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Criticism of a program is a long and often frustrating process and one must treat budding programs leniently. In his Progress and Its Problems: Towards a Theory of Scientific Growth , Laudan defined a research tradition as a set of general assumptions about the entities and processes in a given domain and about the appropriate methods to be used for investigating the problems and constructing the theories in that domain. The key engine driving scientific change for Laudan is problem solving.

Such changes solve empirical problems, essentially those problems Kuhn conceives of as anomalies. But, contrary to Kuhn's normal science and to Lakatos' research programs, Laudan held that changes within a research tradition might also involve changes to its most basic core elements. Severe anomalies which are not solvable merely by modification of specific theories within the tradition may be seen as symptoms of a deeper conceptual problem. In such cases scientists may instead explore what sorts of minimal adjustments could be made in the deep-level methodology or ontology of that research tradition p.

When Laudan looked at the history of science, he saw Aristotelians who had abandoned the Aristotelian doctrine that motion in a void is impossible, and Newtonians who had abandoned the Newtonian demand that all matter has inertial mass, and he saw no reason to claim that they were no longer working within those research traditions. Solutions to conceptual problems may even result in a theory with less empirical support and still count as progress since it is overall problem solving effectiveness not all problems are empirical ones which is the measure of success of a research tradition Laudan Most importantly for Laudan, if there are what can be called revolutions in science, they reflect different kinds of problems, not a different sort of activity.

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David Pearce calls this Laudan's methodological monism see Pearce For Kuhn and Lakatos, identification of a research tradition or program or paradigm could be made at the level of specific invariant, non-rejectable elements. For Laudan, there is no such class of sacrosanct elements within a research tradition—everything is open to change over time. For example, while absolute time and space were seen as part of the unrejectable core of Newtonian physics in the eighteenth century, they were no longer seen as such a century later.

If research traditions undergo deep-level transformations of their problem solving apparatus this would seem to constitute a significant change to the problem solving activity that may warrant considering the change the basis of a new research tradition. On the other hand, if the activity of problem solving is strong enough to provide the identity conditions of a tradition across changes, consistency might force us to identify all problem solving activity as part of one research tradition, blurring distinctions between science and non-science.

Distinguishing between a change within a research tradition and the replacement of a research tradition with another seems both arbitrary and open-ended. One way of solving this problem is by turning from just internal characteristics of science to external factors of social and historical context. Science is not just a body of facts or sets of sentences.

However one characterizes its content, that content must be embodied in institutions and practices comprised of scientists themselves. Popper's falsificationism was very much a matter of personal responsibility and reflection. Kuhn, on the other hand, saw scientific change as a change of community and generations.

While Structure may have been largely responsible for making North American philosophers aware of the importance of historical and social context in shaping scientific change, Kuhn was certainly not the first to theorize about it. As early as the mids, Ludwik Fleck gave an account of how thoughts and ideas change through their circulation within the social strata of a thought-collective Denkkollektiv and how this thought-traffic contributes to the process of verification.

The thought-style is dogmatically transmitted from one generation to the next, by initiation, training, education or other devices whose aim is introduction into the collective. Most people participate in numerous thought-collectives, and any individual therefore possesses several overlapping thought-styles and may become carriers of influence between the various thought-collectives in which they participate. This traffic of thoughts outside the collective is linked to the most outstanding alterations in thought-content. The ensuing modification and assimilation according to the foreign thought-style is a significant source of divergent thinking.

According to Fleck, any circulation of thoughts therefore also causes transformation of the circulated thought. Rather than helping himself to an unexamined notion of communal change, Fleck, on the other hand, made the process by which individual interacted with collective central to his account of scientific development and the joint construction of scientific thought. What the accounts have in common is a view that the social plays a role in scientific change through the social shaping of science content.

It is not a relation between scientist and physical world which is constitutive of scientific knowledge, but a relation between the scientists and the discipline to which they belong. That relation can be restrictive of change in science. It can also provide the dynamics for change. Several philosophers of science have held the view that the dynamics of scientific change can be seen as an evolutionary process in which some kind of selection plays a central role.

One of the most detailed evolutionary accounts of scientific change has been provided by David Hull On Hull's account of scientific change, the development of science is a function of the interplay between cooperation and competition for credit among scientists. Hence, selection in the form of citations plays a central role in this account. That is, they must be seen as replicators that pass on their structure in successive replication. Hence, conceptual replication is a matter of information being transmitted largely intact by different vehicles. These vehicles of transmission may be media such as books or journals, but also scientists themselves.

Whereas books and journals are passive vehicles, scientists are active in testing and changing the transmitted ideas. They are therefore not only vehicles of transmission but also interactors, interacting with their environment in a way that causes replication to be differential and hence enabling of scientific change. Hull did not elaborate much on the inner structure of differential replication, apart from arguing that the underdetermination of theory by observation made it possible. Instead, the focus of his account is on the selection mechanism that can cause some lineages of scientific ideas to cease and others to continue.


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First, scientists tend to behave in ways that increase their conceptual fitness. Scientists want their work to be accepted, which requires that they gain support from other scientists. One kind of support is to show that their work rests on preceding research. But that is at the same time a decrease in originality. There is a trade-off between credit and support. Scientists whose support is worth having are likely to be cited more frequently.

Second, this social process is highly structured. Scientists tend to organize into tightly knit research groups in order to develop and disseminate a particular set of views. Few scientists have all the skills and knowledge necessary to solve the problems that they confront; they therefore tend to form research groups of varying degrees of cohesiveness. Cooperating scientists may often share ideas that are identical in descent, and transmission of their contributions can be viewed as similar to kin selection. In the wider scientific community, scientists may form a deme in the sense that they use the ideas of each other much more frequently than the ideas of scientists outside the community.

