ASIST 2009 in Vancouver

In Vancouver, BC for ASIST 2009 Annual Meeting: Thriving on Diversity: Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World.

Today is the 20th SIG-CR (Classification Research) Workshop: Bridging Worlds, Connecting People: Classification Transcending Boundaries.

1st session, which I’m in now, is titled: Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Indigenous Knowledge Organization. Moderator: Hope Olson. Papers are: Language, Text and Knowledge Organization: One Native American Story by Cheryl Metoyer; and, Martin Nataka’s “Indigenous Standpoint”: Toward a Theoretical Location for Indigenous Knowledge Organization by Ann Doyle. [These are not listed on the website. See link above for SIG-CR for titles of other papers below.]

2nd session will be Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries. Moderator: Barbara Kwasnik. Papers by Szostak & Gnoli, Ali Shiri, and Xiaoli Huang.

3rd session will be Crossing the Boundaries of Convention. Moderator: Corinne Jorgensen. Papers by Amelia Abreu, Kwan Yi, and Gabel and Smiraglia.

4th session will be Crossing System/Searcher Boundaries. Moderator: Dagobert Soergel. Papers by Marianne Lykke-Nielsen, Jens-Erik Mai, and Joseph Tennis.

Seems the paper by Timothy Patrick will not be presented.

There are also a handful of posters, including one by UIUC’s Ingbert FLoyd, Thomas Dousa and Michael Twidale.

Looking forward to seeing a bit of Vancouver and seeing colleagues again. I have already seen 3 of my 4 co-panelists from last year. In fact, they are here at SIG-CR.

When we head home we will be taking the train from Seattle over to Chicago, and then another to Champaign. I am really looking forward to that bit of the trip, too.

habitually probing generalist

Change of blog name

I have changed the name of my blog. Again. This time it should not break any of the Internet nor should you need to change feeds; I hope.

3 years ago tomorrow I moved my blog to WordPress and renamed it Off the Mark. This was after a few years of blogging at Typepad under the name …the thought are broken…. I had put out a call for suggestions and for slightly different reasons both Walt Crawford and Richard Urban recommended Off the Mark. For those and other reasons I liked it. But over time various (possible) connotations have been bugging me. I was certainly aware of them then but I dismissed them, at least in my own mind.

A few months after renaming my blog I read an article for a class and my tagline was born. That tagline is now being promoted to the name of my blog. Henceforth, this space is to be known as habitually probing generalist.

I feel that that far better represents me and how I’d like to be known. For now, Off the Mark will be my tagline.

In the interest of disclosure, I feel that the primary reason for this change is that which I stated above—Off the Mark carries certain negative connotations which I no longer am willing to ignore and habitually probing generalist better represents the external face I want to present. Secondarily, though, I cannot deny that the phrase “off the mark” is heavily represented and used on the Internet. There is a greeting card company with that name (I have enjoyed giving a card or 3 to others from that company; check them out) and at least another blog or two, besides being a common phrase in its own right. “Habitually probing generalist” appears to be only used by me and a few others who have referenced my tagline. Thus, I am laying claim to it. Carole Palmer deserves a boatload of credit for it but I alone am responsible for this specific formulation.

Working toward this change I made myself a new favicon about 2 weeks ago. No longer is my favicon barely distinguishable pink flowers but is a blue background with a whitish “hpg” in it. I still need to do a little code editing so the fonts are switched for the name and tagline on the blog but that can wait. A looming physical move takes precedence.

With my blogging output over the last year a few of you might well ask “What is the point of a name change for a moribund blog?” Sadly, that is a valid question. I cannot make any promises but ….

CAS project

Friday I met with my academic advisor, Dean John Unsworth, about my CAS paper, for the first time in about 11 months. The gist of what we discussed is that things are settling down in my life (as much as possible for someone with a temporary job) and that I am ready, and looking forward, to beginning on the job of writing and defending this paper.

