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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2017

Jo Bates

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to further develop Paul Edwards’ concept of “data friction” by examining the socio-material forces that are shaping data…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to further develop Paul Edwards’ concept of “data friction” by examining the socio-material forces that are shaping data movements in the cases of research data and online communications data, second, to articulate a politics of data friction, identifying the interrelated infrastructural, socio-cultural and regulatory dynamics of data friction, and how these are contributing to the constitution of social relations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a hermeneutic review of the literature on socio-material factors influencing the movement of digital data between social actors in the cases of research data sharing and online communications data. Parallels between the two cases are identified and used to further develop understanding of the politics of “data friction” beyond the concept’s current usage within the Science Studies literature.

Findings

A number of overarching parallels are identified relating to the ways in which new data flows and the frictions that shape them bring social actors into new forms of relation with one another, the platformisation of infrastructures for data circulation, and state action to influence the dynamics of data movement. Moments and sites of “data friction” are identified as deeply political – resulting from the collective decisions of human actors who experience significantly different levels of empowerment with regard to shaping the overall outcome.

Research limitations/implications

The paper further develops Paul Edwards’ concept of “data friction” beyond its current application in Science Studies. Analysis of the broader dynamics of data friction across different cases identifies a number of parallels that require further empirical examination and theorisation.

Practical implications

The observation that sites of data friction are deeply political has significant implications for all engaged in the practice and management of digital data production, circulation and use.

Social implications

It is argued that the concept of “data friction” can help social actors identify, examine and act upon some of the complex socio-material dynamics shaping emergent data movements across a variety of domains, and inform deliberation at all levels – from everyday practice to international regulation – about how such frictions can be collectively shaped towards the creation of more equitable and just societies.

Originality/value

The paper makes an original contribution to the literature on friction in the dynamics of digital data movement, arguing that in many cases data friction may be something to enable and foster, rather than overcome. It also brings together literature from diverse disciplinary fields to examine these frictional dynamics within two cases that have not previously been examined in relation to one another.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Jo Bates, Paula Goodale, Yuwei Lin and Penny Andrews

The purpose of this paper is to adopt an assemblage theory lens to examine the socio-material forces shaping the development of an infrastructure for the recovery of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adopt an assemblage theory lens to examine the socio-material forces shaping the development of an infrastructure for the recovery of archived historical marine weather records for use in contemporary climate data sets.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a data journeys approach to research design, conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with climate scientists, citizen scientists and a climate historian who were engaged at key sites across the journey of data from historical record to the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set database. Interview data were complemented by further qualitative data collected via observations of working practices, a digital ethnography of citizen scientists’ online forums, and documentation relevant to the circulation and governance of climate data across emergent data infrastructures. Data were thematically analysed (Ryan and Bernard, 2003), with themes being informed primarily by the theoretical framework.

Findings

The authors identify and critically examine key points of friction in the constitution of the data recovery infrastructure and the circulation of data through it, and identify the reflexive and adaptive nature of the beliefs and practices fostered by influential actors within the assemblage in order to progress efforts to build an infrastructure despite significant challenges. The authors conclude by addressing possible limitations of some of these adaptive practices within the context of the early twenty-first century neoliberal state, and in light of current debates about data justice.

Originality/value

The paper draws upon original empirical data and a novel theoretical framework that draws together Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage theory with key concepts from the field of critical data studies (data journeys, data friction and data assemblage) to illuminate the socio-material constitution of the data recovery infrastructure within the context of the early twenty-first century neoliberal state.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2018

Piyapat Jarusawat, Andrew Cox and Jo Bates

The cultural heritage of the Lanna region of upper Northern Thailand is unique. One of its distinctive features is palm leaf manuscripts (PLMs), which are viewed…

Abstract

Purpose

The cultural heritage of the Lanna region of upper Northern Thailand is unique. One of its distinctive features is palm leaf manuscripts (PLMs), which are viewed simultaneously as examples of sacred writing and religious symbols, means of transferring cultural knowledge, artefacts of beauty and fragile historical documents. Local people still care about these objects, and speak the language but knowledge of the script is limited. The purpose of this paper is to explore the views of community members and experts about the value and management of PLMs as the basis for developing a model of community-based collection management.

Design/methodology/approach

Because the purpose was to explore differing perceptions and beliefs around PLMs the study adopted an interpretivist worldview. Data were collected through interviews with local people with an interest in PLMs and experts who advised on organising them. In addition, observation and a photo inventory method was used to collect data. Data were analysed thematically.

Findings

The results showed that while both groups saw the value of the knowledge PLMs contained, the community placed particular importance on the earning of “merit” through activities related to them as Buddhist objects. Experts gave particular emphasis to the knowledge of herbal medicine contained in the PLMs. The community valued indigenous storage and preservation practices. Experts were particularly pre-occupied with the intellectual property issue around medical knowledge and convenient storage and digitisation.

Research limitations/implications

Existing theory around libraries, archives and museums suggest some starting points for how community participation might be managed, but the unique circumstances of Lanna PLMs calls for a distinctive approach.