Initially, criticism and evaluation come from within a research group. Scientists expose their work to severe tests prior to publication, but some things are taken so much for granted that it never occurs to them to question it. After publication, it shifts to scientists outside the group, especially opponents who are likely to have different—though equally unnoticed—presuppositions. Scientific change received new interest during the s and s with the emergence of cognitive science; a field that draws on cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, artificial intelligence and neuroscience.

Historians and philosophers of science adapted results from this interdisciplinary work to develop new approaches to their field.


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Rather than explaining scientific change in terms of a priori principles, these new approaches aim at being naturalized by drawing on cognitive science to provide insights on how humans generally construct and develop conceptual systems and how they use these insights in analyses of scientific change as conceptual change. For an overview of research in conceptual change, see Vosniadou, This idea had originally been introduced by Kuhn, but in his later writings he admitted that his use of the gestalt switch metaphor had its origin in his experience as a historian working backwards in time and that, consequently, it was not necessarily suitable for describing the experience of the scientists taking part in scientific development.

Instead of dramatic gestalt shifts, it is equally plausible that for the historical actors there exist micro-processes in their conceptual development. The development of science may happen stepwise with minor changes and yet still sum up over time to something that appears revolutionary to the historian looking backward and comparing the original conceptual structures to the end product of subsequent changes. Kuhn realized this, but also saw that his own work did not offer any details on how such micro-processes would work, though it did leave room for their exploration Kuhn Exploration of conceptual microstructures has been one of the main issues within the cognitive history and philosophy of science.

Historical case studies of conceptual change have been carried out by many scholars, including Nersessian, Thagard, the Andersen-Barker-Chen groupThat see for example Nersessian, ; Thagard, ; Andersen, Barker, and Chen, Some of the early work in cognitive history and philosophy of science focused on mapping conceptual structures at different stages during scientific change see for example Thagard, ; Thagard and Nowak, ; Nersessian and Resnick, and developing typologies of conceptual change in terms of their degree of severeness Thagard, These approaches are useful for comparing between different stages of scientific change and for discussing such issues as incommensurability.

However, they do not provide much detail on the creative process through which changes are created. Other lines of research have focused on the reasoning processes that are used in creating new concepts during scientific change. One of the early contributions to this line of work was Shapere who argued that, as concepts evolve, chains of reasoning connect the successive versions of a concept. These chains of reasoning therefore also establish continuity in scientific change, and this continuity can only be fully understood by analysis of the reasons that motivated each step in the chain of changes Shapere a;b.

Over the last two decades, this approach has been extended and substantiated by Nersessian a; b whose work has focused on the nature of the practices employed by scientists in creating, communicating and replacing scientific representations within a given scientific domain. She argues that conceptual change is a problem-solving process. Model-based reasoning processes, especially, are used to facilitate and constrain abstraction and information from multiple sources during this process.

Aiming at insights into general mechanisms of conceptual development, some of the cognitive approaches have been directed toward investigating not only the development of science, but also how sciences are learned. Science teaching should, therefore, address these misconceptions in an attempt to facilitate conceptual change in students.

Part of this research incorporated the controversial thesis that the development of ideas in students mirrors the development of ideas in the history of science—that cognitive ontogeny recapitulates scientific phylogeny. Instead, they carried out material investigations of the cognitive processes employed by scientists in constructing scientific concepts and theories more generally, through the available historical records, focussing on the kinds of reasoning strategies communicated in those records see Nersessian, ; Nersessian, a.

Thus, this work still assumed that the cognitive activities of scientists in their construction of new scientific concepts was relevant to learning, but it marked a return to a view of the relevance of the history of science as a repository of case studies demonstrating how scientific concepts are constructed and changed. It is impossible to disentangle entirely the history and philosophy of scientific change from a great number of other issues and disciplines.

We have not addressed here the epistemology of science, the role of experiments in science or of thought experiments , for instance. The question of whether science, or knowledge in general, is approaching truth, or tracking truth, or approximating to truth, are debates taken up in epistemology. For more on those issues one should consult the relevant references. Whether science progresses and not just changes is a question which supports its own literature as well. Many iterations of interpretations, criticism and replies to challenges of incommensurability, non-cumulativity, and irrationality of science have been given.

A simple version of the criticism is the pessimistic meta-induction: every scientific image of reality in the past has been proven wrong, therefore all future scientific images will be wrong see Putnam ; Laudan Past theories were not entirely wrong, on this view, and not entirely discarded, because they had some of the structure correct, albeit wrongly interpreted or embedded in a mistaken ontology or broader world view which has been since abandoned. On the question of unity of science, on whether the methods of science are universal or plural, and whether they are rational, see the references given for Cartwright , Feyerabend , Mitchell ; ; Kellert, et al For feminist criticisms and alternatives to traditional philosophy and history of science the interested reader should consult Longino ; ; Gary, et al ; Keller, et al ; Ruetsche Clough puts forward a program combining feminism and naturalism.

Among twenty-first century approaches to the historicity of science there are Friedman's dynamic a priori approach Friedman , the evolving subject-object relation of McGuire and Tuchanska , and complementary science of Hasok Chang Hanne Andersen Email: hanne. Brian Hepburn Email: bhepburn ivs. Scientific Change How do scientific theories, concepts and methods change over time? If Science Changes, What is Science? History of Science and Scientific Change As history of science professionalized, becoming a separate academic discipline in the twentieth century, scientific change was seen early on as an important theme within the discipline.

