Categories of elitism and alienation

INN533 – Information Organisation

WEEK EIGHT: Reflections on classification and cataloguing.

Major cataloguing schema like AACR2, ISBD, RDA, FRBR, DDC, and LCC are incredibly complex and opaque.

Herbert Marcuse referred to a process of subjecting all discourse to the logics and purposes of organisations in a ‘historical continuum of domination’ (1991, p. 171) in which technocratic organisational behaviors, including professional praxis, are imbued with the faux objectivity of science and the ideology of progress that nevertheless excludes ends not compatible with contemporary Western political economy (pp. 147-166).
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Everything is political economy, stupid!

Shirky, C. (2005). Ontology is overrated: Categories, links, and tags. Retrieved from

If only I had read Shirky before I finished my INN533 blog for week six (Master of IT course).  I would have found the language to avoid talking about political economy while talking about it!

Shirky’s summary of ontological and phenomenological problems in information categorization is so close to that bizarre moment when I was confronted by a lecturer in information management. discussing the nature of information and how it is interpreted, who dismissed my point that there is an entire academic discipline devoted to examining how meaning is constructed and derived – semiotics – with the simple statement: ‘Yes, but I’m a professional’.  Clearly professionals have no use for knowledge or wisdom that doesn’t fit their own narrow disciplines.

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