in WordPress, and then still freaking pray that it works.

I guess I’ll leave the supposed COinS generator plugin that I have that generates COinS for the blog posts themselves activated. Sometimes it fails too.  I had some back and forth with tech support a long while ago and it “failed” for stupid reasons back then. Seems it is still failing for asinine reasons. Really, anyone want to tell me what the offending character is in this post title? The Profession’s Models of Information – some comments

Not only are the COinS for the two citations I used missing but so is the one for the post itself.

This post has all of the COinS displaying that it should, one for the post and four for the four books.

Other recent posts (since I started blogging again in Aug) have varying degrees of what they should as far as the COinS are concerned.

If anyone besides me was actually making use of the COinS I was embedding then I sincerely apologize. The work involved to only get screwed over repeatedly is simply not worth it.

It may be “the future(tm)” but our tools still suck!

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, 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

Ready for writing/research.


Ready for writing/research.

Originally uploaded by broken thoughts

Decided to clean up my writing/working areas before I buckle down and attempt to write my bibliographic essay.

Sure. It was a diversion to keep from real work. But this is a diversion that should pay huge dividends. I can actually see most of the desktop and I have room to spread things around again.

Yesterday, I also bought a laptop desk to use in my recliner. Hopefully that’ll help some so I’m not restricted to this uncomfortable chair in front of the computers.

Flickr set here.

Some things read this week, 2 – 8 December 2007

Sunday, 2 Dec

Brantley, Peter. “The Traditional Future.” O’Reilly radar 17 Sep 2007.

Recommended in a comment by Nathan on a weekly reading post in mid-Oct., esp. for the Abbott article mentioned by Brantley. Have that saved in the “print me at GSLIS” folder (38 p.) for reading later.

Thanks, Nathan. There are some interesting things in that post and its comments.

Lots of my own stuff from this blog over the past year.

Hjørland, Birger. 2004. Domain Analysis: A Socio-Cognitive Orientation for Information Science Research. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 30, no. 3 (March): 17-21. (accessed September 19, 2007).

Re-read for bibliography.

LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Draft Final Report. Read a tad more.

This Week

Slogging and re-slogging through lots of stuff for my bibliography.

Finished the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Draft Final Report.

Productively non-productive

Thanks to all my friends for sending their condolences in various venues. I am uplifted by your care. I’m a right proper heathen but if your views run differently and you can spare a thought for my aunt’s family right now that’d be awesome.

She was a rock for that family. For a very long time.

[I apologize for any odd paragraph formatting below as WordPress is screwing with me relentlessly on this.]

I think or, at least, I hope that I was productively non-productive yesterday. I didn’t do anything directly related to my bibliography, although, perhaps, that could be argued.

I read lots of my own stuff (and comments) from this blog over the past year. While I did, I did lots of electronic annotations in Zotero, copied and pasted anything useful written about articles or books by Hjørland or Harris (or related) into my draft bib, noted blog posts that will be useful when I come to write my bib essay and the CAS paper as a whole in my wiki, and other minor related tasks. This morphed out of the books read in 2007 delaying tactic I was on primarily Saturday.

Late in the evening, I took the content of my 2 posts on Hjørland’s “Semantics and Knowledge Organization” ARIST chapter [part 1, part 2]and got them re-formated into a Word doc with any redundancies removed and internal and external citation lists merged for both at the end. Printed out it’s 11 pages solid. Now I’ve got to put that work—and an awful lot of unanswered questions, some very big—to even more work. Still. This is mostly CAS paper stuff primarily; although, this is the paper with the one Harris reference. Hmmm. Definitely bib material.

I’ve been varyingly unhappy, perhaps unsatisfied is better, with my blog for quite a while. Can’t quite put my finger on what exactly about it that bugs me. But I do know that it’s various, and varying.

Part of it is not being able to cover everything I’d like as deeply and/or as broadly as I’d like. But that’s just life. I do wish that my “Some things read this week…” posts were better. Better in the sense of more fleshed out entries for far more of the things read. Some wrap-up thoughts, etc. “Progress” is important but this is a prime area where I could employ some goals towards Slow Reading. [Please ignore that “progress.” I wrapped way too much up in that term.]

