Document (#42642)

Author
Hauser, E.
Tennis, J.T.
Title
Episemantics: aboutness as aroundness
Source
Knowledge organization. 46(2019) no.8, S.590-595
Year
2019
Abstract
Aboutness ranks amongst our field's greatest bugbears. What is a work about? How can this be known? This mirrors debates within the philosophy of language, where the concept of representation has similarly evaded satisfactory definition. This paper proposes that we abandon the strong sense of the word aboutness, which seems to promise some inherent relationship between work and subject, or, in philosophical terms, between word and world. Instead, we seek an etymological reset to the older sense of aboutness as "in the vicinity, nearby; in some place or various places nearby; all over a surface." To distinguish this sense in the context of information studies, we introduce the term episemantics. The authors have each independently applied this term in slightly different contexts and scales (Hauser 2018a; Tennis 2016), and this article presents a unified definition of the term and guidelines for applying it at the scale of both words and works. The resulting weak concept of aboutness is pragmatic, in Star's sense of a focus on consequences over antecedents, while reserving space for the critique and improvement of aboutness determinations within various contexts and research programs. The paper finishes with a discussion of the implication of the concept of episemantics and methodological possibilities it offers for knowledge organization research and practice. We draw inspiration from Melvil Dewey's use of physical aroundness in his first classification system and ask how aroundness might be more effectively operationalized in digital environments.
Content
DOI:10.5771/0943-7444-2019-8-590.
Footnote
Beitrag in einem Special Issue: Best papers from NASKO, ISKO-UK, ISKO-France, ISKO-Brazil 2019.
Theme
Inhaltsanalyse

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