The introduction to Crombie's volume presented a large number of questions regarding scientific change that remained key issues in both history and philosophy of science for several decades: What were the essential changes in scientific thought and how were they brought about? Philosophical Views on Change and Progress in Science In the British and North American schools of philosophy of science, scientific change did not became a major topic until the s onwards when historically inclined philosophers of science, including Thomas S. Kuhn, Paradigms and Revolutions One of the key contributions that provoked interest in scientific change among philosophers of science was Thomas S.

Incommensurability as the Result of Radical Scientific Change For Kuhn the relation between normal science traditions separated by a scientific revolution cannot be described as incorporation of one into the other, or as incremental growth. Laudan and Research Traditions In his Progress and Its Problems: Towards a Theory of Scientific Growth , Laudan defined a research tradition as a set of general assumptions about the entities and processes in a given domain and about the appropriate methods to be used for investigating the problems and constructing the theories in that domain.

The Social Processes of Change Science is not just a body of facts or sets of sentences. Fleck As early as the mids, Ludwik Fleck gave an account of how thoughts and ideas change through their circulation within the social strata of a thought-collective Denkkollektiv and how this thought-traffic contributes to the process of verification. Cognitive Views on Scientific Change Scientific change received new interest during the s and s with the emergence of cognitive science; a field that draws on cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, artificial intelligence and neuroscience.

Scientific Change and Science Education Aiming at insights into general mechanisms of conceptual development, some of the cognitive approaches have been directed toward investigating not only the development of science, but also how sciences are learned. Further Reading and References It is impossible to disentangle entirely the history and philosophy of scientific change from a great number of other issues and disciplines.

Primary Sources Crombie, A. Scientific Change: Historical studies in the intellectual, social and technical conditions for scientific discovery and technical invention, from antiquity to the present. London: Heinemann. Feyerabend, P. London: New Left Books. London: Verso. Fleck, L. Trenn and R. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Kuhn, T. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Science in History , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Science in history; decidedly not a history of science. Lots of philosophy, religion and class struggles which may be off-putting to science nerds. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About J. Bernal is considered a pioneer in X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. First of all, however, let us consider some sources that seem to claim that there has been no overall theory or theoretical development in the field. Perhaps an atheoretical attitude is or has been a dominant view in the field? Rafael Capurro has developed a theoretical position related to social epistemology, but wrote Capurro :.

Supporting a skeptical view of an overall atheoretical position, Bawden , wrote:. These four quotes all express that overall theoretical development in information science has been weak, and is difficult and perhaps impossible. Should we, along with other theoretical positions, also operate with an atheoretical or antitheoretical position which, of course, is also a theoretical position that needs to be defended. We may label the view that science and knowledge develop independently of theoretical movements as positivism although this label is ambiguous [49].

In opposition to the positivist view, paradigm theory is a historically and socially oriented point of view related to hermeneutics. From this theoretical position, it becomes important to consider paradigms and research traditions. Two seminal publications, Shannon and Shannon and Weaver , developed statistical communication theory also called the classical theory of communication or information theory , although this is often considered a misnomer for a theory of data transmission. The conceptual basis was provided by previous engineering studies of efficiency in the transmission of messages over electrical channels.

This theory concerns the physical transmission of a message from a source to a receiver in an optimal way reducing loss and noise during the transmission. A basic idea in information theory is that the harder it is to guess what has been received, the more information one has obtained. For example, specifying the outcome of a fair coin flip two equally likely outcomes provides less information than specifying the outcome from a roll of a dice six equally likely outcomes. The theory involves concepts such as information, communication channels, bandwidth, noise, data transfer rate, storage capacity, signal-to-noise ratio, error rate, feedback and so on see Figure 1.

The core applications are issues such as data compression and the reliable storage and communication of data. It has broadened since its inception, finding applications in many other areas; however, as we shall see, the applications to which information theory is relevant are a controversial topic. Information theory makes it possible to code messages, text, sounds, pictures etc. In other words, information theory is the theory underlying digitalization often involving making analog signals to discrete codes, of which the digital code is one among many possible.

Information theory concerns the technical optimization of such transmission and storage processes. A simple example is the text transmitted by teletypewriters: pressing a particular key on the sending machine causes a particular sequence of electrical signals to be sent to the receiving machine, which activates the corresponding type bar; the machine then prints out the character that corresponds to the key that was pressed.

The number of keys used at the sending end and the number of corresponding characters at the receiving end determines how much information is involved by transmitting a given letter or number, shift, linefeed etc. An essential keyboard for transmitting a message of English text without punctuation and Arabic numbers needs 27 symbols including a space. These 27 symbols correspond to about 4.

A typewriter with 50 keys, including shift, shift lock, carriage return and line advance, would need a six-bit code and so on. Information theory is thus a mathematical theory about the technological issues involved whenever data is transmitted, stored or retrieved; this has turned out to be essential to the design of present-day communication and computational systems. Zunde , wrote: "Information science is a young discipline and neither its empirical laws nor its theories are sufficiently well developed. To some, Shannon's Information Theory is the only theory in this subject field".

However, it is important to emphasize that in each year or period, the literature of LIS contains a mixture of many different topics and perspectives. It is not the case that in one period all or most papers are based on or reflect a certain paradigm of that period. In other words, most views seem to co-exist at a given point in time, and it is just the meta-discussions that are dominated by a certain theoretical view in each period. An example of how information theory has been an interesting subject in relation to information science is the concept of redundancy. For example, Shannon measured the degree of redundancy in written English e.