First, I must get physically moved across town and somewhat unpacked but then I should be able to devote far more time to it than I was willing to over the last year. The love of my life and I will live together and there will be no more of that whose apartment are we going to?, are you/am I spending the night?, blah blah. Perhaps more importantly, I will have research time once my 2nd year Visiting Professor appointment starts 16 August. This should make a major difference in my mental ability to focus on the task at hand. Also, S will be majorly busy and working many hours in September and October so I hope to use some of that time to get back in the flow of reading and writing towards a directed end.

My time over the last year has by no stretch been a waste! I have read far more broadly in a vast array of disciplines, topics and genres, which has better prepared me to think about and critique the actual use of language and communication. I was on a panel at ASIS&T last year where I spoke about Integrationism in regards to tagging. I also attended the 1st Ethics of Information Organization conference this May.

I now have an idea for a draft proposal for a presentation at the 2nd Ethics conference next year. This also forms a small but core portion of my critique of the uses of the concepts of language and communication in LIS. Thus, working towards fleshing this out will be a big help in a key premise of my argument. I might also be able to then expand on it or shift it a bit to present at ASIS&T or the SIG-CR preconference next year in 2010.

I also have an idea for a way to have interested parties work with me to compile a “listing” of theories of language and communication used in LIS and citations of works that explicitly use them, well or not. On this head, though, I am first doing a bit of research to seed the list and to determine what might be the best tool to use for a (small, I assume) group to manage it while making it publicly available. Stay tuned.

… and this means what for the blog?

Well, I hope that I will blogging much of what I get up to. I will need to reread many things and refresh my memory of what they say. Summarizing these for the blog is a possibility, as is comparing and contrasting ideas. Bouncing ideas and/or draft paragraphs/sections of my paper or my conference presentation ideas off of my readers are distinct possibilities, too.

No promises. But. I hope that I can claim that—for the near future, at least—I am back.

Sing a song with a friend
Change the shape that I’m in,
And get back in the game,
And start playin’ again

John Prine. Clay Pigeons.

ASIS&T 2008

[Update 3 Nov 2008: Just uploaded a revised PPT with updated Notes which are much closer to what I spoke from. Although, they clearly are not what I said verbatim.]

ASIS&T is going well.  I arrived late Saturday afternoon in Columbus (OH) and am getting along fine with my roommate whom I met over the Internet by posting to my blog.

Our panel* went well yesterday and I am far happier with my portion than I thought I’d be. I have received some nice comments since, including one from a “luminary.”  I was asked if I’d be posting my slides and I said I would. I still need to make an explicit entry on my “Writings” page but here are the links for now.

http://marklindner.info/presentations/ASIST2008/mrlASIST2008.pdf [This is large! 6.2 MB PDF]

http://marklindner.info/presentations/ASIST2008/mrlASIST2008.ppt [3.1 MB Powerpoint]

My friend, Christina, blogged the panel I was on here. She is also blogging many other sessions at her blog, Christina’s LIS Rant.  She also told me that what I said was more important than my slides. While there are notes in the PPT they aren’t the final ones I used.  Perhaps I’ll post those at some point. Of course, they aren’t exactly or entirely what I said either.

Socializing is going well. I’ve seen several interesting posters and a few good sessions. And tomorrow night I’ll get to see my “baby girl.” That is, the one who turns 25 on Election Day.

* “Tagging as a Communication Device: does every tag cloud have a silver lining.” My portion was a suggestion that tagging researchers make an explicit commitment to a theory of language and communication. If you were to guess that I even had one to suggest—Integrationism—you’d be right.

Thus, I tried to give a very, very basic intro to Integrationism, show how community fits into/is described by the macrosocial (within the theory), and how tagging (as a user behavior) can be explained by Integrationism.  As I said above, I have gotten some nice feedback and interested a couple people in Harris and Integrationism. That, my friends, was the entirety of my scheme. Mission accomplished. 🙂

Need roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus

Is anyone looking for a roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus, OH this October?

I am a reasonably quiet, non-smoking, male, old enough not to be partying late into the night.