Speaking of John Miedema, there was an interesting post and comments at a recent post, “Have you set an end-date for your blog?” [BTW, there are frequently interesting things to read at Slow Reading.]

Have you set an end-date for your blog? Interesting question, and idea. For the right reasons, it is a grand idea.

In a comment, John writes:

Hi Peter, I’ve put one blog to “sleep” so far (http://johnmiedema.wordpress.com). It was my first public blog, had the usual first blog characteristics — wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience.

Well, I guess—nope, didn’t put it to sleep but gave it a new manifestation and expression, and name—that is fairly similar to me. It explains my 1st blog pretty well, and it explains this one, too.

wandering mission, odd mix of personal and professional — and was a real learning experience

Well, my mission wanders no more than I do so not really applicable, although all output probably evidences differently as far as appearance to others. But an intentional “odd mix of personal and professional,” certainly. And it remains forever—hopefully—a learning experience.

I know John wasn’t implying that these “usual first blog characteristics” are anathema to every blog. Perhaps just those he’d prefer to write. 😉

Hell, I’d love to be able to write a highly focused topical blog or two. And that’s also a part of my non-satisfaction with this blog. But writing those blogs is not me. Or, at least, not me right now.

And based on what I read yesterday, it has been highly focused for a while now. It’s just highly spotty, and not really intended to be so focused.

End date? Sure. It’ll definitely have one. I’m just in no position to set one right now, unsatisfied as I may be. Let’s hope I don’t just disappear it, though. 🙂

Some things read this week, 25 November – 1 December 2007

NOTE: CommentPress version of LC Working Group Draft Final Report needed

Please see last entry. We really need a CommentPress install of the LC Working Group’s Draft Final Report. Can anyone do this service quickly?

Sunday – Tuesday, 25 – 27 Nov

Winograd, Terry and Fernando Flores. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1987.

  • Ch. 5: Language, listening, and commitment
  • Ch. 6: Towards a new orientation
  • Ch. 7: Computers and representation
  • Ch. 8: Computation and intelligence (Mon)
  • Ch. 9: Understanding language (Mon)
  • Ch. 10: Current directions in artificial intelligence (Tue)
  • Ch. 11: Management and conversation (Tue)
  • Ch. 12: Using computers: A direction for design

A very interesting book that is frequently recommended by Hjørland in his writings.

This is at least the 24th book I have read so far this year. I have also re-read 3 of these 24 for a 2nd time this year, too, i.e., read 3 of them 2x this year. I have (at least) 5 more that are in various states of being finished. This is a lot more books than last year, which I am happy about, but it also means that I have read fewer articles. Trade-offs are plentiful in life.

Sunday – Wednesday, 25 – 28 Nov

Borgmann, Albert. Crossing the Postmodern Divide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

  • Ch. 4: Hypermodernism (Sun)
  • Ch. 5: Postmodern Realism (Wed)

This book has done a lot to change my views on postmodernism. I still do not like the word at all, but this book contains some good ideas on how to overcome the postmodern condition, how to move forward positively as a society as we recover from the failures of the modern project.

Sunday, 25 Nov

Hjørland, Birger. Read half a dozen or so book reviews, encyclopedia articles and letters to the editor.

Tuesday, 27 Nov

Harel, David. Computers Ltd.: What They Really Can’t Do. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [for LIS452]

  • Ch. 2: Sometimes we can’t do it

Hjørland, Birger. “Documents, Memory Institutions and Information Science.” Journal of Documentation 56.1 (2000): 27-41. 14 September 2007.

Stewart, Todd. “Topical Epistemologies.” Metaphilosophy 38(1), January 2007: 23-43.

This was mentioned in the list of faculty publications in the ISU Philosophy Dept. Alumni Newsletter Fall 2007 that I received today. I thought perhaps it might have something to add to the epistemological work that Hjørland recommends so highly for our field; which I agree with. I’m not sure though. Todd is focusing on something different than most of the epistemological work we need to do as librarians; although, it might well apply to the work we need to do within our own field.

