The Book and Knowledge Organization Past, Present and Future The Royal School of Information Science in Denmark, Copenhagen Master Thesis 2011-2012 By: Anne Vinkel Høier Supervisor: Karen Birgitte Phillipson Word count: 27133. Abstract



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The Book and Knowledge Organization - Past, Present and Future



The Royal School of Information Science in Denmark, Copenhagen

Master Thesis 2011-2012

By: Anne Vinkel Høier

Supervisor: Karen Birgitte Phillipson

Word count: 27133.

Abstract

This thesis engages in history of the book, to do so is to engage with humanity and with the social communication processes that have underpinned the gathering and spreading of knowledge throughout the world. The thesis primarily focuses on the development of the book as a media through time, past, present and future. However the history of the book is combined with the history of knowledge organisation as these are entwined both in their history and development. This approach is selected in order to create a clear picture of the history and the development of knowledge organisation and the book, but also to attempt a guess at the future of both. The need for knowledge organisation fueled the invention of the written word paralleled with the invention of different writing materials were developed. As a result of population expansion and new and faster wais to both produce and distribute information, knowledge became a bigger and bigger task to manage. Different systems were invented to help manage this enormous task and as new media came into existence these too were put to use. During history there is especially one media that has survived longest, both in popularity and efficiency. Since the dawn of the internet the book has experienced increased competition as a media due to the shift from physical materials to that of cyberspace. Though the book is still widely used today the monopoly it used to have is decreasing. Different wives of the definition of a book fuel a debate as to its future. Some argue that it will develop into different electronic forms, while others cling to the belief that a book solely can be in the form of papers wrapped with a cover. Though people see that the books number in its original form is decreasing they still believe that it will survive some time yet.


Index

Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………Page 2.

Index……………………………………………………………………………………………Page 3-4.

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….……...Page 5-6.

Research Questions………………………………………………………………………….…Page 6-7.

Method……………………………………………………………………………………….....Page 7-11.

Theory……………………………………………………………………………………..........Page 12-14.

The Time Before the Book…………………………………………………………………….Page 15-27.

The Beginning………………………………………………………………………………….Page 15-16.

Cuneiform……………………………………………………………………..Page 16.18.

The Hieroglyphs……………………………………………………..….........Page 19-22.

Chinese Writing…………………………………………………...…….........Page 22-24.

The Invention of the Alphabet…………………………….….………..........Page 25-26.

Knowledge Organization in the Early Days…………………...…………....Page 26-27.

The History of the Book and Knowledge Organisation up until the Electronic Age...........Page 28-42.

Books and its Keepers Before the Printing Press…………………………..Page 28-31.

The influence of the Book on society………………………………...….......Page 31-33.

Knowledge Organisation…………………………………………………….Page 33-34.

The Time of Printing…………………………………………………............Page 34-37.

The Impact of Printing on Society………………………………………….Page 37-38.

Knowledge Organisation in the Printing Age ……………………………...Page 38-41.

The Development of the Classification Systems……..…....Page 41-42.

The Book and Knowledge Organization in the Electronic Age…………………………….Page 43-48.

The Book and the New Media………….……………………………………Page 44.

The Birth and Development of the Computer………………………....…...Page 45-46.

Knowledge Organisation and the New Media………………………...……Page 46-48.

The Effect of the Electronic Age on Society………..………………………………………..Page 48.

The Book and Knowledge Organisation in the Future……………………………….……..Page 49-68.

To Adapt Or Not to Adapt...............................................................................Page 49-52.

A Shift in Generations - the Book and the Computer……………………...Page 52-56.

What is a Book - the Book vs. the E-book ……………………...……….….Page 56-59.

Writers and Readers in a Digital Future ………………..…………..……..Page 59-62.

The Book in the Future………………………………….………………..….Page 62-63.

The Future Development of the Book…………………………………....….Page 63-66.

The Book in the Future Society……………………………………………...Page 66-67.

Knowledge Organisation and Keeping in the Future……………………...Page 67-68.

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………...Page 69-70.

Literature……………………………………………………………………………………....Page 71-73.

Annex………………………………………………………………………………………...…Page 74-79.

