1,134 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2015
    1. This contrast is between the idiographic approach of the humanities— valuing the unique and individual character of phenomena, and the nomothetic approach of the sciences— seeking general laws and principles.

      particulars and universals

    2. As a rule, all information disciplines are in the process of becoming more generally applicable, as the discipline gains sophistication and breadth of understanding.

      So information sciences start out in a host discipline but then differentiate themselves and start to map out to other disciplines?

    3. The fundamental engine of development is need. Human beings want to retain informational resources, and, after a very short time, these resources collect at such a rate that some principles of selection, organization, etc., need to be brought to bear, in order for the resources to continue to be available for effective use.

      Do other disciplines orient themselves around need as well. Is it possible to look at them that way?

    4. add an "s"

      There are many information sciences ; like the Physical Sciences, Social Sciences

    5. an array of fields addressing distinct issues that nonetheless could all be seen from a common framework

      This seems like a real challenge. What is a framework in this context?

    6. We have been treated as the astrologers and phrenologists of modern science— assumed to be desperately trying to cobble together the look of scholarship in what are surely trivial and nearly content-free disciplines.

      I wonder how this treatment manifested itself: budget, funding, etc?

    7. Ironically, however, that legitimacy has often been gained without much clarity on just what the information disciplines are about. Power struggles are going on in universities and information schools regarding what the fields really are, and whose backgrounds are most needed to create coherent information disciplines. And those of us who were information before information was "cool" are often the last to be consulted.

      There is a land grab going on about who can lay claim to the plunder of Silicon Valley.

    1. The success or failure of any interactive system and technologyis contingent on the extent to which user issues, the humanfactors, are addressed right from the beginning to the very end,right from theory, conceptualization, and design process on todevelopment, evaluation, and to provision of services.

      This is an amazing summary of a way to work, it almost seems like agile software development.

    2. The strength of Salton’s model is that it: a)starts from a base of a firm grounding in formal mathematicaland other methods, and in algorithms, and b) relates directly toresearch. The weakness is in that it: a) ignores the broaderaspects of information science, as well as any other disciplinesand approaches dealing with the human aspects that have greatrelevance to both the outcomes of IR research and the researchitself, and b) does not incorporate professional practice wherethese systems are realized and used.

      Strong on theory, weak on practice.

    3. understanding of algorithms

      typically the domain of computer science, which was just emerging when Shera was working

    4. Thestrength of the Shera model is that it posits education withina service framework, connects the education to professionalpractice and to a broader and user-oriented frame of anumber of other information services, and relates it to agreat diversity of information resources

      The importance of theory and practice.

    5. human-computer interac-tion (which is also a strong area in cognitive science)

      HCI gets a mention!

    6. Interestingly, research on OPACs, now thatthey are incorporating more and more IR features, is bring-ing the two fields in closer relation. Probably, so will theresearch in digital libraries, but at this time (1998), it is tooearly to tell.

      I think this has come to pass.

    7. At the bottom of IR research is a quest to alignsystems with other types of relevance.

      This is a nice short summary.

    8. Uncertainty (as in informationtheory and decision-making theory) was one choice sug-gested by a number of theorists

      Sounds like an interesting road-not-taken. I wonder who he is talking about here. I wonder if uncertainty has anything to do with understanding how an information process operates: algorithmic accountability?

    9. The connectionto the information science community is tenuous, and al-most nonexistent. The flow of knowledge, if any, is one-sided, from IR research results into proprietary engines.

      Google Research, Facebook Research etc kind of geared to improving this situation?

    10. design

      What is the process of design here? What context is it happening in?

    11. The acceleration of the growth of the Web is an infor-mation explosion of the like never before seen in history.Not surprisingly then, the Web is a mess. No wonder thateverybody is interested in some form of IR as a solution tofix it.

      IR as a site for repair!

    12. users, use, situations, context, andinteraction with systems

      Seeds of HCI?

    13. Text Retrieval Conference (TREC)

      TREC is a game for IR researchers. It helps coordinate and synthesise research around a problem.

    14. Thus, the field doesnotdeal with great many other information systems, such aspayroll, inventory, decision support systems, data process-ing, airline schedules, and a zillion others, nor does it dealwith direct communication among and between persons.Information science is about a specific manifestation or typeof information that defines its scope and its systems.

      This seems like a strange thing for him to say at this juncture. Why does he say it?

    15. valued surrogates for persons

      The documents are standing in for people?!

    16. The key orientation here is the problemof need for and useof information, as involving knowledge records.To providefor that need, information science deals with specificallyoriented information techniques, procedures, and systems.

