The latest in the series of CoLIS (Conceptions of Library and Information Science) conferences was held at the University of Uppsala at the end of June, following on from CoLIS 7 in London in 2010, and CoLIS 8 in Copenhagen in 2013. This is, I think, my favourite conference from the viewpoint of getting new ideas, and an overall impression of the way the more academic end of the LIS discipline is going, and CoLIS 9 was certainly up to standard.
As always, a variety of topics were presented; and as always the parallel session arrangement seems to conspire to put some of the talks I most wanted to hear opposite each other. There was a good balance of subjects, with theoretical papers matched by empirical, but the selectors managed to keep a good focus on concepts and frameworks. Phenomenology and practice theory were strongly represented, though domain analysis still evoked a keen interest. New for this time was a focus on embodied information, and the role of the body in information behaviour and practices. A continuing theme was the nature of the library/information science discipline, and the extent to which it should be open and welcoming to the influences and perspectives of other subject areas, as against being definite about our boundaries in the interests to maintaining our individuality: the battle lines on this issue seem to be increasingly strongly delineated.
I was pleased to see a good contribution from the City University London department. My own paper with Lyn Robinson, on a new concept of understanding based on the philosophy of information, can be found here. There were also presentations form our PhD students, Deborah Lee on a multiplane approach to analysing classification schemes, and Sylwia Frankowska-Takhari on image retrieval, and also from our former doctoral student Jutta Haider, now at Lund University, on online searching practices.
Information on the content of the conference is available here. Some of the papers will appear in a future issue of Information Research, hopefully with links to the texts of the others. My colleague Lyn Robinson has created a Storify for the tweets for each day of the conference,
Thanks are due to the organisers at Uppsala and Lund Universities for an efficiently organised and very enjoyable conference, and for arranging some splendid weather. One of the highlights was the conference dinner, held in the orangery of Linnaeus’ botanic garden; not only a lovely setting, but an inspiration for those interested in the foundation of taxonomy.
The next CoLIS conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in June 2019; information will appear on the web in due course, and on Twitter via @colis2019 and #colis10.