The full day Preconference on the History of ASIS&T and
Information Science and Technology Worldwide was not officially sponsored by
SIGHFIS, but SIG members and officers were heavily involved in every aspect of
its organization. See
Humanistic Information Science
The Other as a Research Agenda for Information Science
Kathryn La Barre
Charles van den Huevel
Homage to Helen Brownson: Information Science Pioneer, Tina Jayroe.
Fundamental Research Questions in Information Science
What is the function of foundations research in any discipline, and in IS? It is claimed that it is to produce a fundamental dialectic, a particular type of intellectual culture. This panel aims to flesh-out this culture by means of a dialectic, by addressing four inter-related zones of inquiry, concerning the historical, ontological, epistemological (and scientific), and socio-ethical aspects which include acts such as the creation of technology or policy.
Avoiding Determinism: New Research into the Discovery of Information
For more than sixty years the field of information studies (IS) has taken a cue from the scientific/technical work of Claude Shannon. Shannon, of course, built upon the work of the likes of Alan Turing, Norbert Wiener, and John von Neumann. The IS developments of the 1970s and later continued to accept many of the deterministic premises than shaped the earlier work. It is only in recent years that a less deterministic conceptual stance began to gain purchase in theoretical and applied IS work. The contributors to this panel will advance three specific non-deterministic foundational outlines for future research in IS.
The Janus Panels: Looking Back in Order to Look Forward
This panel session consists of two parts: "I remember ADI/ASIS/ASIS&T" and "What I want ASIST to be in 2037." In the first part, selected ASIS&T members who have held membership for at least 25 years will briefly talk about their favorite/most memorable moments in ASIS&T. Former presidents and major award winners meeting the 25 years or more membership criterion will be given precedence for the short presentations. The following members with 25+ years who have agreed to present in this part are: Samantha Hastings, Trudi Hahn, Toni Carbo, Ralf Shaw, Michael Buckland, and Chuck Ben-Ami Lipetz. In the second part, selected ASIS&T members who have been members less than 5 years will briefly tell us what they want ASIS&T to be like, to do, to represent, etc. when it turns 100 in 2037.
The Future of Information History
This panel discusses developments in the scholarship of information history and speculates on its future. Previously, history was a distinct mode of research and a specialty community within information science; it operated largely outside of the mainstream scholarship that was underway within the dominant empirical and rational paradigms. Today, more social and culturally-oriented approaches have gained momentum across the discipline and these frameworks include an historical perspective as one dimension of their conceptual apparatus. As a result, an historical sensibility is now embedded more broadly across a larger swath of scholarship. This is an exciting and welcome development for champions of history--but it is also problematical. The new historical dimension to research is diffuse and its practitioners typically do not identify as historians. To illustrate the new ambiguous place: there is no obvious home for this historical panel in the track-based program structure of the ASIS&T annual meeting. From a variety of angles, our panel traces the recent breakthrough and mainstreaming of history and aims to characterize its new face. The panel includes a classically trained historian, a theorist, and two scholars whose research features historical themes but is centered outside an historical specialty. A concluding discussion among panelists and the audience will be guided by a big question: What is the future of information history?
Repositioning Information Science
Three coordinated presentations will question the accepted view of Information Science as an emerging, scientific discipline closely tied with Information Technology and, mainly, textual data. First, this is not the only choice. The development of Information Science in France has been radically different from the US experience: Information Science arose in the Humanities, has been largely subsumed under Communication Studies, and distanced from Information Technology. Second, the scope has been too narrow. The focus has been too narrow. For example, people's ideas are influenced works of art. Can Information Science cope with issues of museum presentation and the cognitive and aesthetic experiences of museum visitors? Third, character: What kind of science could Information Science be?
