Blog

Tweet, tweet … analysing a library conference backchannel with Hawksey’s TAGS

Twitter has gained a reputation as a social media tool which is very popular within the LIS community, and most libraries and archives, LIS schools, and library/information conferences, and well as many individuals in the discipline and profession, make serious use of it for information exchange. Being able to easily get an analysis of the… Continue reading Tweet, tweet … analysing a library conference backchannel with Hawksey’s TAGS

Still awaiting the quantum turn

Two years ago a paper by myself and my colleagues Lyn Robinson and Tyabba Siddiqui was published in JASIST, introducing and explaining the idea of an emerging 'quantum information science'. We argued that this could be seen in five respects: use of loose analogies and metaphors between concepts in quantum physics and library/information science; use… Continue reading Still awaiting the quantum turn

Library and information science in an age of messages: Rafael Capurro’s comments

In a previous post, I gave a slightly modified version of a chapter written by Lyn Robinson and myself for a Festschrift in honour of Rafael Capurro. Capurro subsequently wrote an insightful and generous commentary on all of the book's chapters. Below, I reproduce a shortened version of his perceptive comments on our chapter: Thanks… Continue reading Library and information science in an age of messages: Rafael Capurro’s comments

Unveiling of nature or social creativity: classification and discovery in astronomy

It has always interested me to see how the development of ideas of classification and categorisation in the information sciences has been intertwined with analogous developments in the natural sciences. This is most obviously the case for botany, where Linnaeus's stipulation that "classification and name-giving will be the foundation of our science" could equally well… Continue reading Unveiling of nature or social creativity: classification and discovery in astronomy

Two encyclopaedias: both alike in dignity?

A recent article, originally appearing on an Australian radio website and widely republished, celebrated the 16th anniversary of Wikipedia, suggested that traditional encyclopaedias were now worthless, as Wikipedia completed the process of organising knowledge begun by the Romans. Well, up to a point. Wikipedia, however widely used it may be, is not the only online… Continue reading Two encyclopaedias: both alike in dignity?

Gutta percha: forgotten material of the communication revolution

Few other materials have had such a revolutionary impact on the world. And few others have been forgotten so quickly. (Ben Wilson, Heyday: Britain and the birth of the modern world, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 2016, p. xxiii) Describing gutta percha as "the vanished material that made the telecommunication revolution possible", Ben Wilson gives it… Continue reading Gutta percha: forgotten material of the communication revolution

Why LIS doesn’t have a quick fix for the post-factual society … and why that’s OK

The irony is that by now it was supposed to be perfect. For most of my working life in the library/information area, first as a practitioner and then as an academic, the emphasis was on providing access to information. Most of the time, whatever the topic, there was never enough information, and accessing what there… Continue reading Why LIS doesn’t have a quick fix for the post-factual society … and why that’s OK

Invented and discovered: mathematics in Popper’s World 3

I have always had an interest in mathematics. This is despite, or perhaps because of, never being very good at the subject at school, and avoiding it to the maximum extent compatible with getting a science degree at university. Not that I have any fondness for what is called 'recreational mathematics', which has always seemed… Continue reading Invented and discovered: mathematics in Popper’s World 3

When data science met the library: the 4th British Library Labs Symposium

Last Monday, I had the chance to attend the latest in the series of BL Labs annual symposia. The BL Labs were set up to "support and inspire the public use of the British Library's digital collections and data in exciting and innovative ways", and the symposia series is designed to showcase some of the… Continue reading When data science met the library: the 4th British Library Labs Symposium