Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2013 01:45:20 -0400
From: Marcia J. Bates <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: People, Information, Technology

To Gretchen et al.:

Comments on the discussion to this point:

Documentation of technical specifications is one use of the term, but not the 
use that was meant.  Documentation was a movement, most notably associated with 
Suzanne Briet (see description at Michael Buckland's website).  The idea was to 
collect and manage (and theorize about) the documentation of scientific and 
related activities--kind of a more intensive technical special librarianship.

Should be people, not users, because the research on information behavior or 
practices is about all people, not just people who "use" a particular 

Should be "Information technology," not just "technology."  A shovel, an arrow, 
an electrical transformer--these are all technologies, but are not information 

Regarding ASIST: The "and technology" is not the latest change. Sounds like you 
didn't notice that ASIST changed its name to Association for Information 
Science and Technology.

I was one of the ones talking up the three-part Venn diagram idea as long ago 
as the ASIST mid-year conference in Portland, Oregon--1991 or 1992?  Dan Atkins 
of Michigan pushed it al lot, and I don't know how many other people in the 
iSchool world.

However, now that the concept has become so popular at iSchools and 
iConferences, I think we are at risk of forgetting that the key term in the 
threesome is "information."  That, after all, is the one of those three terms 
of the Venn diagram that appears in the name of the field "information 
science."  A lot  of other fields deal with people and with information 
technology.   Only ours deals with information collection, storage, 
organization, retrieval, and use, as well as information management and 
information policy.   Information is so pervasive in society that even we 
forget sometimes that the core of understanding of its role in people's lives 
and in information institutions still resides in our field.

Please also see my speech, given at the ALISE, 2012 conference, which is posted 
at my website, titled "The Information Professions: Knowledge, Memory, 
Heritage." I 
talk a lot in there about the several information disciplines and what 
characterizes them.

Marcia J. Bates, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Editor, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 3rd Ed.
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520 USA
Tel: 510-526-1049