What Counts As Information? What Counts As a Collection?
A progress report on two topics:
(1) “Information” usually refers to text, images, or data, but specimens and other objects can also be informative. Suzanne Briet’s famous declaration in 1951 that an antelope in a zoo could be regarded as a document is now widely cited. However, she provided minimal explanation. A search for her sources led to the same ideas and a thoughtful explanation in 1947 by Robert Pagès, a social psychologist, whose work I will summarize.
(2) The welcome rise of Open Access in a network environment calls into question the traditional role of the library’s collection and, especially, of the library catalog. It also revives older issues concerning the relationship between the human librarian and the library catalog and the relationship between the catalog and bibliographies. A fundamental re-consideration is indicated.