Programme – University of Copenhagen

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PROGRAM August 16th 
(Open conference)

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Program August 16th  (Open conference)

09:00 – 09:30 
Opening and Welcome
Professor Birger Hjørland, University of Copenhagen

09:30 – 10:15:  
Keynote: LIS’s Role in Social Epistemology: The Problem of Underutilized Epistemic Capital
Professor Steve Fuller, University of Warwick

Library and information science (LIS) should relate to social epistemology as economics relates to sociology more generally. I mean many things by this analogy, all of which I believe remain true to what makes LIS a distinctive field. In particular, like economics, LIS is able to zoom in and zoom out of the knowledge system quite easily in terms of its guiding concepts and principles, mainly because they are usually abstractions of things that are directly measurable – be they citation counts or usage patterns. This gives LIS a capacity for strategic intervention that one does not often see in other areas of social epistemology. What is perhaps lacking in LIS is a proper sense of stewardship over what might be called – by analogy with economics – ‘epistemic capital’. In other words, a key question that LIS can pose to the knowledge system that is of normative social epistemological import is: Are we making the best use of all the knowledge that is already available? This question is relevant to overall judgements about whether the knowledge system is performing optimally. More practically, it hints that perhaps there is a lot of ‘reinvention of the wheel’ in the name of innovation due to ignorance of relevant literatures, especially ones that lie outside one’s official expertise. Answers to the question will take in issues involving the organization of knowledge for individual and social benefit – in other words, issues that have been at the core of both LIS and social epistemology, at least in my original conception.

In particular, LIS should be more scandalized by the perfunctory status accorded to ‘literature reviews’ in grant applications and journal articles. In effect, the literature review is nowadays little more than a vehicle for paying rent or perhaps even a bribe – in the form of citations and other such name-checking -- to the people who are likely to judge the product which the grant or article promises to deliver. What this means is that there is an enormous amount ‘path dependency’ in especially the utilization of academic knowledge, which serves to marginalize the vast majority of researchers with epistemically legitimate contributions. This phenomenon is well recognized and even rationalized as something akin to the ‘invisible hand’ of market logic, say, by Robert Merton as the ‘Matthew Effect’. Interestingly, there has been an awareness of path dependency as indeed problem – and not simply a fact – in the knowledge system, which has led to the development of data mining techniques and increasingly intelligent search engines. However, most of these procedures have been developed outside of strictly academic contexts – either by government (often for military purposes) or business (often for entrepreneurial purposes). Ironically, they have done more with Don Swanson’s concept of ‘undiscovered public knowledge’ than academics in the thirty years since he identified the phenomenon to his LIS colleagues.

10:15 – 10:45                       
Coffee and Tea

10:45 – 11:15  
Social Epistemology and Classification Theory 
Birger Hjørland, University of Copenhagen

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate that the social epistemology first described by library scientist Jesse Shera in 1951 in an article about classification agrees with recent trends in classification theory and may, in hindsight—and with a more developed methodology—turn out to be the most fruitful theoretical frame for classification theory, knowledge organization and library and Information science. Shera’s description of classification theory argued explicitly for a pragmatic understanding and against the idea of a ‘fundamental order of nature,’ and the belief that there is a single, universal, logically divided classification of knowledge. It is shown that this puts Shera’s view in a family of approaches, including domain analysis, postmodern philosophy, paradigm theory, hermeneutics, critical theory and feminist epistemology. Shera did not, however, suggest epistemological analysis as a foundation for classification theory. This has since been suggested by other researchers and is here considered a necessary updating of social epistemology.

11:15 – 11:45   
Social epistemology in information studies from Jesse Shera to Steve Fuller: An update
Professor Tarcisio Zandonade, University of Brasilia and Ph.D Daniel Avila, State University of Sao Paolo

Introduction to presentation: The emergence of Social Epistemology and its standing in the development of Information Science will be presented. The existence of a continuum between Shera and Fuller Social Epistemology will be introduced, albeit in reverse historical order. Thus, it will be shown that Fuller's program can be integrated, as General Social Epistemology, with Shera's discipline, as Special Social Epistemology. Finally, we propose that these two sub-disciplines can be converted appropriately into just one academic discipline for a course at graduate programs of Information Science.

