Archive for the ‘American Documentation’ tag

Concepts   no comments

Posted at 3:29 pm in Uncategorized

I wrote an article about concepts, and it was recently published after much ado of various sorts, so I want to bring it to the attention of anyone who might happen on this blog.

A good while back I was working on a collaborative project that involved a lot of conversation about concepts, and I said at one point something along the lines of how interesting it would be to see what early information science pioneers thought about concepts. I actually proceeded soon after that to acquire the entire run of American Documentation in digital form from the ASIST Digital Library, and I carried out various analytical procedures using what might today be called basic text mining. I gathered every instance of the stem “concept” and its relatives, and so on. The details are in the article of course.

Along the way I realized what I was looking at was more than just a community comprehension, but that there was a sort of background story as well. I tried using the analysis to lead me to clues about the discourse, and that’s where I found some exciting influences. No spoilers here–it’s in the article.

Here is the abstract:

Concepts are central elements of knowledge. This article reveals some of
the historical contours of the use of “the concept” in information by delving into
the evolution of the use of the term in American Documentation, the first formal
journal of information science in North America. Discourse in American Documentation
about “the concept” was critical to the development of machine searching to
have a concrete definition of a concept. Metaphors used to visualize the role of
concepts range from multidimensional arrays to lights shining in the darkness of
semantic space.

The article is “The Evolution of the Concept: A Case Study from American Documentation = L’évolution du concept : une étude de cas tirée de American Documentation.”
Not to worry it’s all in English. It appears in Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 42, nos. 1-2 (2018): 113-34.

Written by lazykoblog on May 12th, 2019

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What a concept!   no comments

Posted at 12:39 am in Uncategorized

I recently completed a rich analysis of the entirety of American Documentation in order to trace the evolution of the concept of a concept across that era of the growth of the emerging field of information science. I wrote a short paper on the subject for CAIS 2014 (available here:

The “abstract” is this: A core entity of information science is the “concept.” Agreement on the basic definition as a mental construct representing a concrete instance, conceals divergence in understanding of the nuances. A case study of the domain’s nascent era represented by American Documentation reveals some of the contours of the terms evolution.

There were lots of fun things to be encountered in those years of AD, and I was going to upload some photos of things like the rapid selector and Termatrex and so on, until I went to do so and found all of those “further reproduction prohibited” notices. Oh well. The whole run is available to ASIST members in the ASIST Digital Library.

I thought it was fascinating to see how interwoven knowledge organization was in those early days of documentation into information science. There was a lengthy evolution of something called “the duality concept,” which was an expression of the dichotomies between known-fact and browsing, between simple and complex terminology, and thus between isolate and hierarchy.

Stay tuned: a lengthy journal article is forthcoming.

Written by lazykoblog on August 5th, 2014

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