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Hierarchies of action: a concept for library and information science

Hierarchies of action: a concept for library and information science Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to bring the concept of a “hierarchy of action”, as it is currently being used in other fields, into library and information science (LIS). Design/methodology/approach – Hierarchy theory is adopted to describe three hierarchies of action, which include the human processes of semantic and social innovation, as well as a system of biological interpretence, from which human processes are thought to have evolved as a development of biosemiosis in nature. By way of example, it is argued that a text is a complex achievement, and hierarchy theory shows how to account for this complexity; the everyday definition of “text” is augmented with accounts from different levels of observation. Findings – The concept of a hierarchy of action enables a person to account for a text as a meaning/symbolic product; include in that account the processes whereby texts are produced and used; and say why these processes are important to the health of the biosphere that is called home. Originality/value – “Hierarchy of action” has been developed as a concept in biology and ecology; it belongs to a way of thinking whereby human reality, like nature, is construed as dynamical processes operating in symbiotic relationship with each other; it has not yet been adopted in LIS with reference to hierarchy theory and its potential is yet to be explored. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Documentation Emerald Publishing

Hierarchies of action: a concept for library and information science

Journal of Documentation , Volume 67 (4): 15 – Jul 26, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/00220411111145052
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to bring the concept of a “hierarchy of action”, as it is currently being used in other fields, into library and information science (LIS). Design/methodology/approach – Hierarchy theory is adopted to describe three hierarchies of action, which include the human processes of semantic and social innovation, as well as a system of biological interpretence, from which human processes are thought to have evolved as a development of biosemiosis in nature. By way of example, it is argued that a text is a complex achievement, and hierarchy theory shows how to account for this complexity; the everyday definition of “text” is augmented with accounts from different levels of observation. Findings – The concept of a hierarchy of action enables a person to account for a text as a meaning/symbolic product; include in that account the processes whereby texts are produced and used; and say why these processes are important to the health of the biosphere that is called home. Originality/value – “Hierarchy of action” has been developed as a concept in biology and ecology; it belongs to a way of thinking whereby human reality, like nature, is construed as dynamical processes operating in symbiotic relationship with each other; it has not yet been adopted in LIS with reference to hierarchy theory and its potential is yet to be explored.

Journal

Journal of DocumentationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 26, 2011

Keywords: Hierarchy theory; Complexity theory; Process philosophy; Natural philosophy; Hierarchies of action; Complex systems; Libraries; Information science

References