12:00 – 13:00                     

13:00 – 13:30 
Social epistemology, LIS, and intellectual history
Professor Archie Dick, University  of Pretoria

Introduction to presentation: Social epistemology has developed both outside and inside the information science discipline. In order to build a new network to strengthen the theoretical basis of the discipline, it may be useful to identify a number of streams or thematic focus areas for social epistemology. This presentation will introduce one such stream.

13:30 -14:00 
Society, epistemology, and justice: Prospects for a critical LIS?
Professor Jonathan Furner, UCLA

Introduction to presentation: In efforts to construct theoretical foundations for library and information studies, scholars have drawn variously on conceptions of social epistemology, social justice, and epistemic justice (among other ideas). Is it possible to untangle the relationships among these conceptions, in order to arrive at a compelling justification for a distinctively "critical" LIS?

14:00 – 14:30 
Feminist epistemology as a social epistemology?
Ph.D Melodie J. Fox, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Introduction to presentation: Group or social knowledge is essential for understanding domains and domain knowledge to be used in knowledge organization systems. Thus, it seems that feminist standpoints would assist in understanding the feminist domain so as to organize knowledge in a way that women recognize without experiencing conceptual violence. If women’s knowledge is different, beyond that of individual knowledge, how so? Is it psychological, social, or epistemic? Are women a social group? As social groups are defined, do women interact with each other, do they share common traits, do they share common goals and knowledge? Ultimately, are feminist standpoint epistemologies a reflection of essential qualities, a type of “strategic essentialism” that provides some political strength, or simply a critical research methodology?

14:30 – 15:00          
Break - Coffee Coffee/Tea & Fruit

15:00 – 15:30                      
The Notion of Time from an Indian Cultural Perspective
Professor K. S. Raghavan, PES University, India 

1. Knowledge organization is the science of ordering knowledge – knowledge units, knowledge domains, knowledge artifacts - and their interrelationships. The order could be canonical or artificially imposed on the domain based on application of certain principles that are known to be helpful in the context. Understanding knowledge, the processes of new knowledge and concept formation are, therefore, an essential pre-requisite for knowledge organization and for design of tools of knowledge organization. Concepts are generally defined by necessary and sufficient conditions. The nature of concepts and knowledge structures, especially in culture-specific domains is a function of the socio-cultural framework characterizing a society. The cultural traditions, languages and literature, art forms, etc. of a society should be viewed as the frame within which to interpret and understand the concepts. This is true of all societies and has implications for knowledge organization. In this presentation, I propose to, as a case study, look at the impact of Indian cultural frames on concept formation and knowledge structures with focus on the notion of Time in Indian culture.

2. Necessary and sufficient conditions are more easily established in the sciences than in culture-specific domains. A characteristic feature of many concepts in culture-specific domains is that these are unique to a community. This is true of time-related concepts as well. Even though the concept of Time is universal, its definition and applications differ across communities and is, to a significant extent, a function of culture. Indian Philosophy deals quite extensively with the notions of Space and Time. Time (kAla) represented in Indic scriptures ranges from the smallest to astronomical units. Also, Time is not linear in Hindu perspective; but is Cyclic and both Hindu and Buddhist philosophies refer to kAlachakra. Time is an important aspect of several Indic disciplines including Music, Dance, Architecture, etc. The notion of yuga (eons) is unqiue to Hindu philosophy and is used in the time cycle. A mahAyuga represents the duration of the Earth (432 million years) at the end of which the Earth dissolves into the cosmic ocean for an equal length of time. The cycle of yugas – the process of creation, preservation and destruction - repeats endlessly in a cosmic cycle. Again, the notion of Time is extensively used in Indian music and dance. There are melodies to be sung / performed at different times of the day. Rhythm in Indian music performs the function of a time counter. A taal is a rhythmic cycle of beats. Movement in space is central to western dance; Western dancers create movement reaching into the space. Indian dance, on the other hand, is concerned with making a pose that is perfect and timeless. With a recorded history of over 5000 years, Indian philosophies, arts, etc. have thrown up an extremely rich collection of time-related concepts. A characteristic that stands out in any study of Indian culture is the commonality of thoughts / concepts that cut across domains. For example, taaLa refers to measurement of rhythm in music, cadence in dance, area in architecture and height in sculpture. In knowledge organization, therefore, the need may arise for disambiguating different cultural ways of time keeping.