Introduction

I have always been fascinated with history and have always loved to explore it in many different subjects so it did not take me long before realizing that my master thesis would be written using some part of history. But the process from that point and to the final subject description was long. The ideas as to a subject presented themselves during the many class discussions and literature used during them. Some of the subjects that we discussed in the class during my years at the school are the development and use of knowledge organization. It is a much debated subject in class but most of the time the discussion wouldn’t go into the details of the subject which annoyed me mainly for two reasons. One because in my opinion you cannot have a correct discussion stating something without having some of the foundation, the facts of why it is at it is. And two it has always been a frustration of mine not to know the foundation of things when expected to discuss a subject stating my opinion and presenting it to others. So these frustrations basically were what laid the ground idea for this master thesis. Another is the development or demise of the book as a media. This were and still is a topic I am interested in and loved debating but which felt like it was a debate that only scratched the surface, and never took for example the history, and other impact factors like the society and technology into account and furthermore was only discussed with people working within the LIS1 and book field. But how to decide which to use? At first thought it seemed like only one of the subjects could be used at the time, but as the investigation began the subjects were in some way connected to each other. The findings showed that during their development throughout time after the invention of the book they began to cross paths and furthermore that they had an impact on each other’s development in many different ways. The focus of this thesis will thus be the exploration of the invention and development of knowledge storage and organisation including the history of the book with the aim of disclosing their overall history and possible future. However focus on the book will be the prime theme in this paper and will also be the main focus of the discussion section. The thesis will seek to give a structured view of the most important points in the history of the written language, discussing the development of knowledge organisation and the book through the ages. During the thesis the role of society and social order will be viewed and merged with knowledge organisation and the history of books in order to present the influences these areas have on each other. The first section of the paper will contain time-line to act as a guide or “red tread” for the most important happenings in the development of the subjects above. The history section has been added to the paper in order to present a view of the historical development thus putting things into perspective. Furthermore it provides a better basis to venture some educated guesses as to the future of both the book and knowledge organisation. The first part of the paper will also be used to make references to the past in order to explain why the development is heading in the way it appears to be. Opinions from both professionals within the field of LIS as well as people outside of the field will be used as a means to guess at the future for the book and knowledge organisation especially so in the discussion of their further development or potential demise. The time-line will be viewed in detail in the method section before the chronology of the paper. The time-line is constructed by using dates for happenings in the history conducted during my research and workings with the thesis. A list of the research questions posed in the examination of the subjects of this thesis is listed below.
Research Questions

The Role of the Book and Knowledge Organisation through Time.

  1. How and why has man stored and retrieved information through time both past, present and future?

  2. What were the media of communication before the invention of the book?

C) How and why did these develop in the period leading up to the book?

  1. What is the development of the book as a media, from its making until the Computer Age and what does it mean for knowledge organization?

  2. What status does the book have in the electronic age?

  3. Has it given way for newer media, or has it simply developed into something more, coexisting within or among the other medias?

A list of secondary questions is shown below, they are added because of their relevance to the primary questions, and because it makes sense to view them together as they have an impact on the development of the subjects viewed above.

  1. Who had access to the media/knowledge in the society at the given points in time and how did this impact the social structure?

  2. What role did the making of books and later the printing press play in social hierarchy and how did this effect knowledge organisation?

  3. What impact does today’s different forms of media have on the book and knowledge organisation?

Method

Materials used in the paper

The materials used entails books, newspapers, magazines, internet pages and interviews on the subjects of book history, information history and technological evolution. Furthermore an ask sub-survey is conducted and combined these will form the foundation of knowledge used in the paper. Opinions from both people within the LIS and outside along with my own personal will be presented in the discussion section.


Discussion

Discussions on the development of the book through time and its impact will be described and discussed seen from opposing fronts. To enable a larger perspective on the views in our time, the quantitative research model will be used in the form of an ask sub-survey. This is done in order to get different views of opinions from people not working within the field of LIS. The ask sub-survey will be anonymous and will contain questions on what the book is, whether or not is has developed into something more, what people think of the new technologies and whether or not the book will survive in the future. Questions on the age, gender and work relations will be asked in order to determine how far the sub-survey has reached. In the discussion the different views on what makes a book a book will be described and debated. Furthermore guesses and opinions from different parties will be presented in order to discuss the survival of the book – Will it develop into something new or disappear entirely in the future? The last section will venture a guess at the future development of knowledge organisation based on information conducted during the phases of its history.