Sharing a room is pretty much a necessity since I’m still a student, work for hourly pay and the entire cost of the conference is on me. Seeing as I’m on a panel I kind of have to go. 😉

Early bird registration ends this coming Friday, Sep. 12th., although room reservations at the conference hotel have a little longer for the conference rate.

Haven’t decided if I am coming for any preconferences or not yet but I will be arriving Saturday at some point so will need a room Saturday night through and including (probably) Wednesday night.

If you need or desire a roommate please contact me at mark [dot] r {dot} lindner (@) gmail [dot] com.  Much appreciated.

Books read in 1st half of 2008 (and some)

Taking a cue from someone else’s post which I saw a month or so back here is a list of the books which I have read in the 1st half (plus) of 2008. I imagine I missed recording one or two and I know I failed to record one or two which were re-reads. I also have a few books in progress which were started sometime earlier but aren’t finished yet.

Doing this now will make it simpler come the end of the year.

As anyone who knows me only (or primarily) through this blog can see, my reading took somewhat of a turn this year so far. As it stands I am about to return to something more like the back half of last year and first month or two of this as of today. Summer is fast winding down and it is time to concentrate on finishing my CAS paper and prepping for the panel I am on at ASIS&T (Oct.).

Before we get to the list, though, I’d like to mention a conversation I had with my friend the other day. We were discussing my love of [much of] our literature and she expressed some concern over my ability to find something to read for edification and enjoyment when I am done with my degree and school.

I assured her that that is not in any way an issue. Just because I am done with school won’t mean I am done reading the literature of my profession. There are too many gems from the last 100+ years waiting to be read (and critiqued). I also have hundreds of non-fiction and a score or two fiction books to be read already in my possession. There are 1000s more I do not own. There are books to re-read. And there are genres which I have barely even begun to consider, such as poetry; of which she has a decent collection to get me started.

My reading habits—especially whether I can find something to read once I back off some on the LIS stuff—should not concern anyone. There is too much too know to not be able to find something to read, and after almost a lifetime of actively avoiding literature there is much to make my own.

Some of these were talked about, or at least mentioned, here earlier in the year but I am far too lazy to try and link them now.

So far there’s 29 books read, 3 of which were re-reads. There is poetry, fiction, literature, philosophy, and assorted non-fiction, most of which is language and communication, and LIS.

8 January

Harris, Roy. 1978. Communication and Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

January [re-read]

Harris, Roy. 1998. Introduction to Integrational Linguistics. 1st ed. Language & communication library series. Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon.

14 January – 11 February [re-read]

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

25 – 30 January

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.

10 – ? February

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

18 – 21 February

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.

23 February

Richards, Jennifer. 2008. Rhetoric. New critical idiom. London: Routledge.

2 – 10 March

Aitchison, Jean. 2003. Linguistics. 6th ed. Teach yourself. Chicago, Ill: McGraw-Hill.

15 – 23 March [re-read]

DeLillo, Don. 1986. White Noise. Contemporary American fiction. New York: Penguin Books.

18 March

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

16 – 28 March

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

31 March – 4 April

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

9 – 28 April

Austin, Michael W, ed. 2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Ed. Michael W Austin. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

20 – 24 April

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

28 – 30 April

Forster, Michael N. 2008. Kant and Skepticism. Princeton monographs in philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

8 January / 1 – 10 May

Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Librarianship 5. Berkeley: University of California Press.

4 April – 12 May

Budd, John. 1992. The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. Vol. 71. Contributions in librarianship and information science. New York: Greenwood Press.

approx. 6 – 13 May

Barnes, Bill. 2007. Read Responsibly: An Unshelved Collection. Seattle, Wash: Overdue Media LLC.

19 – 30 May

Chia, Mantak. 1997. The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

27 – 30 May

Kressley, Carson. 2004. Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them. New York: Dutton.

16 June

Dubberley, Emily. 2006. Sex for busy people : the art of the quickie for lovers on the go. New York: Simon & Schuster.

?? June

Stone, Ruth. 2002. In the Next Galaxy. Port Townsend, Wash: Copper Canyon Press.

