Library Trends 61 (2) Fall 2012: Information and Space: Analogies and Metaphors

 

Library Trends 61 (2) Fall 2012: Information and Space: Analogies and Metaphors. Edited by Wouter Van Acker and Pieter Uyttenhove

Spatial metaphors abound in the language we use to speak about the organization of information. Well-established notions such as "architecture of databases," "knowledge architect," or "information design" convey their meaning by drawing analogies between the organization of information and the organization of space. The notion "architecture of databases," for example, relies on the idea that a database provides us, like a building, multiple spaces where we can position different objects that we can exploit for different functions. Just as a building is a fixed construction, the interior of which can be furnished and refurbished time and again, we can add or remove objects of knowledge or data in the categories of a database. A "knowledge architect" is another example. Through metaphor, this notion defines the job of someone who, like an architect, combines technical and artistic skills and who is able to coordinate the overall construction process; not for the purpose of constructing a building but for constructing tools to manage flows of knowledge or relevant information that is meant to remain in place (Tonfoni, 1998). "Information design" is a third example. It underscores metaphorically the idea that the development of an information system involves, as is the case in design, a complex process of planning before actual construction can occur. Furthermore, one applies the word "design" to information systems to imply that they are modeled in a smart way, to minimize the user's efforts and to do so in respect to his or her personal needs.


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  • Van Acker, Wouter (Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012)
    The author discusses the architectural plans of the Mundaneum made in the 1930s by the Belgian modernist architect Maurice Heymans in the footsteps of Le Corbusier and in collaboration with Paul Otlet. The Mundaneum was ...

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  • Van Acker, Wouter; Uyttenhove, Pieter (Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012)
    Spatial metaphors abound in the language we use to speak about the organization of information. Well-established notions such as “architecture of databases,” “knowledge architect,” or “information design” convey their meaning ...

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  • Kite, Stephen (Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012)
    We cannot remember without [architecture], declares John Ruskin (1819–1900) in “The Lamp of Memory” of his The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) (Cook and Wedderburn, 1904, vol. 8, p. 224).1 For Ruskin, the city is a ...

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  • Hapke, Thomas (Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012)
    The combinatorial thinking of the chemist and Nobel laureate Wilhelm Ostwald grew out of his activities in chemistry and was further developed in his philosophy of nature. Ostwald used combinatorics as an analogous, ...

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  • Delbeke, Maarten; Morel, Anne-Françoise (Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012)
    The guidebook is not merely a registration of the city and its historical evolution or of the changing preferences of visitors but rather a device that selects and arranges aspects of the city—real as well as imaginary—into ...

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