The Selection of Questions in the Ask Sub-Survey

To get a picture of who answered the ask sub-survey, questions about gender, age, profession and nationality are asked. This is also to ensure that the survey reaches as broad an audience as possible. Questions about research habits are asked to find out where they go to find answers and in which sequence they do this seen according to the different options available today. Then questions about reading habits are asked to get an idea of whether gender, age, work profession and nationality have anything to say when it comes to reading habits. After these questions the ask sub-survey moves on to discuss the book as a media and whether or not the book is dying out or has developed into something other than pages wrapped in a cover. At the end the participants are ask to weigh in on the new reading media they are an improvement or a turn for the worse. These questions are formed to create as broad a perspective on the discussion about the book as possible and to get a different angle on the subject other than the statements of professionals and academics.


Time-line

To provide t a better view of the historical part and not get lost in all the years

presented to you during the paper, the time-line below present the most important

points in history described in detail in the first section. It also shows

the organisational process in which I have written the paper.
32000 – 30000 B.C. Cave wall paintings of for example bison and rhinos that cover

cave walls at Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc in southern France.



3300 B.C. Mesopotamians write in cuneiform on clay tablets using pictograms. The oldest dated clay tablet found.

3200 B.C. The Bronze Age begins.

3100 B.C. Hieroglyphs become popular in Egypt.

2900 B.C. The object symbols in cuneiform is replaced with a system of straight lines.

1500 B.C. The Phoenicians invent their alphabet.

1200 B.C. The oldest known Chinese writing is recorded on shells and bones.

1100-800 B.C. The Phoenician alphabet is widely used around the Mediterranean.

800 B.C. The Greek alphabet is constructed by using parts of the Phoenician alphabet.

750 B.C. The Roman alphabet eventually evolves from the alphabet brought with the Greek on their travels.

213 B.C. The Chinese refine a system of writing.

39 B.C. The first Roman public library is opened.

105 A.D. Ts’ai Lun invents writing paper.

300 A.D. The Romans replace rolled up parchment with the codex.

500 A.D. The first monasteries are created.

600-700 A.D. Paper spreads to Korea and Japan.

634 A.D The Arabs conquer Egypt and cut off the West’s supply of papyrus.

800 A.D. Vikings launch attacks on England.

868 A.D The Chinese print their “Diamond Sutra”.

1100 Paper arrives in Europe. The Monasteries monopoly on books starts to waver.

1041 The Chinese invent a form of movable type, but don’t use it much.

1456 Johann Gutenberg prints the first copy of his bible using movable type.

1600 - 1700 The Golden Age of libraries.

1605 Francis Bacon invents the Classification System.

1800 The steam powered press is invented.

1814 The flat printing press is invented.

1847-1876 John Edmund's Classification System is invented and was later improved and expanded by William Frederick Poole.

1862 The Rotating press is invented.

1867 The Typewriter is invented.

1876 The Melvil Dewey Classification System is invented.

1897 Herbert Putnam’s Classification System is invented.

1939 - 1945 The computer takes form. 1961 “The International Conference on Principles for Cataloging" (ICCP) is held in Paris.

1970 The first word processor is sold.

1971 The first e-book is said to have been made by a man called Michael S. Hart by typing the US Declaration of Independence into a computer.

1977 The first personal computers are sold.

1990 The establishment of “IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records” (FRBR).

1992-1993 F. Crugnola and I. Rigamonti design and create the first e-book reader, called Incipit, as a thesis project at the Politecnico di Milano.

2003 Scientists make advances in the invention of e-paper.

2007 Amazon launches Kindle 2 available for the whole world.

2010 Apple releases the iPad with an e-book application called iBooks.
Chronology of the Thesis:

The introduction to this paper will besides making a short introduction to the whole paper also provide the reader with a time-line. This is create a better overview of the events in history, which will be described later in the paper and to offer a means to get back on track if the dates get confusing. The dates listed in the time-line are important for the overall perspective of the history of the book as well as knowledge organisation ‒ These events are milestones indicating important developments in history which should help provide a red tread of the paper.