Trends and Issues in the History of Information Science and Technology and the ASIS&T History Fund Awards Showcase
This panel session will review recent trends and issues in the study of the history of information science and technology and present findings from the first awards given by the ASIST History Fund. It will consist of three presentations: (1) an overview, by Robert V. Williams, of recent trends and issues and identify some of the major gaps that need to be addressed in future work; (2) a presentation by Charles Meadow, winner of the 2009 ASIST History Fund Research Grant award, of the results of his study of the history of the digital divide; (3) a presentation by Rachel Plotnick, winner of the 2009 ASIST History Fund Best Paper award, on her study of the history of a total hospital medical information system developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
Documentation and Communication in Aboriginal/Indigenous Communities
Polit Geir Grenersen. Sámi Culture and Language Centers: Documentation of a Threatened Heritage
Brendan Frederick R. Edwards. To Put the Talk Upon Paper: Literacy, Libraries, and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
Ramesh Srinivasan. Diverse Knowledges and Contact Zones within the Digital Museum
This panel session explores a number of different issues related to the nature of documentation and communication in aboriginal/indigeneous cultures, where “documents” are not traditional, knowledge systems are of varied types, and the transmission of culture and property are decidedly non-Western. The first paper, by Grenersen, examines the Samis population of Norway where an oppressed group struggled to develop language and cultural centers that documented not only water and land rights for legal purposes but also renewed the community and the culture. The paper also explores the nature of document theory as a theoretical tool for better understanding the status of documents in ongoing trials over land and water rights. The second paper, by Edwards, explores the transition of native cultures in Canada from a traditional pre-literate culture to a print/library culture while simultaneously asserting that these communities had their own kinds of literacy before Europeans arrived with their print/library culture. These methods of communication served to record and perpetuate cultural knowledge in ways both similar and different from European culture. The third paper, by Srinivasan, examines the question of how a digital museum presents different and possibly conflicting traditions and perspectives in a way that preserves the tension between the perspectives. The paper is based on a collaborative research project between the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology at Cambridge University and the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center of Zuni, New Mexico. It expands on conceptions about indigenous knowledge systems, particularly in relation to digital objects, and promotes the inclusion of indigenous communities in describing these objects.
New Directions in Information History
Thomas Haigh (organizer). Challenges and Opportunities in Information History
Information history meets communication history
Geoffrey Bowker. 'Did that really happen?' The search for
the useful fact from the Enlightenment to the present
William Aspray, “The Use of History in Studying Information-Seeking Behavior in Everyday American Life"
Recent decades have seen an upsurge in scholarly activity in the history of information science. It has emerged as a field of study distinct from library history and from the history of computing, thanks to the work of scholars such as Boyd Rayward, Michael Buckland, and Trudi Bellardo-Hahn, and to a series of conference and books devoted to the topic. But so far most historical work has been conducted within the professional and intellectual paradigms of information science. It has been, to use a term from the history of science, internalist: concerned primarily with the accomplishments of distinguished individuals and with the content and context of important discoveries and inventions. Its insights have been directed internally, for the benefit of the information science community. This panel explores the relevance of other historical approaches and the potential for information history to reach other audiences. The four panelists have all combined graduate training in the historical or social study of science and technology with faculty positions within information schools.
Narratives, Facts, and Events in the Foundations of Information Science
Michael Buckland (organizer)
The humanities and social sciences are concerned with the human experience. Sciences too deal with actions, processes and interactions. So information systems are concerned with events, but can operate only on objects (bits, books, “documents”) – and events are not objects. Suzanne Briet wrote that “a document is evidence in support of a fact,” but “facts” (like “data”) have no meaning absent a narrative explanations. Three papers address notions of narrative and event in the foundations of Information Science. Ryan Shaw, in What happened? What events are and why we should care, theorizes the past as idealized images of people, places, events, and ideas. Events, however, have not received the specialized treatment that people and places have. Events are entities of interest in their own right and as bundles of semantic relationships among other entities. Digitalization requires and enables for improved access. A model based in constructionist epistemology is presented. Thomas Dousa, in Facts and frameworks in Paul Otlet’s and Julius Otto Kaiser’s theories of knowledge organization, notes that since theories are narratives about phenomena, Knowledge Organization Systems (KOSs) reflect different “narratives” about knowledge. Otlet and Kaiser held nearly identical views about the analysis of documents into aggregates of facts, but key differences in their methodological and ideological outlooks resulted in vastly divergent “narratives” of knowledge organization and starkly different KOSs. Otlet developed a universal KOS: the UDC; Kaiser's approach was particularist, creating different "narratives" for specific communities. Michael Buckland, in "Events as a structuring device in mark-up and metadata," reports on the rationale for using of events as a structuring device for mark-up and metadata structures in biographical texts. Events are seen as arbitrarily defined actions suitably framed by the four facets of What, Where, When and Who. Difficulties and solutions are summarized.
Towards Positive Information Science
Robert A. Stebbins. The Positive Social Sciences.
Jenna Hartel (organizer) & Jarkko Kari. What is a Positive Information Science.
Jenna Hartel. Case Study 1: The Hobby of Gourmet Cooking.
Jarkko Kari. Case Study 2: Spirituality.
Marcia J. Bates. The Negative-Positive Axis in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.