15:30 – 16:00 
Concluding Remarks (including short summary of Finn Collin’s view)
Ass. Professor Jenna Hartel, University of Toronto

16.30 – 22:00 
Afternoon/evening arrangement: Boat sightseeing 16.30 Dinner in The Meatpacking District (close to the DGI-hotel) kl. 19.30

PROGRAM August 17th (Closed workshop)

7 presentations, about 20+ minutes each, followed by feedback and discussions. To consider an edited book, written handouts would be very useful in addition to the oral presentations. All participants are encouraged to contribute to debate and feedback.

Karin McGuirk, lecturer in Information Science, University of South Africa
Presentation’s title: The scientific basis and philosophical frameworks of Information Science Attitudes towards Philosophy, or the philosophical, in Information Science often illuminate how philosophical thought manifests in Information Science. Many roads by different names map philosophies in Information Science. If we recognise the natural relationship between Information Science and Philosophy, then the relevance that Science has for Philosophy could be extended to Information Science. Similar to Science, Information Science cannot avoid problems of complex cultural, social and historical conditions of knowledge. The articulation and conceptualisation of discoveries (meaning-giving) calls for taking invention, creativity and critical thinking as critical to any endeavour. This requires the information scientist to be more than a mere discoverer, observer and re-presenter of knowledge. Reflection is a fundamental intellectual activity in Science, facing continually shifting challenges in contemporary socio-cultural and knowledge landscapes. These fluid landscapes affect the information and knowledge world of the information scientist. They also offer valuable foci on evolving ideas, for example Social Epistemology and Philosophy of Information as foundations for Information Science.

Robert D. Montoya, Assistant Professor, Indiana University Bloomington
Presentation’s title: Consensus and Biological Classification Biological classifications are idiosyncratic and multiple—an infinite number of models of the biological world can exist and each schema differs from any other based on the theories used to define internal types, methods used to construct relationships, and their intended uses and functions. In response to these multiple viewpoints, consensus classifications have arisen to commingle numerous classifications into a single management structure to organize global knowledge. This presentation will examine the concept of consensus in this classificatory and taxonomic space. How does consensus arise in these systems? How are different interpretations of evidence reconciled? How do these consensus systems differ as a form of knowledge from the systems they incorporate? And finally, what kinds of tensions exist between individual intellectual contributions and the group-level formulations of consensus structures?

Praveen Vaidya, PhD student, Tolani Maritime Institute
Presentation’s title: Social epistemology and folksonomies: A case study of marine social tags Web 2.0 has revolutionzed the internet in context of user particiapation to develop knowledge and the retrieval. The present generation of World Wide Web is created and revised by users resulting into social collboration which is also great example of social epistemology. Social tagging is one such phenomenon of web 2.0 which is popular among users to organise and retrieve the knowledge. The tags assigned by the users play vital role in knowledge organisation and retrieval which also foster improved interdisciplinary relations. These user annotated tags can also serve as subject repositories without following hierarchical arrangement of controlled vocabularies. In this study, the tags are extracted for Marine science from CiteULike are compared with marine science controlled vocabularies by adopting Jaccard similarity coefficient.