Similar experiments have been carried out with oral languages removing part of electronic signals carrying oral speech. It has been shown that less redundancy is needed for native speakers Miller This may at first seem surprising, since hearing a message is one thing, and understanding it is another; the quality of the physical signal should only concern the first issue. Linguist and information scientist Henning Spang-Hanssen , electronic source, no page wrote:.

However, as pointed out by many, this measure is not particularly relevant to the field of library, information and documentation studies. Buckland , , for example, wrote:. As late as , it was claimed that information science is based on information theory Milojevic et al. Losee is a recent attempt to argue for "information theory" as the basis for information science and education within library and information science.

However, there is no demonstration of how that theory may contribute to any research problem in the field, such as information retrieval, indexing, thesaurus construction, information seeking, bibliometrics etc. Also, the author totally ignores all debates and criticisms about information theory, as provided by, for example, Buckland , Fugmann ; , Spang-Hanssen , Stock and Stock and many others.

Leydesdorff and Shubert Experiments at the Cranfield Institute of Technology in the s are often cited as the beginning of the modern area of testing and evaluation of computer-based information retrieval systems Cleverdon et al. In the Cranfield studies, retrieval experiments were conducted on a variety of test databases in a controlled, laboratory-like setting. In the second series of experiments, known as Cranfield II, alternative indexing languages constituted the performance variable under investigation.

The aim of the research was to find ways to improve the relative retrieval effectiveness of IR systems through better indexing languages and methods Cleverdon The components of the Cranfield experiments were: a small test collection of documents; a set of test queries; and a set of relevance judgments, that is, a set of documents judged to be relevant to each query. For the purposes of performance comparison, it was necessary to select quantitative measures of relevant documents output by the system under various controlled conditions.

The famous recall and precision measures derivatives of the concept of relevance were first used in the Cranfield II experiments. Relevance assessments were made by people with different backgrounds, mostly scientists in the field. Each assessor evaluated each document in full text on a five-point scale and made qualitative notes about the assessment. Most important is that relevance was evaluated in relation to its possible function for the user because this is directly opposed to how the systems view is mostly being described.

The paper further discussed how relevance assessments vary greatly among different assessors. Appendix 1 in Cleverdon lists the test-questions and the real documents used in the test. This seems important because it makes interpretations of the relevance-assessments possible. This procedure seems different from how it is described by the user-oriented researchers. Table 1 shows some results of the relative recall of four different indexing languages.

It was a shock to the LIS community that a high-quality classification system like the UDC which demands highly qualified indexers seems to be less effective than the low-tech Uniterm system a system mainly based on uncontrolled, single words extracted from the text of a document. Despite criticism, these results have since influenced the attitude of main-stream information retrieval researchers, not just in relation to UDC, but to all kinds of controlled vocabularies.

Among the criticisms raised against this tradition are that human searchers, their interaction with the system, their interpretation of the query, and their process-formed relevance judgments were factors excluded from these experiments. That said, there seems to be much misplaced criticism of this tradition and by implication a misplaced trust in what has mainly been understood as its alternative: the cognitive view. Firstly, the very dichotomy between systems-based and user-based approaches is problematic because neither can be understood without the other cf. This paradigm has not always been explicit about its own values, nor have its own basic assumptions always been examined.

According to Warner, these records have been evaluated according to their relevance using measures such as recall and precision in relation to the query. Warner finds that the underlying methodology tends to reify the concept of relevance and that the underlying indexing philosophy in the searched material is neglected and taken as given.

Finally, he finds that this approach contains an implicit teleology aimed at the construction of a perfect system. This tradition is far older, but less influential today. In his opinion, there are two especially valuable elements in this tradition. The conclusion can be drawn that the Cranfield tradition remains strong in information science; it was continued by the Text REtrieval Conferences TREC and today still represents the most important contribution to the development of search engines and other IR systems although it has mostly migrated from information science to computer science.

In information science, it has been met with criticism. An important characteristic of the Cranfield tradition is the view that subject expertise is needed in evaluating information retrieval and knowledge organization and not just user satisfaction. Kuhlthau , 1 described "the bibliographical paradigm" as follows: Traditionally, library and information service have centered on sources and technology.

Libraries have developed sophisticated systems for collecting, organizing, and retrieving texts and have applied advanced technology to provide access to vast sources of information. This bibliographic paradigm of collecting and classifying texts and devising search strategies for their retrieval has promoted a view of information use from the system's perspective.

For the most part, library and information science has concentrated on the system's representation of texts rather than on users' texts, problems, and processes in information gathering. We see that Kuhlthau here relates the bibliographical paradigm to the systems perspective, which needs, however, to be considered further.

There has been a tradition in LIS to study the literatures of specific domains e. The case is, that one cannot be professional in LIS without such knowledge which may be more or less specialized according to job function: very general in small public libraries, very specific in libraries such as the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D. There was a time when the study of the literatures and other documents of different domains flourished in LIS.

It is characteristic, unfortunately, that those article are old reprints rather than reflecting current research. Studies of literatures cannot be substituted by, for example, studies of users. Some of the criticisms raised against this view may be related to problematic philosophical premises. The bibliographical paradigm does not necessarily imply a positivist description of documents, but may imply a consideration of what documents can do, and how library and information science can support documents in doing important tasks, i.

The bibliographic paradigm — or certain interpretations of it — point forward to Section 3. To say that information processes and processors are cognitive in nature is a triviality that cannot be used to distinguish these from other approaches.