…when we engage in the study of a topical epistemology what is called for is the application of our best analyses of epistemic concepts to specific subjects or, alternatively, the development of a substantive rather than a conceptual account of whether and why it is that beliefs about a specific topic are justified or unjustified. What is called for is an explanation of whether and why it is that beliefs about a particular topic are actually or possibly justified or unjustified (24-25).

An interesting issue, which I cannot address here, is that the development of a topical epistemology may be rather fruitless prior to some sort of an agreement about the correct semantic or ontological analysis of concepts or objects as they apply to a topic… (26). [Amen!!]

If you believe in the epistemological project of librarianship as much as Hjørland, myself and, hopefully, others you may find this an interesting read. Again, I see it as more applicable applied to the topics within our own field where we are allowed to, and should, pass judgement on the epistemological status of our beliefs.

Metaphilosophy was available online via the UIUC ORR. While perusing the 2007 issues of Metaphilosophy online I also found a few more interesting looking articles, including one on “intelligent collegiate depression” (ICD) that I will definitely be reading and reporting on.

Wednesday, 28 Nov

Harris, Roy. “The Semiology of Textualization.” In Harris, Roy, and George Wolf, eds. Integrational Linguistics: A First Reader. 1st ed, Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon, 1998: 227-240.

(Re-)Read another article for the 3rd time. Walrod one from MDRT.

Thursday, 29 Nov

Double, Richard. “Value and Intelligent Collegiate Depression.” Metaphilosophy 38(1), January 2007: 111-121.

American universities can be unhappy, alienating places for many students who are brighter, more sensitive, or less conformist than most of their peers (opening sentence, 111).

This one is pretty good, although I was hoping for a bit more somehow. I do think the author has a pretty good grasp of the depressive mind. I think his reply to “The Immensity of the Cosmos Objection” is pretty faulty, though. Luckily I don’t use that one myself.

If you are interested in what might well be termed “rational” responses to depression—or more generally—then please do check out this article. Do not let the journal title put you off at all; it is actually quite accessible.

Bibliographic Ontology Specification – found via this post on CSL at darcusblog. Hmmm. Interesting. I was looking at some of this stuff back in Spring 2006. I really need to learn more about RDF and be more serious about this kind of thing.

Friday – Saturday, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Draft Final Report.

Since I was moving so slowly (and late) Friday morning I was able to go by GSLIS and print this nicely and double-sided automatically. Started reading it at my late lunch. Read the Letter from the Working Group on the bus ride in around noon.

Read more tonight.

I have a few comments and questions, but I am liking much of what I’m reading. About halfway through it.

What we really need is a CommentPress installation of this. I really wish I could do this now, but no way possible.

I’m thinking the report must be in the public domain. LC produced. No markings on report page or report itself. If my assumption is correct then it should be allowable to do so.

I see from a comment on the Installation page by Ben Vershbow that one still needs to have a WP 2.2 install, not 2.3 yet. A comment by on paragraph 2 on 6 Nov says so.

It would so rock if someone could get the report (rapidly) into a CommentPress install. Comments are due on/before 15 December. Two weeks. Not much time.

But think of the value and it could be—should be—archived.

Anyone willing? And can. I’m willing but cannot possibly in the time before comments are due. 🙁

I really need to work with Blake (cause he rocks) and get myself a CommentPress install, but as a 2nd “blog.” There’s a couple of things that can (and should) be done. I may not be the proper one but someone must get things started. That’s for the future, though, whenever that arrives.

Tunneling for rabbits

How far down the rabbit holes can I fall, and can I then tunnel between them whilst still falling?

Do I deserve my “little ducklings” or would I be better served by spectators at my self-immolation?

I offer the ducklings/spectators the option of deciding for themselves and changing their minds as they see fit, just as I reserve the right to change what I think I’m doing here.

I’m not sure that I’m really ready for this (the announcement, not the work) but I have decided on the topic for my CAS project, which since it came “soon enough” in the semester has changed my topic for my bibliography in Bibliography class this semester.

