Applying logic, organising information

Regular readers, if such there be, of this blog will know that one the recurring themes is my interest in theories and formalisms for the information sciences, particularly those derived from other disciplines. Formal logic, stemming from philosophy is one of these, and a recent book by Martin Frické gives a new slant on the… Continue reading Applying logic, organising information

In praise of messy desks

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries (AA Milne) Some of us naturally have tidy desks. Others of us, including myself, do not. And we in the latter camp have traditionally been made to feel inadequate, if not slovenly. This is, of course, grossly unfair. It has… Continue reading In praise of messy desks

On the teaching of cataloguing

Few things have raised as much controversy in the normally quiet world of library/education as how, and why, we teach cataloguing. On the one side are those who mourn the decline of teaching of traditional style ‘cat and class’, fearing that we are denying our students one of the few undeniably unique skills of the… Continue reading On the teaching of cataloguing

Dr Nicholson and his metabolic maps

Many years ago, in another life, while I was studying organic chemistry, my eyes often wandered to the colourful and complicated maps of biochemical pathways which often hung in lecture rooms and laboratories. I’m sorry to say that I paid them little attention, other than to reflect that I was lucky to have avoided the… Continue reading Dr Nicholson and his metabolic maps

Fads, assimilations and knowledge management

While writing a review for Aslib Proceedings of a new text on knowledge management, Kevin C. Desouza and Scott Paquette's Knowledge Management: an introduction, I commented that there was a bit of a contradiction in the way that the book addresses Tom Wilson's criticism – in his 2002 paper, The nonsense of knowledge management -… Continue reading Fads, assimilations and knowledge management

The case for Pluto

The makers and maintainers of classifications, thesauri and other tools for indexing and arranging human knowledge have to tread a delicate balance. On the one hand, they want to keep things stable as much as possible; users are annoyed if major changes are made too often, particularly if it means that hapless librarians have to… Continue reading The case for Pluto

Bush, Goldberg, Memex and the revision of history

This is a version of an editorial to appear in the Journal of Documentation. Vannevar Bush gets a mixed press these days. Once he was hailed as a 'father of information science' - some called him our 'Godfather' – on the basis of his 1945 Atlantic Monthly vision of Memex. This was, and in some… Continue reading Bush, Goldberg, Memex and the revision of history

Magic searching

I have written a review of a new book Magic Search: getting the best results from your catalog and beyond, which will appear in due course in Journal of Documentation. Here's a flavour of the review of what proved to be of much more interest than we have any right to expect from a book… Continue reading Magic searching

Naming of parts and other things

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day. To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens, And to-day we have naming of parts. (Henry Reed, 1942) Attending a talk at the… Continue reading Naming of parts and other things

Metadata and thesauri, plus ca change ?

Last week I ran two of the professional development courses which I run from time to time for Aslib (the London-based Association for Information Management). They were both great fun, particularly with the added incentive of Aslib's new, and very high-class, training facilities at Bonhill House. The course topics were, I thought, an interesting juxtaposition.… Continue reading Metadata and thesauri, plus ca change ?