26 June

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Task Force on Guidelines for OPAC Displays. 2005. Guidelines for Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) Displays: Final Report May 2005. Recommended by the Task Force on Guidelines for OPAC Displays. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Cataloguing Section . Vol. 27. IFLA series on bibliographic control. München: Saur.

29 March – 3 April / 4 June – 14 July

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

14 – 25 July

Bright, Susie, ed. 2008. The Best of Best American Erotica 2008. Ed. Susie Bright. London: Simon & Schuster.

25 July

Gardner, John. 1976. Gudgekin, the Thistle Girl, and Other Tales. New York: Knopf.

?? – 5 August

Carlson, Ron. 2002. At the Jim Bridger: Stories. 1st ed. New York: Picador USA.

5 – 8 August

Foskett, D. J. 1984. Pathways for Communication: Books and Libraries in the Information Age. London: C. Bingley.

10 August

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich, and H. T. Willetts. 2005. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

What have I been up to?

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

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

[some kind of division]

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

“Article” project

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

Flickr set. Main pic.

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

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

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

Reading some David Bade things

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

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

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

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

Job Search

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

The End of the Semester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[the other part of the union of topics]

ASIS&T panel

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

Fifth Annual GSLIS Storytelling Festival, Saturday, 18 April

[Audio] [My Flickr set] [Program]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opportunity sent my way

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

Incomplete

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

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

Scheming and pondering at the same time.

Crane Alley Guinness Mondays

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

Sara is going to library school

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandy Berman and panel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jer at Fort Hood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

Some things read this week, 21 – 27 October 2007

Note: Not much read due to being at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Milwaukee until Wed. evening.

Wednesday, 24 Oct

Shepherd, Simon. “Concepts and architectures for next-generation information search engines.” International Journal of Information Management 27(1), Feb 2007: 3-8.

This is a short, but interesting article in a copy of a journal I picked up for free at ASIS&T. While the prototype has great sounding potential the article is a bit too upbeat for me, e.g., “…future search engines will be able to solve the problems of both synonymy and polysemy” (3, emphasis in original).

In his description of Google PageRank he states “… due to its ability to present Web pages in a rank order that puts the pages the user is most likely to want to see at the top of the list” (3, emphasis in original). So I should trust someone who cannot get this correct? Google most certainly does not put pages in an order that the user will most likely want to see first. It puts the pages in an order that a typical user may want to see first. These are two entirely different beasts altogether! One is a real flesh-and-blood user with a real query while the other is a statistical fiction with no means whatsoever of expressing, much less having, an information need.

The theoretical problems for small-scale examples have been solved and the basic mathematics is understood. It remains to implement the algorithms “in anger” on real databases (5).

So scalability is not an issue at all? Perhaps he ought to read Harel (see below).

We have achieved Latent Semantic Indexing which seeks to identify semantic links between documents even where such links are by no means obvious even to a human reader, …” (6).

I realize that the key word here is going to be “obvious,” but this statement makes absolutely no sense to me. I can parse it out in English well enough. I just find it completely meaningless unless one really waffles about their use of “by no means” and “obvious.” If a human cannot identify the semantic links then are they there? It is humans that construct meaning. Can a machine specify meanings between items when it cannot even recognize meaning in the first place?

Again, it looks interesting. I also have no doubt that it would be an improvement over Google. The idea of backlinks is intriguing also, although I have questions around what constitutes a “reference” to another document (it can also work on the local computer). But no algorithm can solve synonymy and/or polysemy! That is not how language works. Perhaps with a large enough text corpus these algorithms (if scalable?) can do an amazingly good job at addressing both of these issues. But solve them?

Thursday, 25 Oct

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

  • Ch. 3: Sometimes we can’t afford to do it [for LIS452]

Tonkin, Emma (2007) Signal and Noise: Social Construction and Representation. In Lussky, Joan, Eds. Proceedings 18th Workshop of the American Society for Information Science and Technology Special Interest Group in Classification Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Word doc available at DLIST]

Zelle, John M. Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science. Wilsonville, Or: Franklin, Beedle, 2004.