      It's interesting that he says the need for information involving knowledge records. The need isn't for the records themselves, but their use in solving a problem.

    17. big science

      Reminds me of Big Data.

    18. The two clusters are not equally populated. The retrievalcluster has significantly more authors, not to mention totalnumber of works. As in many other fields, more effort isexpanded on the applied side than on the basic side. In part,this is due to availability of funds for given topics—notsurprisingly, research goes after moneyed topics.

      The problems (and money) help shape the field.

    19. I dare to venture a prediction: fameawaits the researcher(s) who devise a formal theoreticalwork, bolstered by experimental evidence, that connects thetwo largely separated clusters, i.e., connecting basic phe-nomena with their realization in the retrieval world.

      Seems a bit highfalutin. I would need to look at his paper to see how he derived these clusters I guess. It seems like one has computers and people, and the other has texts and people. Perhaps the closest these two have been connected is in media studies?

      It is interesting that he immediately wants to connect things that he has pulled apart. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

    20. information is usedin a context and in relation to some reasons

      The effectiveness of the information to suit the problem at hand is a measure of its information content?

    21. In cases of information services, information is mostoften conveyed through the medium of a text, document, orrecord, e.g., what a reader may understands from a text ordocument

      A reader is needed. Is a human reader a requirement?

    22. Tague-Sutcliff

      Might be interesting to follow this thread.

    23. Stonier, 1997

      I didn't realize people thought seriously about this idea before Stephen Wolfram. Well, I guess it goes back to Pythagoras in a way.

    24. While we do not know what information is, or whatsome of its derivative notions, such as relevance, may be,over the years we have learned a lot about their variousmanifestations, behaviors, and effects

      It is a scientific inquiry into the nature of information.

    25. message-sense


    26. Thereis gold in information. Information science has many com-petitors—it may be even swamped by them.

      What is gold doing here?

    27. [K]nowledge provesitself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is infor-mation effective in action, information focused on re-sults

      This is pragmatism, or the scientific method.

    28. Their effortsshould indeed go into reading and organizingexistingclaims, ratherthan gathering new data

      Don't rock the boat!

    29. In the U.S.,information science developed and began flourishing on itsown in a large part due to government support by a host ofagencies, as did many other fields.

      Follow the money. What is being funded today by the government, and how is it shaping the field of information science? Are there actors outside of the power structure that are helping define what information science is? Wouldn't corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook be shaping it more today?

    30. Bush addressed the problem of information explo-sion. The problem is still with us. His solution was to usethe emerging computing and other information technologyto combat the problem.

      Didn't the information explosion really begin with speaking, writing, and printing?

    31. Second World War

      He doesn't go back as far as Buckland.

    32. Debates over the “proper” definition of informa-tion science, as of any field, are fruitless, and in expectationsnaive. Information science, as a science and as a profession,is defined by the problems it has addressed and the methodsit has used for their solutions over time.

      Is the problem of defining what information is a legitimate problem? What are valid problems, and how are they grouped together. I must admit I like this definition because a domain gets shaped around the problems and related problems. It is pragmatic.

    33. Lexical definitions are nec-essary for providing a broad description and boundaries ofthe subjects covered by a field, but they cannot provide fora deeper understanding.

      The definitions are the givens, the premises on which further arguments are made.

    34. The purposes are to contribute to an understanding of thepast and present of information science, and to assess theissues in its future.

      The future again. I guess we are living in the future they are talking about, and can assess whether they got it right.



    1. viewer’s perception

      This seems very important to me.

    2. kind of use that is made of them

      The use is key to this definition ; definitely reminiscent of pragmatism.

    3. support of a fact

      facts - reminds me of wikidata's model based around claims

    4. little direct attention

      People had their hands full already!

    5. signifying objects

      Is a document a signifying object?

    6. significant ( or potentially significant )

      who decides what is significant ; is this appraisal by another name?

    7. techniques for reproducing

      Reproducing documents was considered out of scope for bibliography. Also, it was too centered on the book (biblio).

    8. mechanical

      If the information system is considered mechanical then doesn't it have to be material by definition? Could there be non-material mechanical systems?

    9. observe

      Is it the act of observation that makes something into a document? Who can do the observing?



    1. physical relocation

      Does something need to be relocated to be information? If you can collect a reference to that thing, or a representation of it then it seems you can have a virtual collection.

    2. It is not uncommon to infer that some sort of evidence, of which we are not aware, ought to or might exist and, if found, would be of particular impor- tance as evidence, as when detectives search, more or less systematically, for clues

      Reminds me of Peirce's idea of Abductive Reasoning.