For Bibliography I had decided, and significantly begun, on the (primary) English-language publications of Dr. Birger Hjørland. Based on my wide-ranging interests and readings of the last several months I had been attracted to more and more of his articles and ideas. He also has a fairly representative list of publications available on his website, though it is not complete. A few A&I searches, luck, and ensuring that the “right people” know of my interest and I quickly have a pretty close to exhaustive list. Much of it is available electronically and much more will be as soon as Knowledge Organization gets online. I now have almost everything printed or photocopied and in 2 large binders (except for his book which remains pristinely non-hole punched).

I was really looking forward to (and had begun) reading this substantial amount of material chronologically. How many of us have ever had the opportunity to do such a thing and literally observe (as much as possible via published output) someone’s views develop over time?

But a choice of CAS project topic forced a shift. As I said previously (and even earlier in other venues), one of the possible things to address during Bibliography was “compiling my working bibliography for my CAS project.” But as the semester began I still had no idea what I was going to do for my project.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I “knew” my topic. But it has taken several weeks and multiple conversations to go from the idea that my topic could only be addressed as a dissertation, to it being doable if I take the “long route” to finishing my CAS by getting a job first, to “Suck it up, dude! You can do this in a semester” to “Yes, I have it and damn it, I’m excited about it!”

So what is my topic? Well, I actually did a better job giving it away the other day than I feel up to at the moment. But simply put, I am going to attempt to apply Integrationism to the field of LIS [see both links for more details.]

What does this mean for my immersion in Dr. Hjørland’s work? At least two points come immediately to mind. First, of the major epistemological viewpoints or “paradigms” in LIS, I see his approach “(the ‘sociological-epistemological paradigm’ or the ‘domain analytic approach’)” (Hjørland, 1998, 611) as the only one (currently) capable of embracing an integrationist perspective. Second, it is a handful of his articles which have seriously allowed me to see (or perhaps crystallize for me ) some of the overarching themes, stances, viewpoints, paradigms, and so on in our field. Thus, much of his work remains critically important to my further work and, in particular, to my CAS project topic.

For instance, I took myself out for dinner and drinks this evening and read the intro chapter to his book (1997) and took notes. There are several places where his language practically screams Integrationism.

As for my bibliography itself, it has gone from being boldly reaching in quantity but well defined and bounded to highly amorphous and about as vaguely defined as possible. But I absolutely adore Dr. Krummel for allowing me to take this route. I have not completely shifted to Harris (and/or Integrationism) as that is a much bigger topic for a bibliography. What I am theoretically focusing on at the moment are the points of contact between Harris and Hjørland. Depth and not quantity is the operative word now. Quality was always the operative word and still is.

Dr. Krummel said he is completely unconcerned about the number of entries that are in the final bibliography and that my focus is on the direct points of contact while including and defining the grey areas to either side as best as I can. That leeway and trust seriously frees me up to do some important exploratory work. I can read the things I was reading anyway, albeit in a different light, and include the things I consider important without having to worry about reading pretty much a whole body of work.

Have I leapt in over my head? Again? Probably. But I am fired up about this whole project! Hell, I even seem to be turning into a proper researcher and doing well thought out searches, considering what kind of sources I need for each aspect of my project, talking to subject librarians, and so on.

I have been making so many book purchases lately that the credit union contacted me to make sure someone hadn’t stolen my debit card info. I have mostly been buying Harris books, but I ordered 2 proceedings last night with papers by Hjørland in them. In most cases I have library copies available and even in my possession. But I want and/or need these for myself.

Today I had another productive conversation with Kathryn because she is my advisor and because Dr. Krummel insisted that I keep in touch with her about all of this. What an easy demand to meet! 🙂 As my ideas have been coalescing to morphing to coalescing again I have been wavering about whether I was going/needed to meet with Dr. Hjørland one-on-one when he comes to visit soon. Today I scheduled this meeting.

Now I have an ambitious list of things to address in preparation for making this a productive meeting for both of us. I need to read some of and re-read some others of Dr. Hjørland’s publications, same for Harris, hopefully have a productive talk with The Improbable Don Quixote, make some short overview sketches, and try to have a short overview document of “the issues” as I see them for Dr. Hjørland’s convenience a day or two in advance.

