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Sanctuary: an institutional vision for the digital age

Tim Gorichanaz (College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 27 July 2020

Issue publication date: 24 December 2020




Trends in information technology and contemplative practices compel us to consider the intersections of information and contemplation. The purpose of this paper is to consider these intersections at the level of institutions.


First, the notion of institution is defined and discussed, along with information institutions and contemplative institutions. Next, sanctuary is proposed and explored as a vision for institutions in the digital age.


Sanctuary is a primordial human institution that has especial urgency in the digital age. This paper develops an info-contemplative framework for sanctuaries, including the elements: stability, silence, refuge, privacy and reform.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual paper that, though guided by prior empirical and theoretical work, would benefit from application, validation and critique. This paper is meant as a starting point for discussions of institutions for the digital age.

Practical implications

As much as this paper is meant to prompt further research, it also provides guidance and inspiration for professionals to infuse their work with aspects of sanctuary and be attentive to the tensions inherent in sanctuary.


This paper builds on discourse at the intersection of information studies and contemplative studies, also connecting this with recent work on information institutions.



Gorichanaz, T. (2021), "Sanctuary: an institutional vision for the digital age", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 77 No. 1, pp. 1-17.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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