    3. It is not asserted that sorting areas of information science with respect to their relationship to informa- tion-as-thing would produce clearly distinct popula- tions. Nor is any hierarchy of scholarly respectability intended.

      It does seem implied though. The activity of objectifying information is a useful fulcrum for discovering the topology of information systems. But I suspect that one could have written similar papers using one of the other cells of his matrix? Or perhaps it wouldn't have been concrete enough? Is information as thing a requirement for information science? Science after all is the study of the physical universe, the things. Could there be a science of information without treating information as a thing? It makes me think of the role of the observer in quantum mechanics. Also, Kuhn's paradigm shifts. We can't really write ourselves out of the equation can we?

    4. These differences provide one basis for the comparative analysis of information storage and retrieval systems.

      Comparative Information Studies.

    5. Representations have important characteristics:

      It's fun to consider these in light of Fielding's REST and Web architecture.

    6. ultimately information systems, including “expert systems” and information re- trieval systems, can deal directly with information only in this sense

      Is this really true? Don't people interact with these systems all the time? Aren't they used as communication devices between people now all the time? I could imagine someone saying that information is never just a thing, but always part of a process.

    7. “Information-as-thing”, then, is meaningful in two senses: (1) At quite specific situations and points in time an object or event may actually be informative, i.e., constitute evidence that is used in a way that affects someone’s beliefs; and (2) Since the use of evidence is predictable, albeit imperfectly, the term “information” is commonly and reasonably used to denote some popu- lation of objects to which some significant probability of being usefully informative in the future has been at- tributed.

      This sounds spot on, but it doesn't sounds like information as thing anymore. It has people as a fundamental part of the equation.

    8. As a practical matter some consensus is needed to agree on what to collect and store

      So the problem of scoping information is really an economical problem of what do we store, what do we keep, and what do we forget and let go of.

    9. rant the preser- vation of this particular evidence.

      Ahah, the problem of appraisal.

    10. ut, as noted above, we could in principle say that of any object or document:

      Why is this a problem though? Aren't there a universe of "situations"? Why would we want to constrain them?

    11. Therefore we retain our simpler view of “in- formation-as-thing” as being tantamount to physical evidence: Whatever thing one might learn from (Orna & Pettit, 1980, p. 3)

      Why is that simpler? I would've thought the broader definition was simpler to justify.

    12. fossils, footprints, and screams of terror.

      :-) love these lists of objects, remids me of OOO

    13. Indeed it would be a logical development of current trends in the use of computers to expect a blurring of the distinction between the retrieval of the results of old analyses and the presentation of the results of a fresh analysis

      Not only that, but computer systems and networks are so complex that information itself is becoming event like in its dependencies and contingencies.

    14. How different the study of history would be if they could!

      Why is it useful to think of documents separate from the events that created them, and the events that they participate in?

    15. Hence “document” originally denoted a means of teach- ing or informing, whether a lesson, an experience, or a text.

      It's almost as if something must be made into a document in order for it to be observed in a particular way. Or that looking at something in a particular way turns it into a document.

    16. On this view objects are not ordinarily documents but become so if they are processed for informational purposes.

      This seems key.

    17. ny concrete or symbolic indication, preserved or recorded, for reconstructing or for proving a phe- nomenon, whether physical or mental.

      ahh, now this is more like it ; what role does reconstructing play here. Did he translate "représenter" as reconstruct? They seem quite different.

    18. uthentic
    19. Information takes at least two persons: one who tells (by speaking, writ- ing, imprinting, signally) and one who listens, reads, watches.”

      This feels properly scoped to me.

    20. ob- jects that are not documents in the normal sense of being texts can nevertheless be information resources,

      Briet's Antelope.

    21. Briet's Antelope.

    22. It is wise not to assume any firm distinction between data, docu- ment, and text.

      Why is it wise to not distinguish between them, but to distinguish between different uses of the word information?

    23. English law,

      Suddenly struck by the role of the forensic imagination in this definition of information.

    24. authentic historic pieces of evidence

      Authentic for what purpose? So much to unpack here.

    25. Oxford English Dictionary,

      It is truly interesting the degree to which Buckland uses the dictionary, which is such a socially constructed thing.

    26. trace.

      Latour again ; aren't these traces part of a network of activity? Can they really be thought of outside of it, independent of the context they were created in? Why is it necessary?

    27. Further, the term “evidence” implies passiveness. Evidence, like information-as-thing, does not do any- thing actively. Human beings do things with it or to it.