The first section of the paper after the introduction is a more in-depth account of history before the book, where the most influential parts of writing and the effect of these will be described. This is written to give a sense of what led to the invention of the book. Because there are so many different written languages only the ones deemed most important for the development of the written languages are described. Within this section the invention of the alphabet will be viewed as a section on its own as the invention of the alphabet is one of the key stages in what later becomes the most used form of writing today and possibly in the future. The knowledge organisation of the time will also be viewed separately for two primary reasons: 1) Because knowledge organisation maybe the main reason for why we started using the written language in the first place and so has a key position in enabling us to grasp the development of the written language, the book and other medias as well as a general understanding of why we have the social structure we have today. And 2) it is presented this way to make it more convenient to refer to later in the discussion.

The next section of the paper will be telling the tale of the book from the early days and up until the Electronic Age. The results and impact of the book and the innovating printing press will be viewed especially in correlation to the structure of society in the given time periods, primarily focusing on Europe. In this first part of the paper storing, organisation and retrieval of knowledge through time will be viewed at the end of each era in order to keep a historical structure in the paper and because as mentioned above, it is a key element for understanding their history. Furthermore this section will contain a very describing written form following the ages up through time until we came to the time. This is done both to enable the reader to know the history of the subject, but also because to understand the past of things can enable one to better comprehend and give qualified guesses to what might happen in the future. Finally some of the data from this section will be used to underline arguments made later in the discussion.

The next part of the paper will describe the latest history of the book and knowledge organisation in the electronic age. In this the books competition with the other media will be viewed, especially the battle with the computer and later the internet. Furthermore because both the books and the knowledge organisation development are tied closely to the computer, there is a larger section about the invention of the computer than the other new media. The last part of this section explains the impact the technological world has on society and closes the history part of the paper.

The last part of the paper will contain a discussion of the above combined with opinions from different parties attempting to predict the future of the book. The Base for the discussion is the material conducted throughout the work and research process, together with conversations and the ask sub-survey.



Theory

Quantitative Research Model

The quantitative research is about describing behavior in the form of models, contexts, and numerical expressions as accurately as possible.Dabei werden im allgemeinen aus einer Befragung oder Beobachtung einer möglichst großen und repräsentativen Zufallsstichprobe mit Hilfe von Methoden wie zB der die zahlenmäßigen Ausprägungen eines oder mehrerer bestimmter Merkmale gemessen. It will generally consist of a survey or observation of a possible large and representative sample using methods such as the postal survey with questionnaires or the interview quantitative measure of the numerical characteristics of one or more specific traits. Diese Messwerte werden miteinander oder mit anderen Variablen in Beziehung gesetzt und die Ergebnisse dann auf die Grundgesamtheit generalisiert. These measured values ​​are together or with other variables to be related and the results are then generalised to the population. Often a predetermined hypothesis is checked against the data. Häufig wird auch eine vorher festgelegte Hypothese anhand der Daten überprüft.Der Informationsgewinn besteht bei quantitativen Methoden in der Datenreduktion.The information gain is in quantitative methods of data reduction. Um gleiche Voraussetzungen für die Entstehung der Messwerte innerhalb einer Studie zu gewährleisten sind die quantitativen Methoden meist vollstandardisiert und strukturiert, dh jeder Befragte bekommt möglichst exakt die gleichen Voraussetzungen bei der Beantwortung der Fragen (also gleicher Wortlaut, gleiche Reihenfolge, gleiche Bewertungsskala etc.), um die Aussagen der Befragten untereinander vergleichbar zu machen bzw. jeder Beobachter bekommt das gleiche Beobachtungsschema. To ensure equal conditions for the emergence of the measured values ​​within a study, the quantitative methods are usually fully standardised and structured, so that everyone who gets interviewed has exactly the same conditions when answering the questions. To make the statements of respondents comparable with each other, each observer gets the same observation schedule.2