Yeah.” Anyone got a match?

Seriously though. I am absolutely stoked! Perhaps I’m just too stupid to be more than a itty-bitty bit concerned about what I’m getting myself into. Perhaps I expect too much of myself. But I want this.

I do not expect to revolutionize the world or even LIS. I certainly do not expect to solve anything. Even if I managed the first I wouldn’t accomplish the second. But I can do a good job of laying out what I see as a major problem area in our field. I can point to some overlap and points of contact between two major theoreticians.

Best of all possible outcomes? Who knows?

Success? Spark a few interests and start a conversation. That is what I am aiming for. Well, and a tad bit of learning for mself along the way. 😉

The upside for the moment is that it keeps me out of the biblioblogosphere for a while. Perhaps a very good thing? Cause some of you folks … yeah, I got some things to say and they may not be exactly endearing. But some of you really need to come down off your high horses. Sure, you’ve got some valid points but it simply is not the case that we all learn the same nor is it always the case that trying to take a middle road or questioning is meant to be obstructionist. The place has become mighty fractious (and worse) again. Disagreement I like. Veiled name-calling, belittling, “just get on board,” and “my way is the right way” are not disagreement and they are certainly not discussion. They are condescending, they are threatening, and they are wrong. OK, done.

See what I mean? Probably best I have no time to get into all this at the moment.

Hjørland, Birger. “Theory and Metatheory of Information Science: A New Interpretation.” Journal of Documentation. 54.5 (1998): 606-621.

Hjørland, Birger. Information Seeking and Subject Representation: An Activity-theoretical Approach to Information Science. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1997.

Is it now the right thing at the wrong time, or…

… the wrong thing at the right time, or, perhaps, can it just be there are too many right things to do at overlapping right times?

I know I haven’t fully explicated my bibliography topic yet but a potential change has arisen already. This change is both negative and beneficial; as most changes are. [And as many who ardently advocate for change seem too often to ignore.]

I have chosen a “topic” of immense interest to me which will also allow me to pursue it (reading sequence, primarily) in a fundamentally different way. The topic is (much of) the work of one specific author who writes in areas of immense interest and importance to me. They often write about the larger issues, or at least situate their thoughts in context with the larger issues, argue for making our epistemologies (and assumptions) explicit, and argue for an explicit epistemological basis which I am clearly drawn to.

This person is also going to be visiting GSLIS in the near future and will also be at ASIS&T Annual. This will provide me several opportunities to talk with them. And while at ASIS&T I will also be able to speak with some of the other folks with whom my author has been engaged with in their own slice of “the grand discussion.”

I have spent quite a few hours and a score or two of $$ collecting, adding to Zotero, and printing the fairly sizeable output of my author, along with beginning my reading program “from the beginning,” as one might say.

Sounds just about perfect, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong?

Well, I am a CAS student, which means I have to do an 8 semester hour “project” as a capstone to my degree. I had always been hoping to do something a tad (or lot) more projecty than a large paper. The large paper was always, of course, a fall back since one of those is always imminently doable.

The final eight hours are the CAS project, a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship or information science, which is followed by a final oral examination [from the CAS program description].

When I first signed up for Bibliography this fall several months back I was hoping to know what my project was going to be so I could work on my lit review, in particular. I began the semester without a project topic (as I was fully afraid that I might).

As many of you know—from my reading lists and otherwise—I maintain several deep interests at the same time. I imagine many of you do, too. That is one of the stereotypical traits of librarians that gets far less airplay than, say, love of cats.

Back in May or so, David Bade turned me on to the Oxford linguist/philosopher Roy Harris. [Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, David!] I have since read 6 of his books and am currently reading a 7th. I also have 4 more sitting at home. I have recently ordered 3 others from Amazon (2 have arrived).

Harris is a leading figure in integrational linguistics or, simply, Integrationism.

While I have some recorded stabs at thesis or problem statements [that I’m not ready to share], it ought [it seems to me] to be abundantly clear to everyone that everything we do in libraries, librarianship, and/or information science is based upon the use of language. I have so far found no way in which to take this as completely uncontroversial.