  • Ch. 13: Algorithm Design and Recursion

Friday, 26 Oct

Davis, Hayley and Talbot J. Taylor, eds. Redefining Linguistics. London: Routledge, 1990.

  • Ch. 1: Davis, Hayley G. Introduction.
  • Ch. 2: Harris, Roy. On Redefining Linguistics.

Danskin, Alan. “Tomorrow never knows”: the end of cataloguing? World Library and Information Congress: 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council, 20-24 August 2006, Seoul, Korea. [pdf] Found via Cataloging Futures. [Oops. Wrong link. Thanks, Chris!]

A much more positive view of changes needed in the cataloging arena. Lays out the current challenges to traditional cataloging and then answers the question whether cataloging is relevant in the short- to medium-term and in the long-term. Argues that cataloging is about establishing a context for each resource, despite the horrible failure of the OPAC to make use of this navigational potential.

While I agree, this is one of those areas where it is not so much the OPAC designers fault. Some portion of it is, of course, but more of the problem resides in our rules systems; AACR2, MARC21, etc. Have a look at Barbara Tillett’s work on bibliographic relationships and especially the following Vellucci article:

Velluci, Sherry L. “Bibliographic relationships.” In: Weihs, Jean, ed. The Principles and future of AACR: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR, Toronto, Canada, Oct. 23-25, 1997: 105-146. [pdf available here, thanks to Irvin for the link]

I agree that this is an important argument to make but we are in such an awful situation to make it currently. I wonder to what extent this is being fixed in RDA. I’m not too hopeful really. Tillett’s relationships made it into the RDA to FRBR mapping and they say a mapping of RDA to FRAD is due.

But these sorts of relationships and mappings cannot be afterthoughts if they are to work as they should; they must be integral to the system from the beginning. Even if they are being added mid-way that is not the same. JSC documentation says that they considered FRBR from the beginning. Perhaps. But the main problem is that FRBR (as a complete E-R model) is not complete. Both FRBR and RDA is being done piecemeal. And we are to get a coherent system from that process?

Friday – Saturday, 26-27 Oct

Davis, Hayley and Talbot J. Taylor, eds. Redefining Linguistics. London: Routledge, 1990.

  • Ch. 3: Love, Nigel. The Locus of Languages in a Redefined Linguistics.

18th Annual SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop, 20 Oct 2007, Milwaukee, WI

This was an all-day workshop focusing “on the enduring aspects of classification/subject analysis and the presence of those aspects in commonly used methods, especially those we encounter in our daily lives” (program). Papers are available in DLIST.

Welcome from Joan Lussky, Program Chair.

Keynote, Hope Olson, “Cultural infrastructure: the story of how classification came to shape our lives.” [Word doc available at DLIST]

3 main features of classification:

  • mutually exclusive categories
  • teleology
  • hierarchy

Mutually exclusive categories

  • began (traceably, at least) with Parmenides – “what is is, what is not …”
  • Jean d’Alembert – Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedie – impenetrability
  • Durkheim & Mauss – determined lines of demarcation

Teleology – Plato

  • not sure of the direct connection on this one as got caught up in her loose use of “teleology” and made no notes here. People are certainly free to do what they want with words, but if they are going to take a technical word from one domain and use it differently in another then they ought to carefully explain what they mean by it. Dr. Olson uses “teleology” frequently but with what meaning exactly? If she means that all classifications have a purpose then that is, no doubt, very true and important to remind people of. But that use is vastly broader than what Plato meant and would be much more clearly conveyed by simply saying that all classifications have and serve a purpose. This kind of (mis)attribution of a newer use of a term or phrase to someone previous is something Dr. Olson perfected in The Power to Name. It is also what caused me to stop reading a bit over halfway through.

Bacon – Hegel – Harris – Dewey

Aristotle – Hierarchy via Syllogism

more on hierarchy

classificatory tentacles reach beyond philosophy

Classification is ubiquitous – lots of interesting stuff on planetary classification, hurricane classification(s), race and vital statistics, the ICD, American Time Use SUrvey’s Activity Lexicon, etc.