This panel offers a refreshing counterpoint to the predominantly problem-oriented perspective of theory and research in information science. Drawing inspiration from the fields of positive psychology and sociology, we propose the idea of a positive information science. This line of inquiry focuses on the positive qualities of information systems and the positive characteristics and habits of information users, as well as on the positive contexts of or factors in information phenomena. Insights into positive information phenomena provide a benchmark and target for improving information environments. The positive perspective also reflects a new generation of information-users who harbor an upbeat sensibility concerning the tools and practices of the Information Age. The panel makes its case by 1) offering an interdisciplinary comparison to positive social sciences, 2) reporting results from two positively-oriented investigations of information use in gourmet cooking and spirituality, and 3) viewing the idea in the context of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science (Bates & Maack, forthcoming), an important benchmark and rubric of the field. To encourage a dynamic session, panelists and audience will see a list of positive features compiled and displayed in real time, serving as a basis for lively discussion.
Jenna Hartel, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Howard D. White, Pamela McKenzie, Jens-Erik Mai, Paul Solomon, Siobhan Stevenson, Marcia Bates
Metatheory is the highest level conceptual device used in research and determines a way of thinking and speaking about reality and its information phenomena. Today, numerous metatheories exist in information science and create a dynamic climate, yet also some confusion. This panel aims to demystify methatheory by addressing the matter in a playful, comparative, competitive spirit. Articulate champions of five major metatheories will be given an opportunity to cast their metatheory onto the life and information experience of an ordinary and affable persona: a snowman. The vivid renderings of the snowman and its information world will bring the features of each metatheory into clear view. To invigorate both discussants and the audience, the presentations will be judged by a jury appointed on the spot. The panelist who offers the most illuminating exposition takes home a trophy while the audience gains new understanding.
Pioneering Women of the Information Age
Moderators and reactors: Diane Barlow and Trudi Bellardo Hahn
This session will feature six speakers, each of whom is among the contributors to two special issues of Libraries & the Cultural Record on women pioneers in the information sciences. This session will be the third in a series presented by the Special Interest Group on History and Foundations of Information Science (HFIS). It will spotlight the lives and contributions of remarkable women pioneers in information science. The individual presentations will be about women whose fields of specialty and accomplishments fall in a wide variety of areas-practice, research, education for the profession, or information policy. Each paper will address the pioneer's leadership, innovation, and advocacy, as well as the historical context and social and professional milieu in which she worked and made her contributions. Each presentation will be about 15 minutes long, and enhanced with slides to show photographs or other relevant historical materials. Barlow and Hahn will introduce the speakers and provide connections and summary of major themes related to feminist perspectives in information science.
Revisiting the Foundations of Information Discovery and Access Systems.
Michael Buckland, Jane Greenberg, Kathryn La Barre and Carole Palmer
Each year, the pace of building digital resource and data repositories increases. Multiple challenges face each project, for which no adequate technological solution may exist. The focus of this panel moves beyond construction to address the question: What assumptions and principles lie beneath the technology scaffolding digital environments? The members of this panel are engaged in open exploration and reconsideration of the roles played by representational and organizational structures that seek to support, and which sometimes impair discovery, access and use. These structures take shape in metadata, vocabulary and classificatory frameworks. Specific topics covered will include heritage classificatory work well-suited for application in digital environments, an inversion of the role of metadata as infrastructure for documents, application of bibliographic relationship taxonomies such as FRBR in tracking the life cycle of data objects, and potential definitional and organizational roles to be played by collection level representations.
Social Capital and Information Science Research
Catherine A. Johnson, Douglas Raber, Paul T. Jaeger and Kate Williams
The concept of social capital has become a popular area of research in many social science fields, including public policy, political science, economics, community development, sociology, anthropology, and education. Increasingly, it has been used as the conceptual framework for research in the area of information studies including such topics as knowledge integration (Bhandar, Pan & Tan, 2007), knowledge sharing (Huysman & Wulf, 2006), access to information by the homeless (Hersberger, 2003), community informatics (Williams and Durrance, in press), and information seeking behavior (Johnson, in press).The concept has an ideological foundation in the theories of Pierre Bourdieu (1980), with two divergent approaches to its study emerging during the last two decades: one focusing on social capital as a collective asset and the other regarding it as an individual asset. The main proponent of the first approach is political scientist Robert Putnam who defines social capital as inhering in the “dense networks of social interaction” which foster “sturdy norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage the emergence of social trust” (Putnam, 1995, p. 66). Social network analysts, on the other hand, view social capital as resources to which individuals have access through their social relationships. Nan Lin, who is the main proponent of this approach, defines social capital as “resources embedded in a social structure which are accessed and/or mobilized in purposive actions” (Lin, 2001a, p. 12). While the concept of social capital may be operationalized differently depending on the point of view of the researcher, its value to information science research is in providing a framework within which to understand the relationship between social structure and information access.
