Information Access Seminar

Innovation and Relevance: Toward a Theory of the Problems

Friday, September 29, 2023
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm PDT

Wayne de Fremery

Relevance is a central concern in information science. Innovation is central to theories of economic competitiveness and prosperity. Yet, like relevance, innovation is difficult to categorize and measure.

Widely used metrics for innovation are acknowledged to be problematic. Although acknowledged to have many limitations, patent applications, for example, are frequently used as a proxy measure for innovation when describing a particular firm, industry, or region. Alternative metrics for innovation have been widely used, such as investment in research and development. Newer measures are emerging, such as measures for assessing eco-innovation. Relevance has been formulated in a similarly wide variety of ways — objective relevance, subjective relevance, situational relevance — to name only a few. Widely used relevance metrics are likewise acknowledged to be problematic.

This presentation will explore the possibility that conceptions of innovation and relevance as they have been formulated in the economic and information science literature respectively share a central theoretical challenge. It will suggest that a theory of the problems presented by the concepts in their respective fields can be more clearly articulated by contextualizing theories of relevance in information science with theories of innovation in the business and economic literature.

This seminar will be held both online & in person. You are welcome to join us either in South Hall or via Zoom.

For online participants

Online participants must have a Zoom account and be logged in. Sign up for your free account here. If this is your first time using Zoom, please allow a few extra minutes to download and install the browser plugin or mobile app.

Join the seminar online

Wayne de Fremery is a professor of information science and entrepreneurship and director of the Francoise O. Lepage Center for Global Innovation at Dominican University of California. 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.

He 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.

Wayne de Fremery
Wayne de Fremery


If you have questions about this event, please contact Michael Buckland.

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Michael Buckland
Michael Buckland
Professor Emeritus

Last updated:

September 27, 2023