To be or not to be (embodied): That is not the question

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two articles in a recent special issue on Information and the Body published in the journal Library Trends stand out because of the way they are identifying, albeit indirectly, a formidable challenge to library information science (LIS). In her contribution, Bates warns that understanding information behavior demands recognizing and studying “any one important element of the ecology [in which humans are embedded].” Hartel, on the other hand, suggests that LIS would not lose much but would have lots to gain by focusing on core LIS themes instead of embodied information, since the latter may be unproductive, as LIS scholars are “latecomer[s] to a mature research domain.” I would argue that LIS as a discipline cannot avoid dealing with those pesky mammals aka patrons or users; like the cognate discipline and “community of communities” human computer interaction (HCI), LIS needs the interdisciplinarity to succeed. LIS researchers are uniquely positioned to help bring together LIS's deep understanding of “information” and embodiment perspectives that may or may not have been developed in other disciplines. LIS researchers need to be more explicit about what their original contribution is, though, and what may have been appropriated from other disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-117
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences

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