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Dahlberg is an editorial about the cognitive view in knowledge organization. She declared the term cognitive approaches a tautology, since all approaches to KO must, in one way or another, be concerned with conceptual and cognitive issues; according to Dahlberg, the term is thus not specifying anything new in knowledge organization. Since the cognitive view is often presented as one of several positions, its theoretical assumptions relative to other perspectives must be further examined. As Slife and Williams , 71 wrote:. For example, Human Information Processing Lindsay and Norman influenced LIS and was in some places used as a text in information science around One of the main figures in the cognitive view in information science is Nicholas Belkin, who claimed , 11 : It is shown, by example, that considering problems of information science from this point of view has led to significant advances in a variety of areas of information science, including bibliometrics [53] , user studies, the reference interview and information retrieval.

This variety of applications suggests that the cognitive viewpoint may be a powerful framework for the general theoretical and practical development of information science. Such a broad influence is what should be expected from a paradigm or framework theory in information science. In other words, the principles of information science can be uncovered by the study of the human mental system, considered to be universal as opposed to a culturally and socially shaped mind.

For example, is it correct that the cognitive view is based on a relativistic model of knowledge, altered by cognitive and social processes? Sampson argued that cognitivism, by virtue of the primacy it gives to the individual knower [55] , to subjective determinants of behavior, and to formal cognitive operations, represents a set of values and interests that reproduce and reaffirm the existing nature of the social order, and thus must be understood as an ideology.

In information science, Frohmann criticized the cognitive understanding of indexing. Based on the philosophy of the late Wittgenstein, Frohmann argued that principles of indexing cannot be rules inherent in a universal mind. If information specialists are going to index a text, we may assume that the principles of this indexing have been learned, for example during their education in LIS.

Such principles may have been discussed in the literature and developed historically based on research which is informed by epistemological theories, which themselves are developed historically. In other words, LIS is supposed to develop sound principles of indexing, rather than to uncover them by studying abstract minds.

Talja wrote: It is widely recognized that both individual information needs and institutional information access are socially conditioned. However, conducting information seeking research on a macro-sociological level has turned out to be difficult within the cognitive viewpoint, since it is basically a theory of how individuals process information.

The cognitive viewpoint offers no concrete and obvious solutions to the question of how to conceptualize and study the socio-cultural context of information processes. Talja et al. We should remember the connection between the cognitive view in information science and that of Lindsay and Norman , which indicates that the cognitive view in information science is related to cognitive science.

It may be, however, that the authors in the cognitive tradition are not themselves loyal to their metatheoretical commitments. However, for those researchers who consider knowledge and information as fundamentally social in nature, this task seems condemned from the beginning [59]. In his view, the cognitive tradition is also based on the query transformation assumption rather than on the idea of selection power. Despite the unclarified issues in the cognitive approach and the serious arguments that have been raised against it, there is a today a large body of interdisciplinary literature informed by that view [60].

In this way, cognitive science may come closer to the views introduced in Section 3. The cognitive-historical approach, in particular, seems fruitful for knowledge organization cf. Philosopher Luciano Floridi born has developed a philosophy of information which he labels the philosophy of information PI or the philosophy of computing and information PCI. He rightly points out Floridi , 39 that:. This argumentation is somewhat confusing [63] ; an example can be considered as follows. Information specialists index documents in databases such as MEDLINE in order to make it possible to produce systematic reviews reflecting which medical treatments have the best effects in relation to a certain disease.

Here, documents are primarily indexed serving information retrieval, or rather document retrieval. What is considered proper information is here the same as what is considered proper knowledge. Documents have different epistemic status, and in evidence-based medicine the highest status is given to documents reporting randomized controlled trials RCTs. Therefore, there are epistemic norms governing which documents should be retrieved. Such norms are never decided once and for all, and should not be considered too mechanically.

In all domains, there tend to be different views connected to different epistemological norms, and information professionals are therefore involved in epistemic problems whether they like it or not. Here, Cornelius , provided his evaluation and concluded:. In the afterword to the same issue, Floridi a , stated: Library information science LIS should develop its foundation in terms of a philosophy of information PI. This seems a rather harmless suggestion. Where else could information science look for its conceptual foundations if not in PI?

Although this statement may seem obvious, it is problematic. It should be remembered that the name of the discipline LIS is itself an issue and that theoreticians have problematized it. Brookes — and philosopher Fred Dretske — , although it is opposed to the views put forward by David C. Biologists, for example, do not need philosophers to construct a philosophy of life in order to develop biology although a certain cooperation between philosophers and domain experts is desirable. In information science, many theoretical arguments have been put forward and considered, and we cannot expect philosophy to provide a basis for LIS as far as these arguments have not been addressed by the philosophers.

It is entirely self-referential, citing only his own writings, and with no indication that he has read any of the preceding 15 papers. However, a recent, positive and relatively developed evaluation of Floridi's PI is Bawden and Robinson In the s and s, two paradigms dominated in the theoretical discourses on LIS: the physical approach and the cognitive view.

In other words, information science became more pluralistic. The new approaches were often related to social, cultural and philosophical perspectives. Examples from the international scene were Frohmann and Blair , along with views which had been formerly expressed, such as those of Wilson and Winograd and Flores [65]. In Scandinavia, such socially oriented views were also put forward.

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As stated in Section 3 , socially oriented perspectives on LIS also existed at an earlier time. This perspective includes the analysis of the roles of all actors, institutions, systems, media and documents. It also means that explanations for empirically observed phenomena are sought in social conditions rather than in universal cognitive processes. Since Shera and Egan and Shera introduced the term social epistemology , there has been much interdisciplinary controversy about epistemological issues.

Kuhn introduced the influential concepts of paradigm and the paradigm shift just as social constructivism, post-modernism etc. Different information systems and knowledge organization systems are influenced by certain paradigms, and tend to support certain tasks and interests at the expense of other interests. This example also illuminates the content-oriented view: that the mediation of information, knowledge and documents cannot escape issues concerning the content of what is mediated.

