START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Unwiring and Rewiring for the Knowledge Future
Denise Bedford, Richard McDermott, Gordon Vala-Webb and Jack Uldrich

Tuesday, 8:30am


This program addresses an emerging area of scholarship - unlearning - and places it in the context of knowledge and information sciences. Unlearning is presented as a process that should be practiced by knowledge scientists, information scientists and information technologists. 

Knowledge is a dynamic thing. It is not static. It is constantly changing, challenged and tested against new and different ideas, applied and judged in different contexts and recast by people. The life cycle of knowledge is dynamic and chaotic. It reflects the human thought process. It is different from the information cycle which is linear and predictable. A critical step in the knowledge life cycle is "knowledge validation/invalidation." Too often, this step takes the form of a check against an existing stock of information. The result is what we might call - knowledge sub optimization.  What does it take to do a deep validation/invalidation of knowledge? 

The premise of this panel discussion is that in order to truly evaluate knowledge - new or existing - people have to have the capacity to unlearn and relearn what they know they know. Unlearning is an emerging area of research aligned with education, psychology, neurosciences, organizational learning and knowledge sciences. The meaning of this statement is clear to knowledge scientists. What does this mean the field of information science and technology? We celebrate our wonderful history and the knowledge base that we have developed. How often, though, have we critically evaluated old knowledge and decided that it is time to unlearn something? 

The panelists will introduce the topic of unlearning and discuss it in the context of the fields of knowledge sciences, information sciences and information technology. Two examples of knowledge that might be exposed to "unlearning" will be introduced - the DIKW (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom pyramid) and some classical theories underlying cataloging, classification and indexing.