Historiography of information science
Forgetting and (Not) Forgotten in the Digital Future.
Philosophy and information science: The basics.
Paul Otlet, Documentation and Classification.
The death of the user
Howard Rosenbaum (Indiana U.) Elisabeth Davenport (Napier U.) Leah Lievrouw (U. California, Los Angeles) Ron Day (Wayne State U.)
Pioneering women in
Alexander Justice (Loyola Marymount U.) Laurie J. Bonnici (Georgia Southern U.) Helen Plant (Leeds Metropolitan U.) Jonathan Furner (U. California, Los Angeles) Shawne D. Miksa (U. North Texas) Kathryn La Barre (Indiana U.)
A science of public knowledge? Theoretical foundations of LIS
Concepción S. Wilson (U. New South Wales) Shawne D. Miksa (U. North Texas) Anita Coleman (U. Arizona) Julian Warner (Queen's U., Belfast)
Visual Containment of
Cultural Forms: An Examination of Visual Epistemologies and Scopic Regimes
Mikel Breitenstein (Breitenstein Medical Associates, Inc.), Marija Dalbello (Rutgers), Ron Day (Wayne State University), Ann Simonds (University of Toronto), Morris (Muhchyun) Tang (Rutgers)
The revival of the
concept of documents in the theoretical foundation of information science
Jack Andersen (Royal School of LIS, Copenhagen) Michael Buckland (U. California, Berkeley) Birger Hjørland (Royal School of LIS, Copenhagen)
Disciplines: The Same, Only Different
Shawne Miksa, University of North Texas - Moderator and Organizer; Barbara Kwasnik, Syracuse University; Francis Miksa, University of Texas at Austin; David Crabbe, Cycorp, Inc.
This session seeks to bridge the recognized gap between information science understandings of classification and the applications of classification techniques in various disciplines and the corporate world. Classification experts in the information sciences are challenged to look at classification from several perspectives: how do we serve different disciplines in the arts and sciences, whose discourse traditions vary?; what can we learn from the understandings of classification as it is used implicitly and explicitly to organize information in other fields?; and, from a corporate case, on the way an artificial intelligence technology approaches the problem of knowledge representation and classification.
Information Science and Intelligence Work: Mutual History Lessons from
the Cold War
Robert V. Williams, Ben-Ami Lipetz, Emil Levine, George L. Marling, Lee S. Strickland, Edward M. McClure, and Rodney Brant
Conceptions of Information as Evidence
Jonathan Furner, Marica J. Bates, Michael K. Buckland, and Anne J. Gilliland-Swetland
Community and Forms of Knowledge
Ronald E. Day, Elisabeth Davenport, and Leah A. Lievrouw
Critical Information Theory
In this session, speakers examined current thinking in the field of critical information theory. Critical epistemology and how it is used in the fields of sociology, management theory, and organization behavior. The concepts of "general intellect" and "immaterial labor" and their relationship to the historical trajectory and future possibilities of information science
History and Continuing Influence of the Classification Research Group
This session looked back at the groundbreaking work of the Classification Research Group (CRG) and assessed the impact of their efforts on the information retrieval field today. The history of CRG. The relationship between the CRG and the socialist science movement, which took a strong interest in scientific documentation in the 1940s and 1950s. Whether the group's distinctive contribution was a collective one or the work of a number of individuals who shared some common interests
Information Science and Intelligence Work
James Bond may spend most of his time jumping out of airplanes, sipping martinis and engaging in gun battles, but real-world intelligence agents spend most of their time on the more mundane tasks of gathering and analyzing information. In reality, information science (IS) techniques are far more valuable to an agent than the latest gizmo or weapon. In this session, several former intelligence agents explored the relationship between IS and intelligence work and the impact that IS has had on intelligence practice and work patterns. What intelligence agents learned about IS on their jobs. How IS knowledge has contributed to their work as agents. What they wish they would have known about IS,
As Sharp as a Pen: Direct Semantic Ratification in Oral, Written, and
Direct semantic ratification traditionally has referred to the ability to question the producer of a statement and to immediately gain knowledge about the statement's social and spatial context. More recently, it has also been interpreted to include a human bodily presence, which allows for the possibility of expressing and interpreting nonverbal signs. Direct semantic ratification forms a crucial dimension, which differentiates oral from written and electronic communication. In this session, speakers took an in-depth look at direct semantic ratification from both an historical and humanistic perspective and from a more scientifically informed viewpoint. The potential for social rather than purely individual learning of the appropriate use of communication forms. How strategies for avoiding inappropriate communication uses must be grounded in a deeper understanding of communicative behavior rather than imposed by technical constraints
Viewing the Intellectual Horizons of Information Science
In this session, speakers discussed some of the most recent developments in information theory. Theories on the role of information as a "thing" (documents, data, and signals) and as a process (the act of becoming informed) The interconnections between classification, rhetoric, and the making of knowledge
Mikel Breitenstein , Long Island University
Social Epistemology and Information Science
Social epistemology (SE) is defined as "the study of those processes by which society as a whole seeks to achieve a perceptive or understanding relation to the total environment; physical, psychological, and intellectual." Increasingly, information scientists are finding SE theories to be of invaluable assistance in analyzing information systems, particularly citation based and recommender systems, which depend in part on the user's level of trust in the testimony of others. In this session, speakers examined how SE theories have been utilized in the information science field. The historical development of the concept of SE in the literature of information science. Definitions and applications of SE and their place in information science today. Two epistemic concepts for information studies.
