måndag 16 december 2013

The materiality of knowledge organization: epistemology, metaphors and society. New article.

As the year comes to a close a new article of mine has been published. It was submitted in april for a theme issue of journal Knowledge Organization, published by the International Society for Knowledge Organization. It is the prime forum for classification research within LIS. My contribution can thus be seen as a kind of return to the research themes that occupied me in the late 1990's, culminating in my doctoral dissertation Bibliotek, klassifikation, samhälle from 1999.

It was nice to be asked to participate in this issue, and it is humbling to be published along with such good colleagues. The always interesting editing process proved more than rigorous this time. Knowledge Organization is a journal with very strict formal requirements, and a lot of work had to be put down into making the article fit those requirements. In the process, I felt that some of the arguments were a bit lost. Now seeing the article in its final form, however, I find it at least fitting the formal structure of the other articles, giving the issue a nice conform look. Classification research is in itself a thoroughly conformist branch of LIS, and Knowledge Organization is a good manifestation of this. Still, I can easily defend the final product, and it is with a strange kind of pleasure that I now send it off to a life of its own.

Interestingly enough, this detour into classification research might prove to be timely sign of what is soon to come in terms of new research for me. This, however, I will return to here during next year, when the time is right.


Hansson, Joacim (2013) The Materiality of Knowledge Organization: Epistemology, Metaphors and Society. Knowledge Organization. 40(6), 384-391. 29 references.

This article discusses the relation between epistemology, social organization and knowledge organization. Three examples are used to show how this relation has proven to be historically stable: 1) the organization of knowledge in 18th century encyclopedias; 2) the problem of bias in the international introduction of DDC in early 20th century libraries in Scandinavia; and 3) the practice of social tagging and folksonomies in contemporary late capitalist society. By using the concept of ‘materiality’ and the theoretical contribution on the documentality of social objects by Maurizio Ferraris, an understanding of the character of the connection between epistemology and social order in knowledge organization systems is achieved. 
The full content of the issue is found here