Foundations of the information sciences

My academic work here covers two aspects.

First, I am interested in the kinds of theories, concepts and models used in the information sciences, and how theories are developed and used in the discipline. I have tried to examine conceptions of information in different domains, particularly philosophy, physics and biology, to see if lessons can be learnt, and useful insights gained, from this kind of comparison. This may mean drawing lessons for library/information science from ideas of information in the physical and biological sciences; but equally it may, and should, the work the other way, with LIS concepts informing other disciplines.

I like the idea that Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy of Information, and information ethics, may be the best conceptual basis for the library/information disciplines, and that it may give a solid foundation for studying issues such as privacy, and ethical behaviour on the internet.

I am also interested in the information disciplines themselves, and how they are changing in response to new technologies and new information environments; in particular how they can respond to current issues of fake news, and the post-factual society. My studies include the kind of research carried out in the information sciences, and also education for the library/information disciplines.

I use ideas derived from these studies in my teaching at CityLIS, where I lead the Research Methods and Communication course and the LIS Masters dissertation project, and contribute to a course on Foundations of Library and Information Science.

Examples of my recent publications in this area are:

D Bawden and L Robinson, Library and Information Science, in Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy, K.B. Jensen, R.T. Craig, J.D. Pooley and E.W. Rothenbuhler (eds.), Wiley, 2016, vol.1 pp 1068-1073, online DOI 10.1002/9781118766804.wbiect113

D Bawden and L Robinson, Super-science, fundamental dimension, way of being: library and information science in an age of messages. In Information cultures in the digital age: a festschrift in honor of Rafael Capurro. M Kelly and J Bielby (eds). Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2016, pp 31-43.

D Bawden, The noblest pleasure: theories of understanding in the information sciences, in Theory development in the information sciences, D.H. Sonnenwald (ed), Austin TX: University of Texas Press, 2016, pp 281-299

D Bawden and L Robinson, Information’s magic numbers: the numerology of information science, in Theories of Information and Scholarly Communication, CR Sugimoto (ed.), de Gruyter, Berlin, 2016, pp. 180-196

D Bawden and L Robinson, “Waiting for Carnot”: information and complexity, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 2015, 66(11), 2177-2186.

D Bawden and L Robinson, “A few exciting words”: information and entropy revisited, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 2015, 66(10), 1965-1987.

D Bawden, L Robinson and T Siddiqui, “Potentialities or possibilities”: Towards quantum information science?, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2015, 66(3), 437-449

D Bawden and L Robinson, “Deep down things”: in what ways is information physical, and why does it matter for LIS?, Information Research, 2013, 18(3), paper C03

L Robinson and D Bawden, Mind the gap: transitions between concepts of information in varied domains, in Theories of information, communication and knowledge: a multidisciplinary approach, Ibekwe-SanJuan, F. and Dousa, T. (eds.), Berlin: Springer, 2013, pp 121-141

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