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Title:Documentation Redux: Prolegomenon to (Another) Philosophy of Information
Author(s):Frohmann, Bernd
Subject(s):Philosophy of information
Library science --Philosophy
Information science --Philosophy
Abstract:A philosophy of information is grounded in a philosophy of documentation. Nunberg’s conception of the phenomenon of information heralds a shift of attention away from the question “What is information?” toward a critical investigation of the sources and legitimation of the question itself. Analogies between Wittgenstein’s deconstruction of philosophical accounts of meaning and a corresponding deconstruction of philosophical accounts of information suggest that because the informativeness of a document depends on certain kinds of practices with it, and because information emerges as an effect of such practices, documentary practices are ontologically primary to information. The informativeness of documents therefore refers us to the properties of documentary practices. These fall into four broad categories: their materiality; their institutional sites; the ways in which they are socially disciplined; and their historical contingency. Two examples from early modern science, which contrast the scholastic documentary practices of continental natural philosophers to those of their peers in Restoration England, illustrate the richness of the factors that must be taken into account to understand how documents become informing.
Issue Date:2004
Publisher:Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:In Library Trends 52(3) Winter 2004: 387-407.
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2004.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-07-23

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