Where next?

  • non-bibliographic classifications give insight to classificatory structure
  • some research has already begun, e.g., Cheryl Knott Malone on the NAICS

Questions:

Barbara Kwasnik – planets – instances vs. classes

Dagobert Soergel – mutual exclusivity is almost always artificial. (Amen!)

Cherly Knott Malone – planet example is great in relation to Hope’s early work, i.e., the “classical planets” are those from Earthling’s perspective

Morning lead speaker, Emma Tonkin, “Signal and noise: Social construction and representation.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

Em had to rush through her presentation in spots and there is much on language in it so I will sit down and give it a close reading before commenting on it. Based on the presentation I can and will recommend it.

Pengyi Zhang, “Supporting sense-making with tools for structuring a concept space: A proposal for design and evaluation.” [Word doc available from DLIST]

Not much to say on this one based on the presentation. Could be a good idea but we are a long way and several design cycles away from anything that does better than just getting in the way. And what about non-web-based sources?

Tiffany Smith, “Cataloging and you: Measuring the efficacy of a folksonomy for subject analysis.” [Word doc available at DLIST]

Compared LCSH versus top tags for 5 books in LibraryThing.

Five minute madness – descriptions of the posters and why we should be interested in them

Hur-Li Lee, et. al. “Reflecting and shaping world views: Historical treatments in classification.” [Word doc available at DLIST]

Erik Mitchell, “Organization as meta-literacy: Evaluating student use of metadata and information organization principles in the classroom.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

Bradley Wade Bishop, “Organizing geographic information: the creation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

Melinda Whetstone, ” Status of health information classification for consumer information retrieval.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

Lunch and posters

Thomas Dousa, “Everything old is new again: perspectivism and polyhierarchy in Julius Otto Kaiser’s theory of systematic indexing.” [Word doc available at DLIST]

Excellent paper and presentation that shows the value of a century old view of indexing that has much relevance for today due to its view of perspectivism and polyhierarchy.

Mikel Breitenstein, “Push and pull in ‘the attention economy.'” [Word doc available in DLIST]

While interesting, what was the connection? Sure, on one description we do live in an attention economy. But seeing as it was pointed out that this view “presents a questionable world social model” and that it “separates need from want,” that is, the “poor need attention” and the “wealthy want attention,” why should we in IS consider it a valid model in any respect? And, again, what is the connection to classification?

Afternoon break

Afternoon lead speaker, Corinne Jörgensen, “Image access, the semantic gap, and social tagging as a paradigm shift.” [Word doc available at DLIST]

Semantic gap takes many forms – her use is as the difference between the description of an object in different languages, e.g., a picture of an apple vs. a histogram of the image. [Except while a photograph may qualify as a description of the object photographed, it is debatable. In what way can a histogram of a photograph be said to be a description of the apple?]

Images are multivalent

While I am not a physicist by any means, uses “entropy” in a way completely counter to my understanding, and to the use by Bates in her 2005 and 2006 articles on the definition of information. Is this another case of people expropriating concepts from other domains and then using them in ways in which they were not meant to be used. My guess is that her use comes via or through the Shannon model of communication and gets torqued in that way.

Caroline Beebe, “Bridging the semantic gap: exploring descriptive vocabulary for image structure.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

Disconnect between the:

  • physical data (binary code)
  • conceptual interpretation (intellectual code of the searcher)

Cheryl Knott Malone, “When more is better: a counter-narrative regarding keyword and subject retrieval in digitized diaries.” [Word doc available in DLIST]

“Just read it.” Well, no. Read it and think about it.

Wrap-up: Lussky, Jörgensen, Olson, Tonkin

Jörgensen: Due to entropy, the organization of information causes loss of information [see my comment above on her paper]. What are the limits of each technique?

Olson: Two themes:

  • Context (social, cultural, individual, disciplinary)
  • Structure, or lack thereof

So, “how are context and structure related?”

All in all, an interesting day.