Practical implications

The paper identifies a pathway suitable to the Lanna context that can build on current local practices, to enhance community participation in the management of PLMs, including a consideration of the role of information professionals.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first to extend thinking about participatory practices in the library, archive and museum literature to the context of Thailand and specifically to the case of PLMs, in the Lanna region. Rigorous data analysis of a substantial body of evidence has enhanced the understanding of the different types of value placed on PLMs. It identifies an important but not unbridgeable tension between how local people and experts view PLMs. It builds on previous library, archive and museum theory to propose a realistic model of how communities and experts (including librarians) can work together to protect the rich cultural resource represented by PLMs.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2020

Jo Bates, Paul Clough, Robert Jäschke, Jahna Otterbacher and Kris Unsworth

Abstract

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Content available

Abstract

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 43 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Katherine Quinn and Jo Bates

The purpose of this paper is to examine the political position of academic librarianship in the context of recent changes in English Higher Education. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the political position of academic librarianship in the context of recent changes in English Higher Education. The neoliberalisation of academic librarianship, both as an academic discipline and profession, is considered. The emergence of the Radical Librarians Collective is examined as a potential site through which to counter these developments and foster radical alternatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon Gramsci’s concepts of hegemony and praxis, and post-structural critiques of neoliberalism, as a theoretical framework to guide data collection and analysis, and observe developments within academic librarianship vis-à-vis broader processes of neoliberalisation. Empirical data collected through interviews and participant observation are analysed using thematic and critical discourse analysis.

Findings

The research finds that academic librarianship as a discipline and practice is undergoing a process of neoliberalisation. An umbrella organisation of activist librarians, Radical Librarians Collective, is found to be resisting these developments and has some potential to become a space through which radical alternatives to neoliberal hegemony can be explored and fostered.

Research limitations/implications

The research demonstrates the utility of a Gramscian theoretical framework as a lens through which to observe developments in the field of library and information studies (LIS). Further empirical work would deepen the authors’ understanding of such developments across a range of institutions and locales.

Originality/value

The research makes an original contribution to critical research on the struggles around the neoliberalisation of academic librarianship in the UK. The theoretically informed analysis provides original insights into these processes, and makes a methodological contribution to LIS research.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2011

Jo Bates and Jennifer Rowley

The purpose of this paper is to highlight limits to the dominant model of social inclusion under which UK public libraries operate, to analyse how and to what extent…

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5030

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight limits to the dominant model of social inclusion under which UK public libraries operate, to analyse how and to what extent processes of socio‐cultural exclusion emerge in the subject representation and discoverability of “non‐dominant” resources in public library OPACs, and to consider folksonomy as a solution to any issues raised.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first develops a critique of the dominant model of “inclusion” within UK public libraries, drawing on feminist and critical theories of identity. It then considers how this critique overlaps with and offers fresh insights into major debates within subject indexing, and develops a theoretical rationale for considering the potential of folksonomy to intervene in more inclusive subject‐indexing design. A user‐based critical interpretive methodology which understands OPACs as texts open to multiple interpretations is developed, and a comparative reading of standard OPACs and LibraryThing folksonomy is undertaken to evaluate the discoverability and subject representation of LGBTQ and ethnic minority resources.

Findings

LibraryThing folksonomy offers benefits over LCSH subject indexing in the discoverability and representation of LGBTQ resources. However, the folksonomy is dominated by US taggers, and this impacts on the tagging of ethnic minority resources. Folksonomy, like traditional indexing, is found to contain its own biases in worldview and subject representation.

Originality/value

The importance of subject indexing in developing inclusive library services is highlighted and a new method for evaluating OPACs is developed.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 67 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2017

Johanna Rivano Eckerdal

The purpose of this paper is to advocate and contribute to a more nuanced and discerning argument when ascribing a democratic role to libraries and activities related to…

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1572

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advocate and contribute to a more nuanced and discerning argument when ascribing a democratic role to libraries and activities related to information literacy.

Design/methodology/approach

The connections between democracy and libraries as well as between citizenship and information literacy are analysed by using Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism. One example is provided by a recent legislative change (the new Swedish Library Act) and the documents preceding it. A second, more detailed example concerns how information literacy may be conceptualised when related to young women’s sexual and reproductive health. Crucial in both examples are the suggestions of routes to travel that support equality and inclusion for all.

Findings

Within an agonistic approach, democracy concerns equality and interest in making efforts to include the less privileged. The inclusion of a democratic aim, directed towards everyone, for libraries in the new Library Act can be argued to emphasise the political role of libraries. A liberal and a radical understanding of information literacy is elaborated, the latter is advocated. Information literacy is also analysed in a non-essentialist manner, as a description of a learning activity, therefore always value-laden.

Originality/value

The agonistic reading of two central concepts in library and information studies, namely, libraries and information literacy is fruitful and shows how the discipline may contribute to strengthen democracy in society both within institutions as libraries and in other settings.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2005

S. Hoti and Michael McAleer

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Details

Modelling the Riskiness in Country Risk Ratings
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-44451-837-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Yaw A. Debrah and Ian G. Smith

Presents over sixty abstracts summarising the 1999 Employment Research Unit annual conference held at the University of Cardiff. Explores the multiple impacts of…

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10444

Abstract

Presents over sixty abstracts summarising the 1999 Employment Research Unit annual conference held at the University of Cardiff. Explores the multiple impacts of globalization on work and employment in contemporary organizations. Covers the human resource management implications of organizational responses to globalization. Examines the theoretical, methodological, empirical and comparative issues pertaining to competitiveness and the management of human resources, the impact of organisational strategies and international production on the workplace, the organization of labour markets, human resource development, cultural change in organisations, trade union responses, and trans‐national corporations. Cites many case studies showing how globalization has brought a lot of opportunities together with much change both to the employee and the employer. Considers the threats to existing cultures, structures and systems.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 23 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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