Qualitative Research Model

The qualitative research is a type of scientific research that in general terms consists of an investigation that:


a) seeks answers to a question, b) systematically uses a predefined set of procedures to answer the question, b) collects evidence, c) produces findings that were not determined in advance, and d) produces findings that are applicable beyond the immediate boundaries of the study.”3
Qualitative research seeks to understand a given research problem or topic from the perspectives of the local population in the respective area. Qualitative research is especially effective in obtaining culturally specific information such as values, opinions, behaviors, and social contexts of particular populations. The strength of qualitative research is its ability to provide complex textual descriptions of how people experience a given research issue. It gives information about the general population’s side of an issue. It often shows the contradictory behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and relationships of individuals. Qualitative methods are furthermore effective in identifying intangible factors like social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, which role in the research problem may not be that apparent.4
When used along with quantitative methods, qualitative research can help us to interpret and better understand the complex reality of a given situation and the implications of quantitative data.” 5
Findings however from qualitative data can often contain the same characteristics that are very similar to those in the study population, which enables one to gain a rich and complex understanding of a specific social context or phenomenon that often takes precedence over eliciting data that can be generalised to other geographical areas or populations. 6
The Use of the Theory in the Paper

The quantitative research model is used in the form of retrieving information on the subject in general but is also used as a base for constructing an ask sub-survey. The survey seeks to understand the general population on the subject of the book. Furthermore the survey will entail some part of the qualitative research model.



As said above the ask sub-survey is made from a combination of the qualitative and quantitative models. This is evident in the form of the questions, but also by the way it enables new information about the subject to surface, which enables a better and broader perspective on the matter. The questions in the ask sub-survey combine the qualitative method that mostly ask open-ended questions that are not necessarily worded in the same way with each participant. The open ended questions enable the participants to freely respond in their own words. In this ask sub-survey it is used by asking the participant to explain the answers beyond just answering yes or no. The quantitative part of the ask sub survey will be looked upon after the sub-survey has been answered. To get a perspective on the different perspectives of specific groups in terms of for example age and whether or not this dictates how many books you read or where you go first if you seek an answer to a question. To get the sampling to the ask sub-survey a few different approaches will be used. First and for most my personal network will be used to get into contact with different age groups, nationalities and professions. This form of sampling is called the “snowball approach” also known as “chain referral sampling”. The other sampling method used is the “quota sampling”, which involves making a decision about how many people with which characteristics is to be included as participants in the ask sub-survey. Characteristics might include age, place of residence, gender, class, profession and so on.7

The Time Before the Book

The Beginning In the beginning of time, when man first began to form groups that lived and worked together to form an early version of our modern day society, the use of storytelling or the telling of stories was the primary means of communicating. Thus telling stories lies at the heart of human communication and is found in all societies and cultures through the ages. Human kind has always told stories, and in the early days it is through story that knowledge, information, meaning and wisdom was passed on from person to person and from generation to generation. From the beginning of time the ability and skill to process, decode, pass on, and utilize knowledge and through that information has been highly prized, individuals possessing these abilities had great power and often had a high rank in the social structure. They were often called upon to judge, heal, inform or even entertain, the oral cultures called these people Shamans, witchdoctors, sages, and storytellers. Later the written cultures called upon the scribes and philosophers to preserve and interpret human thought and activity and in today’s society we still have people who are specifically skilled in gathering and utilizing information in both oral and written form. Often these people have some of the same functions as the shamans and storytellers of old, only we call them something different like spin doctors, information officers, journalists and so on.8

One of the earliest means of communication was through paintings, for example cave paintings of bison and rhinos dating from between 32.000 B.C. To 30.000 B.C. that cover cave walls at Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc in southern France (See picture to the right).9 Other examples of cave art also includes symbols but no one knows what they mean exactly, experts guess that it could be the symbol of the animal painted or could have a meaning like “this place is safe”. Some say that the cave paintings could be a way of storing knowledge in form of a painted message but it is not considered to be a form of writing. In every part of the world the recording of history begins with the written language.10 Over time a lot of different written languages have been invented, some of them lost to us, however others have survived and through these recordings the past is revealed to us. In the next section of the paper we will take look at the most widespread written systems and the materials used to document them. This will reveal the constant development in the written cultures of the various societies as well as the consequences and effects of some of the decisions made by ancient people.



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