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Garvey, W. D., & Griffith, B. C. (1972). Communication and information processing within scientific disciplines: Empirical findings for psychology. Information Storage & Retrieval 8,123-136.
Small, H. G. (1978).“Cited documents as concept symbols.” Social Studies of Science 8, 327-340.
Allen, T. J.(1966). Managing the Flow of Scientific and Technical Information. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Mote, L. J. B. (1962). Reasons for the variations in the information needs of scientists. Journal of Documentation, 18(4), 169-175.
“Perhaps the most important result of the social selection of knowledge through citational interpretation is the narrowing of meaning which occurs. By condensing or 'capsulizing' a complex original text into a few standard statements, the community of scientists can more easily confirm, refute or build upon the earlier work. This serves the needs of the specialty by enabling work to go on unencumbered by the necessity of unraveling the complete meaning and implications of the earlier text, even though this may result in the distortion or oversimplification of the original.” Small p. 338.
I had a lot of difficulty with Small’s article in general, but this passage in particular gave me reason to considerably pause. As I re-read and attempted to summarize the crux of the paragraph (that social selection of citations narrow complex topics for easier domain confirmation/refutation/ influence) something much deeper seemed to be suggested: Scientists in negotiating a system of symbols, rather than citations to textually complete documents, suffer the fate of interpolation.
That is to say, that by employing “capsulized” statements as symbols they are signifying concepts which are unfixed, and reside between two approximations. And in doing so they are not adding new knowledge, but brokering existing theories, which as Kuhn points out in the case of a paradigm shift, are inherently unstable.
This, to me, sounds like a profound statement about science, and one that I think wholly fit’s in Kuhn’s model. If the unstable signifier becomes eventually detached form the signified, then that rupture must be a shift that allows for a (scientific) revolution to occur. So, approximations, as they are useful for allowing us to carry on widely accepted practices are also the very seeds of a paradigm shift. I hope we can further explore this notion, in the closing sentence, of “complete meaning” and further unpack some of Small’s statements in class.
Notes from Seminar
The formal and the informal of Garvey and Griffith— Psychology is perhaps a difficult domain because of the difference between practicing, and theorhetical participants. The fact that there are fewer CogPrints- an early success in the pre-print forums model. Psycologists exchanging information—Garvey talks about pre-print culture being very important Conferences- showing results but also reading larger texts.
Technical reports—more detail about method and background, not of interest to the reader- but exceptionally beneficial to consumer, but for the creator it’s useful to know how those conclusions were reached. Maybe it served some other purpose-
Data Processing Clinic—a working technical report
Go back to the Science and American Psychologist publications to look at editorials for how this was received in that community. SMALL Citation as an access point—first papers to see beyond raw numbers, but a theory of what is happening when we cite and how we can use those to understand things beyond quantitative patterns.
Allen – Three ways of seeing users: 1. need assessment 2. information work – research process 3. domain analysis – mid 90’s first example : Hurland and Albrictsen – JASIS – towards a new horizon in information science- Domain Analysis.
“the weak information work” – Carole Palmer-- Information Processing and Management
Mote—often cited as developer of Scatter Method for biblio