The Spatial Dimension of Blogging…

05Feb08

I’m still trying to figure out an easy way to post some of my more graphic-oriented thoughts and ideas on this blog. Without cracking the CSS of WordPress or some other more technical means, I’m looking for ideas and suggestions. I thought about posting the pictures, but at some point I’d hit my limit of space on this site. Any suggestions or ideas out there in the blogosphere?

Speaking of the sphere again, I’m still stuck in this geometric and mathematical mind pit of wrapping my head around the spatial organization of knowledge and information (computerized, digitized, or other formats). I started thinking about outlines, graphing, and the whole sense-making of information-as-knowledge in some required readings; and I make sense of a lot of information in more graphical forms. There’s a visual component to this, but mostly I’d have to see it’s graphical. And that led me back to the geometrical quandary I’m in now. Think of it this way, I’m posting these thoughts on the WORLD Wide Web. From the start there’s a global, spherical aspect to negotiate; and there is also the networking diagram – a sphere within a sphere. OK, before I get stuck in some kind of weird mind play I’ll leave this alone for now…but I will keep coming back to this over the near future as I try to map out my ulterior motives on some of this shaky intellectual terrain.

Information-as-Thing, revisited

According to the literature in the information sciences field (and I’m definitely not an authoritative source…yet) information is a malleable concept. I can live with this, and perhaps this is why Michael Buckland’s ideas resonate so well with where I’m at in my thinking (there’s that geo-creep again). In my understanding of this, information is a container – we can argue about this over simplification if you’d like, but I’m thinking that whatever is the motor of that thing called information is at some inseparable level indistinct from its contents. That which is conveyed and how become linked. Admittedly, I’m stealing a lot of Marshall McLuhan here in making some of these connections. And for all you philosophers out there (or are you in there?), at what point does the object become the subject and vice versa in this bizarre intellectual burrito I’m creating? Just some food for thought.

Anyway, I digress again. Information is a tangible entity, according to Buckland, as a thing. I wracked my brain for two days trying to recall a special edition of articles discussing thing-ness, and I finally found it. Courtesy of JStor, Critical Inquiry several years ago put out an issue dealing with “things.” Maybe this is why information-as-thing seemed like a comfortable idea to me. Perhaps it just fits in with where I think I’m heading – in terms of my KM/IT interests. It’s a melting pot-as-thing kind of project at this point…stick around for the ride; it will be bumpy – but hopefully interesting.

A strange idea came up in class last night, and before I forget it completely I’m going to stick it here. Buckland’s model of understanding information is based on a standard (dare I say Cartesian?) model of quadrants. It works for his four general categories of information – or species. Thinking outside of the bun, however, what if you arrange his parts in terms of circles or cogs as overlapping possibilities that evade pigeonholing in the tabular format his original theory provides. What you’re left with is a PoMo amorphous blob…or is that blog? And then there’s String Theory…

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