In some ways, though, it may not be entirely self-evident. On this point, I am a bit divided. I cannot personally see how it could not be self-evident, but I am unsure whether that is the case for everyone [in LIS].

Subject description and assignment, indexing, thesauri and ontologies (controlled vocabularies of all types), information retrieval (of any kind), librarian as intermediary/gatekeeper, relevance, user query statements, query expansion, …. Really, is there anything we do which is not based upon the use of language?

Honestly, that question is a little naïve. The same could be asked about lots of arenas of life. But considering how vastly broad the domain of LIS is—both theory and practice—I can think of nothing so completely dependent on language.

So the question now becomes, “What is the LIS view(s) of language?” Once we admit to the radical dependency upon language for a field involved in the use of recorded data/information/knowledge this seems a fairly basic question. Have any of you ever asked it?

On the [what I consider to an extremely off-] chance that you’ve ever asked it of yourself, did you ever try to get outside the “metalinguistic framework” of the educated Westerner (or of orthodox linguistics, which is founded on the same)? Did you even try to try to answer it based simply on your supposedly naïve sense of being a lay user of language? Probably not, to either of those questions.

The integrational critique has serious implications for our discipline. Deeply fundamental implications. If I thought I was the person to even begin to address them I would petition to change to the Ph.D. program immediately. Unfortunately [in this case], I am not even remotely as bright as some of my friends seem to think. If I was then perhaps I could actually produce a dissertation that was one of the rare few that actually adds to scholarship. I would so love to be able to do so. But, it is not to be. I am simply not this bright.

I can easily see how wedded our field is to orthodox linguistics, I can easily find examples across every aspect of our field to show this is the case, I can (soon) produce a good overview of the integrational critique of orthodox linguistics, I can see many of the implications this critique holds for our field.

Unfortunately, I cannot see them to the depth to which they truly go. Nor can I yet even begin to see what choice we have but to act as if orthodox linguistics is “correct” in our actual practice. And while I do think this admission is a start, as it implies that we’ve acknowledged the issue of reliance on a completely bankrupt theory of language, I do not particularly want to argue for a [further?] separation of our theory from practice.

I want to be able to “see” what a full embrace of integrationism might mean for the theory and practice of LIS! And without other people paving much of the way I am simply not that person. I certainly do not know all of my limits but this is one of them.

Based on my applying for jobs before I was particularly ready to [I’d prefer to be done with this degree] the question of how exactly I would finish my CAS [time frame, mostly] arose. I have a total of 5 years [started May 2006] so the 8 hr. project could be done over an extended period. Over the last few months as this issue arose in my mind—and I read more and more Harris books—I came to think that maybe it could be addressed if I took the longer route inherent in starting a job before completion. I thought that I couldn’t possibly do it in a semester. But after my talk with my advisor the other day I have decided that, yes, I can.

So. Perhaps I have my CAS project topic.

Without going into any more detail [I hadn’t intended to. Yet.] it seems to me that I ought to switch my bibliography topic to Integrationism and Harris in particular.

What to do? What to do?

I imagine that I will still be really interested in my first topic for quite a while. I even think that if there is a way to “harmonize” integrationism and LIS then this author’s views are the (currently) only beginnings.

If I change my topic then I will certainly still be able to engage with my author while visiting us (as I had fully intended before I chose the topic anyway!) and at ASIS&T. My questions will just take a broader focus than before. While the $ spent on printing would become a currently “unnecessary” expense I really have no problems with it. It is all in binders in (primarily) chronological order and will be easily accessible in the future. At hand, so to speak.

Long and perhaps rambling. But maybe now you see the context for the opening questions. It seems to be another case of too many right things to do at overlapping right times. 🙁

How is one to do the right thing at the right time when they conflict with what is actually doable?

Sure. I could put off the reading of more Harris until after the semester. Except for it isn’t happening that way. Or I could just keep on with my pleasure reading of Harris and put the more serious considerations off for spring. But unlike my current author, Harris has written both a ton of articles and a ton of books. I really need to be paying better (i.e. explicit, notated) attention to where I see connections between Harris and LIS.

What am I to do? It’s not too late but a decision needs to be made.