Dilemmas in information science (IS) and information retrieval (IR): recurring challenges or new solutions?

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Title: Dilemmas in information science (IS) and information retrieval (IR): recurring challenges or new solutions?
Authors: Thornley, Clare V.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3605
Date: 2009
Online since: 2012-05-10T15:10:12Z
Abstract: Purpose: This paper analyses the extent to which understanding IS and IR as disciplines characterised by intractable dilemmas is a useful conceptual framework through reviewing and re-evaluating an important contribution to the field (Neill, 1987, 1992) in light of more recent developments. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reviews the discussion of central dilemmas within information science (IS) and information retrieval (IR), through literature review and conceptual analysis. It assesses the extent to which they remain intractable problems or whether improved solutions have been developed and discusses the implications of these ongoing challenges. The main problem addressed is, in Neill’s (1987, 1992) terminology “the dilemma of the subjective in information organisation and retrieval” which is understood as the problem of how the meaning of documents can be represented to meet the needs of the user. Findings: Many of the dilemmas discussed within IS and IR remain fairly intractable primarily because information and meaning have both subjective and objective qualities which often have a complex relationship. Recent technological developments have, however, altered the nature of some of these dilemmas and also created some new dilemmas for the subject. Research implications/limitations: Historical perspectives within IR and IS should be used when discussing theoretical and technological developments in the subject. The conceptual framework of dilemmas remains a useful theoretical tool for IS and IR in terms of examining the nature of problems in research and practice. Originality/value: This paper re-visits an important theme in IS and IR and provides an updated perspective on some central issues.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Emerald
Journal: Aslib Proceedings
Volume: 61
Issue: 3
Start page: 323
End page: 330
Copyright (published version): Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Keywords: Information scienceInformation retrievalPhilosophyConceptual dilemmasInformation theoryHistory of information science
Subject LCSH: Information retrieval
Information science
Information theory
DOI: 10.1108/00012530910959853
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Information and Communication Studies Research Collection

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