Suellen O. Milani, Ph.D, University of Sao Paolo
Presentation’s title: Non-neutrality in knowledge organization and some ethical issues inherent to them in Library Science Brief description: Dealing with ethical values and cultural and linguistic boundaries bring dilemmas to librarians, so ethical decisions have to be taken. From the moment that librarians become aware of ethical dilemmas which would cause harm to their users, their position towards this issue would be at least respectful. In this way, we ask: In which ways the librarian’s non-neutrality in knowledge organization and its underlying ethical issues would be addressed in applied contexts like teaching (i.e., classification or indexing classes)?

Natália B. Tognoli (1), Ph.D, University of Sao Paolo
Presentation’s title: Title: Archival Science and Knowledge Organization: some perspectives

Table of contents of presentation
1 Introduction
2 Archival Science and its scientific revolutions: some historical and conceptual elements
3 Postmodern Archival Science
4 Postmodern Archival Science and Knowledge Organization

Although Archival Science works with the unique set of organic information and therefore
with the organization of archival knowledge (insofar as its core functions are classification
and description) - in contrast to libraries collecting single copies of published works, it
absorbs very little of the theoretical discussions of Information Science (IS) and Knowledge Organization (KO). However, we believe that Knowledge organization of archives should also be considered to be part of KO.
In the current context of information production in digital environments, where concepts
such as authenticity and reliability become so present and discussed, some currents of
archival thinking have emerged, aiming to denaturalize the processes of records creation,
maintenance and use by defending a postmodern approach for these processes.
The present work intends to briefly discuss the scientific revolutions through which Archival Science has gone in order to present the studies of Postmodern Archival Science in the scope of the Organization of Knowledge (KO), seeking to strengthen the bonds between these two domains, since it is observed that Archival Science and its professionals have not yet fully embodied their respective powers in the construction of documentary heritage and in the formation of the memory of society.
In this context, we believe Archival Science can benefit from the studies of KO and its
approaches, once KO is about describing, representing, filing and organizing documents and document representations as well as subjects and concepts both by humans and by computer programs (Hjørland 2008). Thus, such theoretical positions like pragmatism, domain analysis, postmodern philosophy, social constructivism, hermeneutics, activity theory can share some core assumptions related to archival Science in a postmodern society, and therefore, should be considered. In this paper we will address the postmodern approach in archival studies.
(1) Assistant Professor in Information Science Department at Unesp – São Paulo State University,
Brazil. Contact: / fb:
More info .

Filipe F. Zimmermann, PhD student, University of Warwick 
Presentation's title: The facts of knowledge and the knowledge of facts: A Hayekian challenge to Steve Fuller’s Social Epistemology.
Despite characterizing knowledge distribution in modern societies in a similar fashion, Friederich von Hayek and Steve Fuller derive different normative consequences for knowledge policy. This paper aims to explore how Hayek’s thesis on the limits of knowledge might affect the goals of Social Epistemology, as Steve Fuller has stated them.

Pallavi Karanth, PhD student, PES University
Presentation’s title: Knowledge Analytics and its Applications. The field of Analytics has grown over the past decade with the promise of delivering insights from data in all its forms ranging from well structured to highly unstructured forms such as documents and web pages. Analytics is still in its nascent stage in taking advantage of such semantically rich ontological data to deliver better insights. The ability to analyze semantically rich data enriched by various semantic constraints and knowledge structures can generate insights which can take the field of Analytics to a new level. Knowledge Analytics is the effective application of analytical techniques to knowledge structures with careful consideration of rich semantics contained in domain ontology. The framework for Knowledge Analytics shall support a range of analytical operations that can leverage the semantic richness of knowledge structures to serve a variety of potential applications including retrieval and visualization. Operations such as finding semantic distance or similarity between any two concepts or individuals in a conceptual domain can lead to better recommendation algorithms. Various sub-graph operations which consider the semantic constraints on properties and edges in the graph can enable better clique and community detection algorithms. The richer the data and the ontology in any domain, the better the insights that knowledge analytical operations can enable by applying analytical operations on knowledge structures with semantic constraints.

This day we shall also discuss future activities such as publishing our presentations and preparing conferences.