      Is evidence truly not doing anything? Reminds me of non-human actors in Latour.

    28. reverse the process and ask people to identify the things by or on account of which they came to be in- formed.

      This reversal makes the assumption that something informed them?

    29. However, the representation is no more knowledge than the film is the event. Any such representation is necessarily in tangible form (sign, sig- nal, data, text, film, etc.) and so representations of knowledge (and of events) are necessarily “information- as-thing.”

      Don't these information things need to have people around to make them information?

    30. lan- guages evolve

      This seems to be quite an admission, that the whole study of information as it rests on language is deeply contingent -- and somewhat unscientific?

    31. But if the principal uses can be identified, sorted, and characterized, then some progress might be made.

      So this paper is itself an information processing problem. Why does information science always have to feel like mirrors pointed at mirrors, or a Borgesian nightmare?



    1. There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things.

      Who will perform those computations? Those in power presumably?

    2. but who would now place bounds on where such a thing may lead?

      Who would, or who should? Who gets to decide how we reshape humanity? The masters of war?

    3. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities.

      So it's not just limited to the individual, but you can see other people's trails. It is social. This seems like a key insight as well.

    4. It consists of a desk, and while it can presumably be operated from a distance, it is primarily the piece of furniture at which he works. On the top are slanting translucent screens, on which material can be projected for convenient reading. There is a keyboard, and sets of buttons and levers. Otherwise it looks like an ordinary desk.

      Not a bad user story, all things considered.

    5. Selection by association, rather than indexing, may yet be mechanized.

      Isn't the association a type of index though, really?

    6. Whenever logical processes of thought are employed—that is, whenever thought for a time runs along an accepted groove—there is an opportunity for the machine.

      The use of logic here is also interesting. Is knowledge actually grounded in logic? Didn't Wittgenstein free us of this delusion?

    7. One of them will take instructions and data from a whole roomful of girls armed with simple key board punches, and will deliver sheets of computed results every few minutes.

      It's very strange how humans, or "girls" are essentially made part of the machine here.

    8. But creative thought and essentially repetitive thought are very different things.

      This distinction seems particularly significant.

    9. A girl strokes its keys languidly

      Dude, stop it already!

    10. girl

      Ouch. C'mon Vannevar!

    11. will the author of the future cease writing by hand or typewriter and talk directly to the record?

      Some people do this now, but they seem to be a minority.

    12. Even the modern great library is not generally consulted; it is nibbled at by a few.

      So true.

    13. Today, with microfilm, reductions by a linear factor of 20 can be employed and still produce full clarity when the material is re-enlarged for examination.

      Is it even possible to think what this factor is for today's digital storage technologies?

    14. Often it would be advantageous to be able to snap the camera and to look at the picture immediately.

      It would be, and is!

    15. A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted.

      Valuable ideas often appear before they are viable. But they must be discoverable when the environment changes in ways that make the idea more tractable.

    16. publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record

      This makes me wonder if that's where we still are. Connecting documents/information with people when they need it is still a huge challenge. Although being able to go to Google to ask a question on your phone is a huge advantage for those who have questions that are amenable and the device to ask it.

    17. But there is increased evidence that we are being bogged down today as specialization extends.

      The now familiar information overload.

    18. strange destructive gadgets

      the atomic bomb, among others.

    1. he field is too young, a

      I wonder if the situation has changed at all?

    2. Yet, it is important to recognize that, particularlyin information science, there is no sharp distinction be-tween research and technology. I

      It is curious that they are seen to be so closely related. I wonder if as technologies age, and become more part of the infrastructure we take for granted if that will be the case.

    3. Artificial intelligence; automata; problem solving;self-organizing systems.

      Interesting how many of these seem like computer science to me. I wonder if computer science has subsumed some of these disciplines?

    4. he tremendous growth in science and technologyand the accelerated pace at which new knowledgebecomes available and old knowledge becomes ob-2. The fast rate of obsolescence of technical knowl-edge, so that the old graduate must go back toschool and update his skills;3. The large number of working scientists and thelarge number of scientific and technical journalswhich exist today;4. The increased specialization which makes communi-cation and the exchange of infonnation betweendisciplines very difficult;5. The short time lag between research and applicationthat makes the need for information more pressingand more immediate

      Information science is needed to deal with the rapid expansion of the amount of information that is available. The same motivation drove Vannevar Bush to think about the Memex.

    5. oday's society.

      A redefinition was needed to reflect the more diverse landscape that technologies like television and radio introduced.

