Literature/1997/Buckland

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Buckland, Michael K. (1997). "What is a 'document'?" Journal of the American Society of Information Science vol. 48, no. 9 (Sept 1997): 804-809.

Authors[edit]

  • School of Information Management & Systems, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
  • E-mail: buckland@sims.berkeley.edu

Abstract[edit]

Ordinarily the word "document" denotes a textual record. Increasingly sophisticated attempts to provide access to the rapidly growing quantity of available documents raised questions about which should be considered a "document". The answer is important for any definition of the scope of Information Science. Paul Otlet and others developed a functional view of "document" and discussed whether, for example, sculpture, museum objects, and live animals, could be considered "documents". Suzanne Briet equated "document" with organized physical evidence. These ideas appear to resemble notions of "material culture" in cultural anthropology and "object-as-sign" in semiotics. Others, especially in the USA (e.g. Jesse Shera and Louis Shores) took a narrower view. New digital technology renews old questions and also old confusions between medium, message, and meaning.

Excerpts[edit]

  • Briet enumerates six objects and asks if each is a document.
    Object --- Document?
    Star in sky -- No
    Photo of star -- Yes
    Stone in river -- No
    Stone in museum -- Yes
    Animal in wild -- No
    Animal in zoo -- Yes

Wikimedia[edit]

Chronology[edit]

  • Buckland, Michael (2009). "As We May Recall: Four Forgotten Pioneers," Interactions, vol. 16, No. 6 (November + December 2009), pp. 76-79. [^]
  • Buckland, Michael (2006). "Collaboration: Bad Words and Strong Documents," (p. 3) In: Hassanaly, Parina, et al., eds. (2006). Proceeding of the 2006 Conference on Cooperative Systems Design: Seamless Integration of Artifacts and Conversations -- Enhanced Concepts of Infrastructure for Communication. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press. [^]
  • Buckland, Michael. (1995). "The Centenary of 'Madame Documentation': Suzanne Briet, 1894-1989," Journal of the American Society for Information Science, vol. 46, no. 3 (April 1995): 235-237.
  • Buckland, M. K. & R. Day. "The semiotics of 'document'." In the proceedings of the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, Berkeley, 1994. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Buckland, M. K. (1991). "Information retrieval of more than text," Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42, 586-588.
  • Buckland, Michael (1991). "Information as Thing." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 42 (5): 351-360. [^]
  • Buckland, Michael (1991). "Information as Thing." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 42 (5): 351-360. [^]

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."