• The concept of "subject" in Information Science

      Hjørland, Birger (1992)
      This article presents a theoretical investigation of the concept of 'subject' or 'subject matter' in library and information science. Most conceptions of 'subject' in the literature are not explicit but implicit. Various indexing and classification theories. including automatic indexing and citation indexing, have their own more or less implicit concepts of subject. This fact puts the emphasis on making the implicit theories of 'subject matter' explicit as the lirst step. A very close connection exists between what subjects are. and how we are to know them. Those researchersw ho place the subjects in the minds of the users have a conception of'subject' different to that possessed by those who regard the subject as a fixed property of the documents. The key to the definition of the concept of 'subject' lies in the epistemological investigation of how we are going to know what we need to know about documents in order to describe them in a way which facilitates information retrieval. The second step therefore is an analysis ol the implicit epistemological conceptions in the major existing conceptions of 'subject'. The different conceptions of 'subject' can therefore be classified into epistemological positions. e.g. 'subjective idealism' (or the empiric/positivistic viewpoint), "objective idealism'(the rationalistic viewpoint),'pragmatism' and 'materialism/realism'. The third and final step is to propose a new theory of subject matter based on an explicit theory of knowledge. In this article this is done from the point of view ol a realistic/materialistic epistemology'. From this standpoint the subject of a document is defined as the epistemologicapl otentials of that document.
    • Core classification theory: a reply to Szostak

      Hjørland, Birger (2008-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to provide an answer to a critique put forward by Szostak against a paper written by the present author. The paper is based on a literature-based conceptual analysis based on Hjørland and Nissen Pedersen and Szostak. The main points in a core theory of classification are outlined and Szostakâ s criticism is examined and answered. The paper demonstrates theoretical differences between the views adduced by Hjørland and Nissen Pedersen on the one side and by Szostak on the other.
    • The Digital Library as Place

      Pomerantz, Jeffrey; Gary, Marchionini (2007-08)
      Purpose: This paper is a high-level investigation of the physical-conceptual continuum occupied by both digital and physical libraries. Methodology/Approach: A framework is provided for thinking about the notions of place and library. The issue of materials and the ideas they represent is considered. Places for people are considered, including issues of people’s sense of place in physical and digital spaces. The issue of physical and digital spaces as places for work, collaboration, and community-building is considered. Findings: As more digital libraries are built, and as more physical libraries offer electronic access to parts of their collection, two trends are likely to result: (1) The role of the library as a storage space for materials will become decreasingly important, and (2) The role of the library as a space for users, for individual and collaborative work, and as a space for social activity, will become increasingly important. Research limitations/implications: Digital libraries are unable to fulfill some of the functions of the physical library as physical spaces, but are able to offer functions beyond what the physical library can offer as cognitive spaces. Practical implications: Areas of likely future development for digital libraries are suggested, as vehicles for enhancing cognitive space by augmenting representations of ideas in materials. Originality/value of paper: This paper argues that in many ways digital libraries really are places in the conceptual sense, and will continue to broaden and enrich the roles that libraries play in people’s lives and in the larger social milieu.
    • Information and digital literacies; a review of concepts

      Bawden, David (2001)
      This is a reprint of a paper (29 pages) published in the Journal of Documentation, 2001. The concepts of â information literacyâ and â digital literacyâ are described, and reviewed, by way of a literature survey and analysis. Related concepts, including computer literacy, library literacy, network literacy, internet literacy and hyperliteracy are also discussed, and their relationships elucidated. After a general introduction, the paper begins with the basic concept of â literacyâ , which is then expanded to include newer forms of literacy, more suitable for complex information environments. Some of these, for example library, media and computer literacies, are based largely on specific skills, but have some extension beyond them. They lead to general concepts, such as information literacy and digital literacy, which are based on knowledge, perceptions and attitudes, though reliant on the simpler skills-based literacies.
    • Practical potentials of Bradford's law: a critical examination of the received view.

      Nicolaisen, Jeppe; Hjørland, Birger (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2007)
      Literature studies reveal that the concept of â subjectâ has never been explicitly addressed in relation to Bradfordâ s law. The results of two empirical tests (Bradford analyses) demonstrate that different operationalizations of the concept of â subjectâ produce quite different lists of core-journals. Further, an empirical test reveals that Bradford analyses function discriminatorily against minority views. The paper questions one of the old dogmas of the field. The implication is that Bradford analysis can no longer be regarded as an objective and neutral method. The received view on Bradfordâ s law needs to be revised.
    • William Stetson Merrill and Bricolage for Information Studies

      Coleman, Anita Sundaram; Bawden, David (Elsevier, 2006)
      This is a preprint published in Journal of Documentation 62 (4): 462-481. Purpose: This paper examines William Stetson Merrill, the compiler of A Code for Classifiers and a Newberry Library employee (1889-1930) in an attempt to glean lessons for modern information studies from an early librarianâ s career. Methodology/Approach: Merrillâ s career at the Newberry Library and three editions of the Code are examined using historical, bibliographic, and conceptual methods. Primary and secondary sources in archives and libraries are reviewed to provide insight into Merrillâ s life at the Newberry and his attempts to develop or modify tools to solve the knowledge organization problems he faced. The concept of bricolage, developed by Levi-Strauss to explain modalities of thinking, is applied to Merrillâ s career. Excerpts from his works and reminisces are used to explain Merrill as a bricoleur and highlight the characteristics of bricolage. Research Implications and Limitations: Findings show that Merrill worked collaboratively to collocate and integrate a variety of ideas from a diverse group of librarians such as Cutter, Pettee, Poole, Kelley, Rudolph, and Fellows. Bliss and Ranganathan were aware of the Code but the extent to which they were influenced by it remains to be explored. Although this is an anachronistic evaluation, Merrill serves as an example of the archetypal information scientist who improvises and integrates methods from bibliography, cataloging, classification, and indexing to solve problems of information retrieval and design usable information products and services for human consumption. Originality/Value of Paper: Bricolage offers great potential to information practitioners and researchers today as we continue to try and find user-centered solutions to the problems of digital information organization and services. Paper Type: Research paper