Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Volume 38: 2004

Karin McGuirk (University of South Africa, Pretoria, South

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 October 2004




McGuirk, K. (2004), "Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Volume 38: 2004", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 448-448.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Blaise Cronin is the ideal editor for such a collection of research contributions, encompassing all aspects of information science. The twelve chapters are divided into three sections of theory, technology, and policy. The target audience includes information science and technology professionals, librarians, students, and those from other disciplines. Some contributors are academic researchers in fields other than information science. Cronin points out that authors will always be included from the core and the edge to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of information science, as well as the broadening of its horizons. Also reflected by the list of contributors are the different approaches to information science within institutions. The chapters share a common concern with the inconsistency, terminological imprecision and ambiguity dominating the literature. The chapters are a road map for piloting such a “solid body” of terminological confusion. The first section, “Theory”, starts with Van House's skilful examination of the vast literature of science and technology studies. From this domain information science has started to source models, frameworks and insights. Rogers offers a systematic critique of the mixed theory base of human‐computer interaction. It should interest a broad audience internal and external to information science. In the conclusion Ellis et al. directly address the confusion in the literature relating to notions of community. This relates to the appropriation of concepts of community by research conducted into online networks, electronic forums, and virtual communities. This underscores the importance of conceptual clarity and definitional consistency. Regarding current theoretical and applied developments in accessing and retrieving information, the chapters in the second section, “Technology”, provide a rich sense of the challenges faced by the information retrieval research community. The first chapter by Dumais offers an exposition of latent semantic analysis. This chapter also fits into the first section on social theory. Bour‐Ilan evaluates search engine performance; Chen and Chau discuss web mining. Bath attends to data mining and knowledge discovery in medical databases, and Smeaton concludes with digital image retrieval. The third section, “Policy”, also refers to aspects of ICTs, the Web, digital objects, and the Internet and publishing. In the dominion of information policy, punditry and advocacy co‐exist with the results of empirical research. Robbin et al. view the role and potential contribution of ICTs to political life as nonsense rather than “cold logic”. Burrell and Oppenheim emphasise terminological imprecision and demonstrate that free speech is essential to democratic order. They indicate the legal complexity of notions of free speech in context of the Internet and World Wide Web. Galloway's review on digital preservation attends to the differences between emulation, serial conversion, and migration, and the notions of integrity and preservation metadata standards. The final contribution by Kling is not a policy contribution, but his examination of heterogeneous publishing practices, norms, and policies, assists in shaping emergent practices in the scholarly communication “ecosystem”. The point of departure is the semantic confusion surrounding the term “preprint”, from which follows an analysis of some of the popular assumptions about current developments in electronic publishing and posting. The comprehensive and detailed index enhances the value and use of the contributions.

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