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 believe that Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy of Information, and his formulation of information ethics, may be the best conceptual basis for the library/information disciplines, and that it may give a solid foundation for studying the practical and ethical issues faced by the information professions.

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, the relation between theory and practice, and education for the library/information disciplines.

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

Examples of my  publications in this area are:

S Pinfield, S Wakeling, D Bawden and L Robinson, Open access in theory and practice: the theory-practice relationship and openness. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020. [open access book resulting from a joint AHRC project with Sheffield iSchool]

GE McQueen and D Bawden. Luciano Floridi and contemporary art practice. Journal of Visual Art Practice, 2020, 19(4),328-350.

D Bawden and L Robinson. “The dearest of our possessions”: applying Floridi’s information privacy concept in models of information behavior and information literacy. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 2020, 71(9), 1030-1043.

D Bawden and L Robinson. Still minding the gap? Reflecting on transitions between concepts of information in varied domains. Information, 2020, 11(2), 71; 

T Gorichanaz, J Furner, L Ma, D Bawden, L Robinson, K Herold, D Dixon, S Søe, B Van der Veer Martens, and L Floridi, Information and design. Book symposium on Luciano Floridi’s ‘The Logic of Information’, Journal of Documentation, 2020, 76(2), 586-616. 

D Bawden and L Robinson, “Essentially made of information”: concepts and implications of informational privacy, Information Research, 2019, 24(4), paper colis1913, available at [paper presented at the 10th CoLIS conference, Ljubljana, 17 June 2019]

D Bawden and L Robinson, Supporting truth and promoting understanding: knowledge organization and the curation of the infosphere, Advances in Knowledge Organization Vol. 16. Challenges and opportunities for knowledge organization in the digital age. Proceedings of the Fifteenth International ISKO Conference, Porto, 9-11 July 2018. F. Ribero and M.A. Cerveira (eds.), Baden-Baden: Ergon Verlag, 2018, pp17-25.

D Bawden, Can information be conserved, and why would it matter? [blog post], 2018

D Bawden and L Robinson, Curating the infosphere: Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy of Information as the foundation for Library and Information Science, Journal of Documentation, 2018, 74(1), 2-17

D Bawden, Still awaiting the quantum turn [blog post], 2017

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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