Exploring the interdisciplinary vocabularies of information research
We recognize that language is active and continuously changing in response to social and historical conditions (Williams, 1976). The purpose of this project is to bring Raymond Williams’s (1976) discussion of keywords into current conversations of information science research so that we may explore the interdisciplinary vocabularies that thread (Bates, 1999) our various interests together. Exploring the linguistic traces (Derrida as cited in Novitz, 1985) of our terminologies will enable us to uncover the rules of our respective language games (Wittgenstein, 1953), thereby allowing us to engage in productive interplay with the worldviews (Creswell, 2014) that govern our approaches to research. Engaging in such investigations will not only allow us to better appreciate the benefits of collaboration, creating new and necessary avenues for learning and communication (Feinberg, 2012), but it will also reveal the substrate (Bates, 1999) of our own hidden biases and assumptions that often manifest in the ways we choose to map meaning from one domain to another. It is important to remember the way language itself is a technology. Before we can effectively understand the relationships between people, technology, and information, we must begin by understanding how the technology of language structures our relationships as researchers of information.
We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped make the iWords workshop at the 2018 iConference a success! In the half-day we spent together we enjoyed many thought-provoking conversations about the role language plays in our conceptualizations of information research. We were able to creatively and critically consider the practical implications that stem from the use of different vocabularies in our communications with individuals within and beyond the information field. We would especially like to thank our guest panelists, Dr. Vivien Petras, Dr. Jenna Hartel, and Dr. Rachel Ivy Clarke, for their insightful contributions. We will be posting more details about our ongoing inquiry into interdisciplinarity, identity, and language in the months to follow, so for those of you who are interested in learning more about the project, stay tuned!
Our visual presentation will take the form of an interactive poster, providing a graphic representation of our work to date as well as engaging the ASIS&T community in a word dice activity designed to provoke reflection and discussion of how language shapes our understanding of the information field.