Cataloguing, knowledge and power

Cridford, Thomas J. Cataloguing, knowledge and power. Journal of Radical Librarianship, 2019, vol. 5, pp. 61-83.

This paper seeks to unpick the changing perceptions of the concepts contained in its title and investigate some of the relationships between them. It does this by exploring the history of modern cataloguing from the mid 1800s to the present day. It is argued that over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries cataloguing developments took place predominantly in the library world and, understood through the principles of European Enlightenment thought, catalogues were perceived to provide the public with access to external knowledge and thus empower them. It then identifies technological, cultural and ideological developments in the twentieth century, notably the rise of ‘postmodernism’, as challenges to both the primacy of library catalogues and the tradition of Enlightenment thought within which they were conceived. Finally, it argues that corporate digital companies are now at the forefront of cataloguing and explores the way in which the public have become the subject of these catalogues. Drawing upon Foucauldian theory, it is suggested that rather than allowing knowledge and power to flow to the public these catalogues enable corporate and government bodies to hold it over the public and use it to influence their lives in unprecedented ways.

Source :

The Definition of Reuse

van de Sandt, Stephanie, et al. 2019. « The Definition of Reuse ». Data Science Journal, 18: 22, pp. 1–19. (Crossref), doi:10.5334/dsj-2019-022

The ability to reuse research data is now considered a key benefit for the wider research community. Researchers of all disciplines are confronted with the pressure to share their research data so that it can be reused. The demand for data use and reuse has implications on how we document, publish and share research in the first place, and, perhaps most importantly, it affects how we measure the impact of research, which is commonly a measurement of its use and reuse. It is surprising that research communities, policy makers, etc. have not clearly defined what use and reuse is yet.

We postulate that a clear definition of use and reuse is needed to establish better metrics for a comprehensive scholarly record of individuals, institutions, organizations, etc. Hence, this article presents a first definition of reuse of research data. Characteristics of reuse are identified by examining the etymology of the term and the analysis of the current discourse, leading to a range of reuse scenarios that show the complexity of today’s research landscape, which has been moving towards a data-driven approach. The analysis underlines that there is no reason to distinguish use and reuse. We discuss what that means for possible new metrics that attempt to cover Open Science practices more comprehensively. We hope that the resulting definition will enable a better and more refined strategy for Open Science.

Source : 10.5334/dsj-2019-022