The shift from a cognitive, individual perspective to a social and cultural perspective is important for LIS, and, as we saw above, for epistemology and linguistics. There are many studies of the content and structure of LIS. Some approaches towards studying this have been: To study the educational programs at schools of library and information science SLIS. To study the disciplinary composition of researchers and teachers at SLIS. To carry out a content analysis of a representative set of publications from LIS. To carry out bibliometric studies of publications in LIS or in other disciplines.

To create facet-analytic classifications of LIS. To carry out domain-analytic studies of LIS. Borup Larsen contains a study of the curricula at SLIS in Europe and finds the following distribution of core subject areas taught:. We shall not consider methodological problems in this study; however, we will point out that the labels used for content areas often cover very different content, and that the assumptions behind the content may reflect very different views of what kind of knowledge is needed in the future. Most studies of LIS focus on the research literature cf.

Section 4. Although this is a very popular research field, there is almost no research on LIS textbooks, one exception being a Russian study reviewed by Foskett In a way, this is understandable, since studies of the scholarly literature of LIS represent firsthand knowledge whereas studies of textbooks present the field through the interpretation of their authors, and therefore represent second-hand knowledge about the content and structure of LIS.

However, textbooks and related genres such as readings, handbooks and bibliographic guides [68] provide the kinds of syntheses which may provide additional relevant perspectives. We do not have much knowledge of which texts are generally used in LIS education. It is likely that specialized texts on, for example, knowledge organization e. Rowley and Farrow ; Taylor and Joudrey or Glushko , information seeking e. Case and Given or bibliometrics e. Bellis are much used, whereas general texts on LIS are less often used, since these are more difficult to integrate into educational programs consisting of various subdisciplines [69].

In terms of texts on LIS as a whole, Stock and Stock stands out as the most ambitious work, entitled Handbook of Information Science and containing pages. Handbooks are normally anthologies written by experts in the different topics; however, here we have the view of two researchers of the field. The main structure of the book is as follows:. Davis and Shaw is a textbook that was written by a team of authors; this started as a Wiki-project and therefore has a somewhat mingled perspective. It contains the following chapters:.

Rubin is a well-received text, which includes coverage of: the history and mission of libraries, from past to present; digital devices, social networking and other technologies; the impact of digital publishing on the publishing industry and the effects of eBooks on libraries the values and ethics of the profession; how library services have evolved in the areas of virtual reference, embedded librarianship, digital access and repositories, digital preservation and civic engagement; new and ongoing efforts to organize knowledge, such as FRBR, RDA Resource Description And Access , BIBFRAME, the Semantic Web, and the Next Generation Catalog Catalog 2.

However, one might say that this is not quite what the title promises in terms of Foundations of Library and Information Science. Again cf. Section 2. For example, it contains a chapter about the history of libraries; however, this is not an introduction to the historiography of libraries, nor is it about the science or study of libraries, nor theory or research, but is simply some information about the history of libraries Connaway and Radford , in contrast, is about the methodology of LIS.

Bawden and Robinson contains the following chapters: 1. What is information science? Disciplines and professions 2. History of information: the story of documents 3. Philosophies and paradigms of information science 4. Basic concepts of information science 5. Domain analysis 6. Information organization 7. Information technologies: creation, dissemination and retrieval 8.

Informetrics 9. Information behaviour Communicating information: changing contexts Information society Information management and policy Digital literacy Information science research: what and how? The future of the information sciences Among the fine qualities of this book are its coverage of the philosophies and paradigms in LIS and the fact that it is written by well-known authors in the field. Perhaps, however, the book is more eclectic than it is based on a certain theoretical outlook. Many persons including one of the reviewers of the present article do not agree on the necessity of the emphasis on different paradigms [70].

The most important problem in LIS is related to theoretical and conceptual clarifications, and it is difficult to find textbooks based on a well-considered standpoint. Another way of studying LIS is to focus on the teaching and research staff, their educational backgrounds and their research. Studies of the research output of these schools show a much broader picture than the studies presented in Sections 4. Meho and Spurgin , for example, found that no database provides comprehensive coverage of the literature produced by researchers employed in SLIS; researchers must therefore rely on a wide range of disciplinary and multidisciplinary databases for ranking and other research purposes.

The explanation is probably that many professors at SLIS institutions do not or do not primarily publish in LIS journals but in journals devoted to other fields. Wiggins and Sawyer found that there are great variations in the intellectual composition of different iSchools; this seems to be related to local logics that, over time, have guided hiring to meet the needs of individual schools.

From this, the authors infer that these local arrangements are more important to hiring decisions than is any sense of shared community identity. In other words, iSchools and with them SLIS seem less to be an international or just regional community in which researchers compete for positions, and are more influenced by local priorities see also Golub et al. In the first of these studies, a relatively detailed topic classification system was developed reprinted in Tuomaala et al. The authors admit that this classification system is somewhat outdated, although it was also used in the latest study to be able to compare former periods.

Its overall structure is:. Tuomaala et al. Among the methodological problems in this series of studies is that they cannot specify, for example, which studies of ISR should be considered computer science studies and which should be considered LIS studies. This is due to several factors: the migration of information retrieval from information science to computer science; the interdisciplinary nature of LIS journals cf. Chua and Yang ; and finally the classical epistemological problem: to select something, you must already know what that something is.

There have been many bibliometric studies of the intellectual structure of LIS [71]. Liu et al. Import-export studies are investigations based on citation analysis to describe the exchange of ideas between disciplines or scholarly communities. This economic metaphor was introduced in the seminal work by Cronin and Pearson An import study for a field e.