    6. rariansliip and docu-mentation are applied aspects of information scie

      Similar to applied mathematics and mathematics proper?

    7. Eobert S. Taylor p

      Helped create the Internet with Licklider at DARPA.



    1. On paper this may appear to be an elaboration of our pres- ent system, but in reality it represents simplification in that it is a concentration of control.

      This obsession with centralization of control seems borderline fascist.

    2. So serious has the situation grown that recent gradu- ates from library schools are in some cases asking for employ- ment without pay in order to gain experience and a possible foothold in some library system.

      This sounds familiar.

    3. There must be centralization of con- trol.

      How do you keep the decentralized and centralized themes in your head at once?

    4. n these ways could the library help immeasurably to bring art to the hinterland and make beauty increasingly a vital part of our lives

      Library as instrument of imperialism.

    5. But in the increasingly important village the library must broaden its scope and become a true cultural center

      Reminds me of the recent push for GLAM thinking.

    6. There is a definite need for a central bureau, publicly subsidized and controlled by the library profession, and serving the country as a whole, which will make possible the continuous lending of art exhibits at a cost within the reach of even the smallest librarie

      National Endowment for the Humanities? National Endowment for the Arts.

    7. For the scholar of the future, then, the bibliographical treasures that he needs, even though they may be in the most remote libraries, will be no farther from him than the television apparatus at his elbow

      Similar to the Memex idea.

    8. Decentralization and specialization will not only be possible, but perhaps quite

      I didn't know this interest in decentralization in libraries was so old. It seems particularly relevant given concerns about centralization on the Web today.

    9. As this is undoubtedly true for present conditions, one cannot but wonder what the implications for book-selection policy will be as the lines of demarcation between "rural" and "urban" disappear

      I guess he got this wrong. It is starting to feel like this article was selected to highlight the difficulties of identifying future developments.

    10. Ameri- can Library Association appoint a committe

      sounds like a lobby group :-)

    11. It must logically follow, then, that a sound comprehension of present-day social and economic developments must be the true point of departure for all who would seek to project into the future the trend of current library policie

      It's a bit difficult to imagine doing otherwise. What would it look like if we did not extrapolate the future of libraries based on their current social and economic conditions?


    1. etorically (

      It's interesting that no evidence was provided for the assertions. It is almost philosophical.

    2. where the three coordinates cross: level ofquestion, state of readiness, and available answer

      This coincidence of the three factors is success.

    3. The accuracy of trans-mission of the messages is not the most important pointhere. More important is the accurate description andcommunication of the inquirer's "doubts" (the question

      Turns Shannon on his head.

    4. s observation,however, brings up the problem of browsing, which is toolarge and complex to discuss here

      How is browsing like asking a question? How is it not like asking a question?

    5. Acceptance of information as relevant de-fines readiness before that information was available andcauses a change in the inquirer's future state of readiness.

      The emphasis on time here is interesting. It's almost as if the question causes the answer, but it also seems to work backwards ... as if the question is only fully recognized once an answer is selected

    6. alogy. T

      Interesting that analogy plays such an important role.

    7. xtent ofmatching determines the success of the system at the jor-mal level.

      What is the "formal level" ... is it mathematical?

    8. ructure-index of the ques-tion—its degree of formal complexity.

      A metric for measuring questions.


  2. Aug 2015
    1. om psychological to logical; fr

      Almost sounds like Freud's idea of sublimation, in terms of the sub-conscious being transformed.

    2. In fruitful dialogue he can expect constant feedback,something a formal information system cannot yet

      Perhaps this form of constant feedback is easier today, given how people are connected online.

    3. The Process of Asking Question

      Makes me wonder if this was assigned because this is the process that we are going through as PhD students, as we come to understand the nature of our research.

    4. may be only a vaguesort of dissatisfaction and may, in fact, be disregarded asthe investigation develops. I

      Reminds me of Khulthau's uncertainty principle.

    5. tend tothink that when we have "answered" a question, via thesystem, the process is completed. From the inquirer's sideit has only begun.

      It is a discovery process, not a fixed transaction. Or perhaps a step in an iterative process, like in agile software development.


  3. www.armchairnews.com www.armchairnews.com
    1. We care about doing what we want to do creatively. We want to be interested in it. We want it to challenge us. We want it to be difficult. We want to reinvent the stupid thing every time.

      I remind myself of this when I get stuck not wanting to do something because it appears like it has already been done, especially when it looks like it was done and it failed. The use of “we” seems particularly significant, and inspiring.

  4. Feb 2015
  5. Aug 2013