Historiography and history of information science
Session moderator Mikel Breitenstein
This session presents papers dealing with related themes in the historiography and history of information science. Classic laws of bibliometrics, which still remain relevant to considerations of document supply, are reviewed and the historical retrospect used to transform current perspectives. The use of foundational texts for information science is discussed, again with the intention of informing current understanding of the information science and neighboring fields. The final paper adopts established methodologies from scientometrics and cognitive science to explore the intersection (or lack of it) between information science and information systems. Here the intention is deliberately performative, to inform potential future strategies and developments for ASIS.
Ideology and encyclopedism: reflections and implications
Moderator Julian Warner
Historical Perspectives on
This session drew upon a range of sources (from economic history, the history of copyright, from fictional representations, and from the history of library and information studies) to examine and present different understandings of information technology and of information infrastructure. It aimed to demonstrate the relevance of history to understanding and influencing current developments.
Moderator: Trudi Bellardo Hahn
Historical Perspectives on Knowledge Dissemination
Moderator: Julian Warner
Fifty Years of JASIS; Perspectives on
Publishing in Information Science
Moderator: Trudi Bellardo Hahn
Theories of Information Science.
Theories of Information Science
This session will provide a forum and a showcase for advances in theoretical work within information science. Three theoretical papers will be presented on a functional theory of information retrieval; semeiotics and information science; and information science as a rhetorical construct.
Theory Under Construction: Rethinking Frameworks for Scholarly and
Scientific Communication in the Age of the Internet
This panel examines issues of how speed-of-light communication might impact our theoretical understanding of scientific communication.
Browsing Online and in the Stacks: What Is It and How Can It Be
Four speakers will address the questions of what browsing is, how it can be studied and what we hope to learn from such study. After the presentations, attendees will be encouraged to contribute to the debate.
History of Information Science: Reminiscences and Assessments (SIGs/HFIS and ED)
This session continues the on-going work of the sponsoring SIGs to the work being done in the history of information science. This year's program is a combination of presentations that focus on describing and assessing the work of specific companies, individuals, schools and the federal government in the development of information science and technology.
Theories of Information Science
There are intermittent complaints that Information Science lacks theory. The purpose of this session is to provide a forum and showcase for theoretical work within Information Science. Three theoretical papers will be presented: on composition studies and information science; on exactness in speech, writing and computing; and on the inherent deficiencies of a cognitive approach to IR.
Documentation and Information Science: The Influence of the International
Institute of Bibliography (IIB) and the International Federation for
This session is an exploration of specific influences that IIB/FID has had on the intellectual and historical development of documentation and information science over the past 100 years.
History of Information Science
Information Science Before 1950.
Information Science Before 1945.
An all-star cast of grand old men, central European inventors, journalists, famous scientists, Nazi thugs, movie moguls, neglected women pioneers, plagiarism in high places, tools of espionage, seminal papers uncited for 50 years. The development of Information Science is a remarkable example of intellectual discontinuity. Postwar information scientists are largely unaware that there were important developments before the "information explosion" and World War II. The foundations of information science were built before and following World War I. Electronic document retrieval, remote access using telecommunications, and visionary machines were all being developed in the 1930s. If you are designing systems today or envisioning the information machines of the future, you owe it to yourself to debunk the myths of information science history, recognize the value of early contributors to the field and enjoy a good show!!