Science in History: Volume 1 The Emergence of Science

Export studies, on the other hand demonstrate which disciplines a given discipline is cited by, representing a kind of reception studies. It is a common premise in science studies that interdisciplinarity is a positive thing and that isolated disciplines disciplines not cited in other disciplines is an indicator of a crisis [73] although some disciplines such as mathematics are exceptions from this rule. Import studies of LIS may reveal from which fields of knowledge LIS has mostly drawn, and to which it is therefore most closely related.

There have been several empirical examinations of the relationship between LIS and other fields, and selected studies only are mentioned here. Small , 49 examined the relationship of information science to the social sciences. At the same time, information science, at least in the context of the social and behavioral sciences, appears somewhat isolated. It certainly is not the central discipline, with strong linkages to many diverse fields, that many would like it to be.

Warner examined the impact of linguistic theory on information science and showed that the examined portion of the information science literature cited linguistic theory very seldom. Further data analysis showed that a small number of citing and cited authors accounted for most of the activity, and that syntax and semantics gained more attention from information scientists than other branches of linguistic theory. Borgman and Rice examined the relationship between information science and communication studies; Ellis et al. However, all such empirical studies can only identify which in the past have been the most related cognate fields based on which paradigms have been dominant.

Huang and Chang investigated the interdisciplinary changes in information sciences over the period to , and found that information science researchers have most frequently cited publications in LIS. The co-authors of information science articles are also primarily from the discipline of LIS, although the percentage of LIS references is much higher. This indicates that information science researchers mainly rely on publications in LIS, and that they often produce scientific papers with researchers from LIS. The degree of interdisciplinarity in information science has shown growth, particularly in terms of co-authoring.

In LIS, many theoretical points of view are imported from other fields. Almost all well-known theorists from, for example, the social sciences have been used in LIS. Leckie et al. However, such theorists are seldom used to establish a broad theoretical frame for issues in LIS, such as bibliometrics, classification, information retrieval, information seeking etc.

There are many export studies in LIS, and a few are briefly introduced here. They found that the discipline, as represented by the work of these six grandees, exported little to other disciplines. Tang studied citations of LIS publications drawn randomly from six years in the period and , and showed that LIS involves a wide spectrum of interests from across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Cronin and Meho is a large-scale study which found that LIS exported significantly to computer science, engineering and management during the years — and also imported much from the same disciplines.

Odell and Gabbard is a follow-up of the study by Meyer and Spencer ; these authors also found large increases in LIS exports to computer science, business and management. Hessey and Willett is a methodologically important study that questions some of the former results concerning LIS exports. Using the subject categories in the Web of Science is popular in such studies; however, some journals are classified in more than one subject field, and this may provide a highly over-optimistic view of the extent to which LIS knowledge is being exported to the wider academic community.

Another interesting finding was that just 11 distinct articles from the Sheffield Chemoinformatics Group absolutely dominated the export from LIS. One strength of the study was that it considered the relative value of different kinds of exports. Import-export studies concerning LIS are relevant to the relationship between LIS and other disciplines, as discussed in Section 5 below. The classification of subject fields is one of the classical activities of LIS professionals and researchers.

One of the major researchers in facet analytical classification was Jack Mills, who contributed to a classification of LIS Daniel and Mills It seems worthwhile to evaluate the facet analytic classification method in relation to the classification of LIS compared with other approaches, although this has never been done, and is outside the scope of this article. It should be said, however, that the logical structuring of the concepts of a field is a valuable, if not indispensable, activity.

However, such a logical structuring cannot replace a concern with the theoretical issues in the field classified, and cannot provide a neutral classification. Domain analysis is different from content analysis, bibliometric studies and facet analytical classification in its emphasis of the necessity of the historical and philosophical analysis of knowledge domains. This article is an attempt to provide background knowledge about LIS in order to illuminate the importance of different conceptualizations of the field. The main conclusion is that there is today no consensus on what constitute the most important subfields of LIS.

Empirical studies reveal a confusing picture, and passing fads such as the H-index may distort the picture; on the other hand, the picture may be influenced by researchers who routinely do the same kinds of studies, although these may be of limited value. Milojevic et al.

However, the subfields identified in this study seem not to be theoretically coherent fields. LIS institutions, systems and processes can be understood as second-order genres depending on a critical analysis and mediation of first-order genres. For example, in evidence-based medicine, the systematic review is a genre based on certain epistemological assumptions. LIS is about providing databases and search techniques for mediating medical knowledge, including support for the researchers writing systematic reviews.

The criteria for what counts as evidence are not developed within LIS, but must be known by LIS professionals working in this domain. Bradford , ; , wrote under the heading The Scattering of Articles on a Given Subject :. If Bradford was right, it follows that any subject, including LIS, is more or less remotely connected to every other subject. But what determines which subjects are closely related and which subjects are only peripherally related? A rationalist philosophy may see the world as having a given structure and science as a representation of this given structure; it may expect a fixed relationship between disciplines.

However, it seems obvious that the relationship, for example, between LIS and other disciplines is relative to the underlying conception of LIS. If LIS is considered from a cognitive perspective, LIS should be closely related to the cognitive sciences [74] , and so on; each theoretical position in LIS as in other fields has implications for the relationship between LIS and other fields, that is, for which subjects are closely related and which subjects are only peripherally related. In other words, it cannot be decided which fields are closely related to LIS until we have made up our minds on which theoretical position in LIS we consider the most fruitful.

