Theoretical development of information science: A brief history

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This paper presents a brief history of information science (IS) as viewed by the author. The term ‘information science’ goes back to 1955 and evolved in the aftermath of Claude Shannon’s ‘information theory’ (1948), which also inspired research into problems in fields of library science and documentation. These subjects were a main focus of what became established as ‘information science’, which from 1964 onwards was often termed ‘library and information science’ (LIS). However, the usefulness of Shannon’s information theory as the theoretical foundation of the field was been challenged. Among the strongest “paradigms” in the field is a tradition derived from the Cranfield experiments in the 1960s and the bibliometric research following the publication of Science Citation Index from 1963 and forward. Among the competing theoretical frameworks, ‘the cognitive view’ became influential from the 1970s. Today information science is very fragmented, but a growing number of researchers find that the problems in the field should be related to theories of knowledge and understood from a social and cultural perspective, thereby re-establishing connections with idea’s such as social epistemology which may have remained implicit in in the field much of the time.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages70
Publication statusSubmitted - 2017

Bibliographical note

Denne artikel er kun publiceret som manuskript på nettet. En omarbejdet version er publiceret som Library and Information Science (LIS), Part 1+2 I Knowledge Organization i 2018, 45(3): 232-254 + 45(4): 319-338.
DOI:10.5771/0943-7444-2018-3-232 +

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