Saturday – Sunday, 26 – 27 April 2008
Abbott, Andrew. (2008). “Library Research and Its Infrastructure in the Twentieth Century.” Spring 2008 Windsor Lecture, 12 March 2008
Read the pdf, below. [Note: Audio in Real format.]
Windsor Lecture Series
“Library Research and Its Infrastructure in the Twentieth Century”
Dr. Andrew Abbott, University of Chicago
PDF format | audio recorded 3/12/2008
Sorry. Taking a rain check on this one once again. I went to the lecture and took some notes. Wanted to check them against the audio. Then I got the text of the lecture. Now it’s been a week since I read it.
I’d really like to write about it; I think Abbott makes some fine points. And [parts of] his research methodology really resonates with me for much of what I do. I understand that there are vastly different ways to “do research” but his is one I comprehend and feel.
Who knows if I’ll ever get around to writing about it. Thus, I suggest you check out the audio or text of the lecture, whichever works best for you.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
FRBR for Serials
Found at The Serials Cataloger blog in a post called “FRBR for Serials.”
Interesting. All I’m saying for now. Want to see/hear more.
Monday, 28 April 2008
Austin, Michael W, ed. 2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.
- Ch. 19 : The Soul of the Runner by Charles Taliaferro and Rachel Traughber.
Finished this. Quite good overall even if spotty in a few parts.
Tuominen, Kimmo, Sanna Talja, and Reijo Savolainen. 2002. Discourse, Cognition, and Reality: Toward a Social Constructionist Metatheory for Library and Information Science. In Emerging Frameworks and Methods: CoLIS 4: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Seattle, WA, USA, July 21-25, 2002, Ed. Harry Bruce, 271-283, Greenwood Village, Colo: Libraries Unlimited. [WorldCat]
Looks at metatheories in LIS:
Three different metatheories—the information transfer model, constructivism, and social constructionism—are identified and their assumptions about the relationships between discourse, cognition, and reality are described (271).
The authors are arguing for a constructionist view.
Constructionism’s emphasis on language is heartening.
The primary emphasis of constructionism is not on mental but on linguistic processes. In constructionism, language is seen as constitutive for the construction of selves, and formation of meanings, not merely something that influences thinking (273).
To the following, I can only say, “Hear! Hear!”
Therefore, LIS would benefit from including an explicit theory of language into its metatheoretical repertoire (273).
Also contains a great, short critique of the information transfer model. And a nice view of the evolution of theory and metatheory.
Springer III, Edward V., and Rong Tang. 2002. A Communication Perspective on Meta-Search Engine Query Structure: A Pilot Study. In Emerging Frameworks and Methods: CoLIS 4: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Seattle, WA, USA, July 21-25, 2002, Ed. Harry Bruce, 323-327, Greenwood Village, Colo: Libraries Unlimited. [WorldCat]
This one didn’t stick out so much for me.
Monday – Wednesday, 28 – 30 2008
Forster, Michael N. 2008. Kant and Skepticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
This is was interesting [finished it], particularly if one is into Kant and/or skepticism. But probably not the best use of my time currently. Le sigh.
At points I was understanding this a paragraph at a time, basically. The author has a very didactic way of explanation and writing but I can see how it is pretty much required when talking about issues such as these.
The last chapter is a charm, though. In it, “The Pyrrhonist’s Revenge,” Forster shows that Kant’s underestimation of “radical” [if you will] Pyrrhonism undercut his whole frame of transcendental arguments.
I was particularly taken by this paragraph and, even more so, by its footnote:
Hegel and Bardili also imply that classical logic has not been provided by Kant or his predecessors with any epistemological defense capable of protecting it against such skeptical attacks. This appears very plausible (85).
 The question of the epistemological security of logical principles has in general received rather scandalously little attention from philosophers, who have tended, instead, to show indecent haste in attempting to reduce other sorts of principles to logical ones, on the assumption that the latter were certain and that their certainty would thereby transfer to the former as well—as, for example, in Kant’s explanation of analyticity in terms of the law of contradiction, and Frege’s attempt to reduce arithmetic to logic (143).
Always one of my pet peeves with logic and logicians who want to use it as the ultimate basis for, well, much of anything, much less of everything, instead of as the wonderful tool (among many) available.
Referring to “Kant’s explanation of analyticity in terms of the law of contradiction” there’s also the matter of inferring belief in the law of contradiction from people’s inability to believe contradictions. At best, one might infer tacit agreement if the principle was articulated. But seeing as I hold that people are able to believe contradictory things, [perfectly healthy, normal people] this bad argument has even less force for me [See for example, "Why Kripke was Puzzled About "A Puzzle About Belief."] Actually, I don’t so much hold as people can hold contradictory beliefs, although they can, but that most cases of description of people holding beliefs that contradict are by 3rd parties. As most people are fully unaware of their contradictory beliefs 1st person accounts fail to even notice them.
Having re-read that piece on Kripke I am quite proud of myself that my main argument over those years was already one of language in use. When I 1st noticed (remembered) that it was like a slap upside the head. But it also made sense. Another little piece of the puzzle just fell into place.
There are other good reasons why one might want to question the epistemological basis of the law of contradiction (or any other fundamental law of logic), and thus how one gets logic started on a solid epistemological basis.
Cronin, Blaise, and Lokman I Meho. 2008. The shifting balance of intellectual trade in information studies. http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/2254/ (Accessed April 4, 2008). Or: JASIST 59(4):551-564.