As shown in Section 4. However, such empirical studies simply reveal the relationship between disciplines based on what in the past have been the most influential paradigms. By implication, LIS must be understood as a metascience cf. Therefore, LIS is first and foremost related to the specific fields of scholarship, for example, chemistry, biology, art studies or literature studies. To create a classification or a thesaurus of, say, birds, primarily requires an up-to-date knowledge of ornithology.

Mediation of medical knowledge requires knowledge about the medical criteria of evidence and the way evidence is provided in systematic reviews and presented in medical databases. In a way, culture including literature, history, music, the arts etc. Among the metascientific perspectives, the philosophical and the sociological are most important cf. Section 3.

LIS has generally been greatly influenced by the institutional purposes of SLIS, which traditionally have been dominated by the education of librarians, mostly for public libraries. In marked contrast to computer science, which developed from mathematical, scientific and technological research and shaped its own market, LIS, to a much larger degree, has taken shape from the need to educate people for already existing institutions, systems and processes. Central questions are therefore:.

Concerning 1, there are many statistics and studies regarding trends in the use of libraries; the details are not communicated here. A valuable but generally neglected study is Huymans and Hillebrink Central tendencies in the use of libraries seem to be:. Traditionally, the physical delivery of documents has been overwhelmingly the most important function for libraries. An important question is whether the library can develop new services which are more concerned with the intellectual communication of documents, information, knowledge and culture.

As pointed out by Huymans and Hillebrink , , it should also be considered that the use of cultural activities, such as exhibitions, probably. Regarding 2, in Section 2. At the same time, it is characteristic of the definition that the listed functions almost all depend on domain knowledge, and that high-quality information services therefore demand specialized subject knowledge, e.

LIS-educated persons are meeting with increasing competition from people educated in other domains. It is important to understand that the development of practice should be led by research, and not vice versa. LIS professionals depend on their knowledge base, and that knowledge base is closely related to LIS research. The objects of study are processes such as information provision or the mediation of culture, as well as libraries and other institutions with similar functions, involved in this process. The discipline has connections to a range of other disciplines within the social sciences, the humanities and technologies.

A related understanding of LIS was formulated by Andersen [76] :. Endnotes 1. However, Google, for example, was not developed using the application of knowledge developed in LIS or KO, and the quote is therefore wrong. LIS and KO have played a much more modest role. What Andersen probably intended to write was that LIS and KO have potential for developing important new perspectives on those infrastructures.

The plural form is also used for information science alone, e. This also goes for the tendency to replace science with studies , as Duke University began in a program called Information Science and Studies. The listed disciplines, except informatics, records management, and social studies of information, are covered by separate articles in the encyclopedia.

In addition to those listed there is an article on "Information science" Saracevic , which is reprinted in the fourth edition, , IV: — without indication that it is a reprint! Related to social studies of information, there are articles about, for example, social epistemology and social informatics. Winter , wrote about this classification of disciplines:.

Note also that today there is an increasing tendency to combine some of these disciplines archives, libraries, and museums studies ALM into one educational program cf. These are probably better understood as adjacent fields or cognate disciplines which may, however, also be the case with some of the disciplines included by Bates and Maack , xiii. Other fields to consider are bibliometrics, research on databases and search engines, social media and internet studies, which are interdisciplinary fields with a strong LIS component. Fields such as medical informatics, legal informatics, geographical information science, digital humanities etc.

Perhaps LIS itself should also be considered a merging or combination of different fields, but as such a more established combination. The term library and information science research seems to be a pleonasm since anything termed science should, by definition, be research. However, the journal Library and Information Science Research is focused on methodology in LIS, and in this case the term seems therefore adequate.

Regarding the use of this pleonasm, see also the quote from Wilson below. Wilson ; electronic source, no page. In Readmond-Neal and Hlava LIS is considered synonymous with information science 68 , whereas librarianship is considered a related term The term library research has two different meanings: 1 the study of libraries, their operation, history, social impact etc. See Abbott and Mann for this second meaning. Perhaps we could say that the ultimate goal of library research in the first sense is to facilitate library research in the second sense.

Dewey Decimal Classification DDC used the term library economy for class in its first edition from In the second edition and all subsequent editions it was moved to class The term library economy was used until and including the 14th edition From the 15th edition , class was termed library science , which was used until and including the 17th edition ; it was then replaced by library and information sciences LIS from 18th ed.

Vakkari found, however, that the development of library science as a science in the strictest sense was under way by the time that Graesel published his handbook on librarianship. Stock and Stock , 15 wrote The object of library science is the empirical and theoretical analysis of specific activities; among these are the collection, conservation, provision and evaluation of documents and the knowledge fixed therein.

Its tools are elaborate systems for the formal and content-oriented processing of information.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

Topics like the creation of classification systems or information dissemination were common property of this discipline even before the term "information science" existed. This close link facilitates—especially in the United States—the development of approaches toward treating information science and library science as a single aggregate discipline, called "LIS" Library and Information Science.

Stock and Stock are right in their claim that topics such as the creation of classification systems or information dissemination were common properties of this discipline even before the term information science existed. However, it is still the question when work about, for example, the creation of classification systems is a research-based activity. Real systematic research programs came with, for example, the Classification Research Group in the UK about and with the so-called Cranfield tradition from the s , the first mostly connected with library science, the last with information science but with overlapping figures, e.

Jack Mills. The classification research of Bliss and the Classification Research Group is not about libraries although it was applied mainly in libraries. The term documentation seems to be a better choice. Consider that we have today fields like archival science, museum studies and theatre studies. It should also be said that the terms documentation and information science were not limited to libraries, but included the study of archives, museums, databases and other memory institutions.