Cats, Carpenters, and Accountants: Bibliographical Foundations of Information Science
Wayne de Fremery
This talk describes a book being written as a partial answer to a question posed by Michael Buckland: What might be gained by reinvigorating bibliography? The question was premised on the idea that bibliography has faded into obscurity. The contrarian truth I pursue in the book and this talk is that bibliography could hardly be more integral to our intellectual and creative lives than it is now.
A mode of intellectual and cultural accounting, bibliography serves a diversity of foundational roles in the sprawling field we call information science. It only seems to have passed into obscurity because it has become so integral to our work that we do not notice how it supports what we do. I argue this while concomitantly suggesting that there is an urgent need to reinvigorate bibliography as we copy out our many scientific findings and cultural heritages using recently developed systems of reproduction. Like all infrastructures, bibliography as an idea and a constellation of material practices undertaken across the academy and beyond needs maintenance. The need for this maintenance is urgent because we are building new representational structures and systems at such an accelerated pace that we are losing track of our ability to account for what we have built and the things that our systems are producing.
Cats, Carpenters, and Accountants suggests how bibliography contributes to building and accounting for our representational structures and, if reinvigorated, how bibliography can provide a cat-like independence to critically assess not only the performance of our representational systems but also the ideologies built into and reproduced by them.
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Wayne de Fremery will be professor of information science and entrepreneurship and director of the Francoise O. Lepage Center for Global Innovation at Dominican University of California beginning in August 2022. Previously, he was an associate professor in the School of Media, Arts, and Science at Sogang University in South Korea, where he has lived for twenty years.
de Fremery currently represents the Korean National Body at ISO as convener of a working group on document description, processing languages, and semantic metadata (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 WG 9). Some of his recent research projects have concerned the digital humanities in the iSchool (JASIST, 2022), copy theory (JASIST, 2022), context, relevance, and labor (JASIST, 2022), as well as the use of deep learning to improve Korean OCR, for which he received a national citation of merit from the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
He is the author of a growing number of academic publications about bibliography and the socialization of twentieth-century Korean literary texts. In 2011, his book-length translation of poetry by Jeongrye Choi, Instances, appeared from Parlor Press. His current book project is titled Computational Bibliography and the Sociology of Data. He is also at work on a manuscript titled How Poetry Mattered in 1920s Korea. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University in east Asian languages and civilizations, a master’s in Korean studies from Seoul National University, and a bachelor’s in economics from Whitman College.