Cross-Discipline Study

10 04 2008

In an online chat with my 5053 class I felt the need to keep referring to material outside of the LIS field to back up my points. The reference that lost everybody was when I referenced Ellul and his perennial favourite, The Technological Society. The book is a little hard to get through and Ellul is wrong in some places but, I still like it- a lot. It sort of predicts the Googlization of Everything, the factors that would arise to cause a need for open source, creative commons, copy left, etc. Mind you, he wrote this in 1967.
All that is just a long winded segue or rational behind me bemoaning the fact that there is no cross-discipline course(s) offered in the LIS program here at OU. Every academic, I hope, has heard, maybe even danced to, cross-discipline’s greatest hits; social psychology, (socio)cultural anthropology, sociolinguistics even theosophy (just for fun). Many of the early models of information we studied borrowed heavily from communications models and theory. That there is no cross-disciplinary tradition feels counterintuitive. Perhaps I will opt for an independent study as I get closer to the end of this program and there I will study across disciplines. Then I can stop whining, probably.

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1066 & Arthur Rimbaud

22 02 2008

My group of friends and I used to have a bourgie (see #2) quiz we made up to see if/how bourgie one was. I don’t recall all of the questions on said quiz but I do remember one fairly well. The idea was to say the phrase, with some gesticulation, “It has a certain, how the French say, I don’t know what,” and if one got that the phrase was a joke, they were bourgie. Further, if one got it because they thought the phrase ‘je ne sais quoi’ could be used, they might be bourgie. But if they laughed because they knew the humour arose from a double entendre, they were bourgie bourg, or bourgcore. (Of course the joke is a double entendre. Je ne sais quoi literally means, “I don’t know what.”)
The other questions were of the same ilk. Questions about useless, pretentious (there may be an argument made that all pretentious knowledge is useless) knowledge that no one knows unless they have had all their basic needs met for the duration of their lives. It wasn’t mean spirited or elitist, believe it or not, just a way to probe each other’s depths of bourgitude. The ironic part was that to be bourgie was not cool, but to think of a question that would show someone’s bourgitude was. Is that ironic or just hypocritical? Anyway, I thought of this when thinking about reference interviews in one of Lester’s papers on Information Behaviour Systems.

A lot of the systems we have been studying have accounted for affective/cultural/geographic/temporal effects on information behaviour. I think it may be interesting to take the reference interview sociologically or social psychology-ly. That is, look for human dispensations of reference interviews between people in everyday settings, social settings, and how patterns may arise within cohort groups. I am familiar with the research that has been done in the area I am describing, but I do not recall any that has approached the “getting to know” aspect of human interaction as a reference interview.

PS, here’s an update on the funding for the presidential race frontrunners with the bold being Obama and the italic being McCain. Six of the top ten contributors to each campaign were the same. Those are reprinted here.

Citigroup Inc $221,578
Citigroup Inc $153,362

Credit Suisse Group $118,250
Credit Suisse Group $65,000

Goldman Sachs $421,763
Goldman Sachs $85,252

JP Morgan Chase & Co $243,848
JP Morgan Chase & Co $65,485

Lehman Brothers $250,630
Lehman Brothers $63,450

Morgan Stanley $155,196
Morgan Stanley $55,701