An interesting article with which I do and do not want to argue with their conclusions. Basically, they claim that Information Studies has become a much better exporter to, and somewhat better importer of, other disciplines.
This article also goes a long way towards why I have so many issues with bibliometric studies. To make this an actually doable project meant cutting lots of corners, as any large-scale, interesting study would require. But by cutting those corners then the best one can really get to is to point at what looks like a trend and to make tentative judgements. Have I ever seen an author make that claim in their analysis, though? Rarely.
They claim that the reasons for the “striking increase in foreign citation to the literature of IS can be explained in large measure by two developments” [i.e., exports] (11). One is the “growth of research domains influenced materially by advances in information technology and Internet applications …” (11). “Second, the expansion of ISI’s coverage of domains cognate to information studies” (12). At this point they discuss the case of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, the number one importer from IS. LNCS is not only number one but is so by a factor of 4.35 times the 2nd highest importer, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence. The 3rd highest is only 3/4 of #2 and it goes rapidly down from there.
Now, admittedly, there is a fairly long tail in the remaining top 200 importers. But. The claim is that the “number of non-IS papers citing the IS literature has risen from 3,982 for the period 1977-1986 to 18,079 for the period 1997-2006, an increase of 354%” (10). That is all well and good, and on one hand I can’t dispute it (accepting all caveats of their methodology).
Knowing that LNCS numbers in the multiple 1000s (at least 3500) I wondered how many of those were published before ISI started indexing them and might in fact contain citations left unaccounted for. So I took me a quick trip to Springer’s LNCS site and had a look around. Here’s what I found:
- 1975-79: 48 titles
- 1980-84: 91
- 1985-89: 208
- 1990-94: 450
- 1995-99: 766
- 2000: 200
- 2001: 269
- 2002: 274
- 2003: 325
- 2004: 360
- 2005: 473
- 2006: 519
- 2007: 521
- 2008: 98*
So my hypothesis may be out the window, but …. Do you see anything else interesting?
I’m not going to attempt to do the math, but that is a significant increase in titles published each year. In 2007 there was well over 5x the numbers published between 1980-84, for example.
So the authors’ claim that (part of) the increase is due to an increase in coverage by ISI is, perhaps, not untrue. But neither is it the truth really. If we assume a similar increase in output in LNAI then these two series alone have had a dramatic impact on what looks like increased outside citation of IS. And I can’t really deny that it is an increase in outside citation. But. Is it increased outside citation or primarily an increase in the number of things published? Both appear true. But the one alone could make it look like the other is the case.
The authors also state that, “[by] way of contrast, the level of intra-field citations (IS citing IS) increased by a mere 33% during the same time period” (10). There could be several reasons for this. Perhaps our field hasn’t seen such a dramatic increase in number of publications, perhaps the growth in number of citations per article in our field is far less than in others, and so on and so on.
So I can’t really say that Cronin and Meho are wrong. Neither do I believe that they are. But I do believe, even accepting all of the caveats that they (or anyone) had to to do a study of this size, that their analysis is at best only a part of the truth. First off, though, I find it quizzical to claim that there are more citations because the tools you use to count have increased their coverage of the “inbound” disciplines. That does not begin to show increased citations. At all. I find it even more odd to attribute the massive increase to the increased coverage in ISI. It is not an increased coverage at all. Rather it is a massively increased publication output that continues to be covered by ISI.
And that is far more than I ever wanted to say about this article.
Gnoli, Claudio, Gabriele Merli, Gianni Pavan, Elisabetta Bernuzzi, and Marco Priano. 2008. Freely faceted classification for a Web-based bibliographic archive : the BioAcoustic Reference Database. http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/2274/ (Accessed April 4, 2008). Presented at: Repositories of knowledge in digital spaces: accessibility, sustainability, semantic interoperability. 11th German ISKO Conference. Konstanz, 20-22 February 2008.
This is a project to watch. It does have a freely available public interface at http://www.iskoi.org/ilc/bard/ but I suggest reading the article so you have some idea what it is doing before playing with it. The article isn’t long.
Thursday – Friday, 1 – 2 May 2008
Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Loving it so far. [I think that's all I want to say for now.]
Friday, 2 May 2008
Smiraglia, Richard. 2007. Two Kinds of Power: Insight Into the Legacy of Patrick Wilson. In Proceedings of the Canadian Association for Information Science, Mcgill University, Montreal, Quebec: Canadian Association for Information Science http://www.cais-acsi.ca/proceedings/2007/smiraglia_2007.pdf (Accessed May 1, 2007).
I may well have to write about this later. Seeing as it is bibliometric I need to comment on why I am more accepting of this piece than, say, Cronin and Meho above. There is much more to this piece though, for me, than its bibliometric issues. That is, it is far more meaningful for me as a whole.
Short, 13-pages with citations. Well worth reading as an example of domain analysis around “a classic work” [in our own field even].
The short answer as to why this sits better with me is because in one sense it validates much of my reading of the last 4+ years. The literature described by Smiraglia is a good description of what I have spent my time on for a while now. It is one [good] description of my view of the literature. It validates me.
It ain’t exactly rational, but its true.
Coutu, Walter. 1962. An operational definition of meaning. Quarterly Journal of Speech XLVIII, no. 1:59-64.
Sent here by Budd (1992) The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process, p. 97.
Seems kind of behaviorist, to say the least, but also has some interesting points. Wonder if Harris has commented on it anywhere. Will have to scrub some reference lists maybe.