On not being a weak discipline

I attended the ISI conference in Zadar earlier this year, as co-author of a paper on the relation between library and information science (LIS) and the digital humanities, which my colleague Lyn Robinson has blogged about. I found myself involved in a panel discussion on the state of information science research, in which some of… Continue reading On not being a weak discipline

The Janus face of documentation

Documents are generally agreed to be one of the main foci, in not the main focus, of interest for the information sciences, since the ideas of documentation were first developed by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine. We have recently seen a revival of interest in document theory, through the insights of scholars such as… Continue reading The Janus face of documentation

LIS research and practice; still opponents?

This post is based on my reflections on a talk I gave last summer at the iFutures 2014 conference at Sheffield University, and on responses to that talk. Ten years ago, in an editorial in Journal of Documentation, I commented on the gap between research and practice in the information sciences, which has been lamented… Continue reading LIS research and practice; still opponents?

Documents and people, Otlet and Heidegger

This is an amended review of Ron Day’s new book, Indexing it all: the subject in the age of documentation, information and data (MIT Press). The full review will appear in Information Polity. The significance and continuing influence of the documentation movement of the early twentieth century has become increasing commented upon in recent years.… Continue reading Documents and people, Otlet and Heidegger

On being Library and Information Science

My colleague Lyn Robinson has recently written a blog post on the nature of library and information science in the 21st century. Showing how LIS is inextricably associated with the idea of the ‘document’, she points out how the nature of documents is changing, and how this affects LIS, and its relations with disciplines such… Continue reading On being Library and Information Science

Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and information history for the future

I gave a talk to a meeting of CILIP’s Library and Information History group, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was a short and informal presentation, which – as it was US election day – had a presidential theme, and looked at some reasons why library and information history is worthwhile as a subject… Continue reading Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and information history for the future

Waxing and waning, but hopefully mostly waxing

Blaise Cronin presents an interesting and insightful article in the latest issue of Information Research on the waxing and waning of a field; reflections on information studies education. It is the latest contribution to a very long debate, going back over three decades, as to whether library / information science has a good future, as… Continue reading Waxing and waning, but hopefully mostly waxing

London (and Aslib) old and new

While leading a course for Aslib last week at the Etc. venues training centre near the Tower of London last week, I was struck by the view out of the window; which, I'm glad to say, the participants were polite enough not to stare at. In the foreground, Robert Smirke's Royal Mint building of 1809,… Continue reading London (and Aslib) old and new

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 mapping of science and the information sciences

It is just over fifty years since Derek de Solla Price produced his best known work: Little Science, Big Science. It was on the required reading list for my information science masters course, and – I suspect like many other students of the subject at that time – I wondered what it was doing there.… Continue reading The mapping of science and the information sciences