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Article
Publication date: 10 January 2019

Marc Richard Hugh Kosciejew

The purpose of this paper is to begin a conversation about the term “nondocument.” It analyzes this term’s possible concepts, components and contexts.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to begin a conversation about the term “nondocument.” It analyzes this term’s possible concepts, components and contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper draws upon the work of documentation studies scholars, including Michael Buckland, Bernd Frohmann and Niels Windfeld Lund, to begin an exploration of the term “nondocument,” framed within the context of the 2013–2014 Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations brokered by the USA. It is comprised of seven sections revolving around different questions regarding non-document.

Findings

The document at the center of the 2013–2014 Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations aimed to establish a framework for an eventual final-status peace agreement. There was skepticism, however, about the document’s proposed reservations inscription permitting either party to express reservations with any part of the framework. It was claimed that this reservation inscription made the document self-negating and therefore a non-document. This document was arguably a hybrid entity: a document-non-document. It was a document in the context of the negotiations. It became a non-document in the context of the collapse of the negotiations.

Research limitations/implications

The 2013–2014 peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, brokered by the USA, revolved around a diplomatic document outlining provisions for a final peace settlement. The two parties were skeptical of a proposed provision permitting reservations to be expressed over other provisions within the document. An official involved in the negotiations stated that this provision made the document a non-document. But what exactly is meant by this term? This paper takes the opportunity to begin exploring such a notion. The aim, however, is not to definitively define non-document but instead to raise questions and provoke further discussions of this term.

Originality/value

The concept of non-document is underdeveloped. This paper presents questions and conceptual tools to help develop this term whilst providing possible points of departure for further examinations of how documents are or might be non-documents. These questions and tools also point in directions for various other approaches to phenomena that could be regarded as documents in some respects but not in others, or the ways in which something could is “almost” but “not quite” a document, or even help determine what is “not document.” Ultimately, this term could help expand other “conventional” approaches to documentation.

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2021

Marc Richard Hugh Kosciejew

Introducing immunity or vaccine passports is one non-pharmaceutical intervention that governments are considering to exempt immune, vaccinated or otherwise risk-free…

Abstract

Purpose

Introducing immunity or vaccine passports is one non-pharmaceutical intervention that governments are considering to exempt immune, vaccinated or otherwise risk-free individuals from lockdowns and other public health restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. The primary objective of these documents would be to begin reopening societies, restarting economies and returning to a pre-pandemic normalcy. This article aims to present the start of a conceptual documentary analysis of (proposed and existing) COVID-19 immunity passports in order to more fully center their documentary status within research, considerations and conversations about their potential roles, impacts and implications.

Design/methodology/approach

Inspired by Paula A. Treichler's argument for the importance of theoretical thought for untangling the socio-cultural phenomena of epidemics, and drawing upon interdisciplinary theories of documentation, identity and public health, combined with recent news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, this article provides a contemporary overview and conceptual analysis of emerging documentary regimes of COVID-19 immunity verification involving immunity or vaccine passports.

Findings

Three major interconnected objectives could be fulfilled by immunity passports. First, they would establish and materialize an official identity of COVID-19 immune for people possessing the formal document. Second, they would serve as material evidence establishing and verifying individuals' immunity, vaccination or risk-free status from the coronavirus that would, in term, determine and regulate their movements and other privileges. Third, they would create tangible links between individuals and governments' official or recognized identity category of COVID-19 immune. Immunity passports would, therefore, help enable and enforce governmental authority and power by situating individuals within documentary regimes of COVID-19 immunity verification.

Research limitations/implications

In the expanding interdisciplinary literature on COVID-19 immunity passports, sometimes also called certificates, licenses, or passes, there appears to be only minimal reference to their documentary instantiations, whether physical, digital, and/or hybrid documents. As yet, there is not any specific documentary approach to or analysis of immunity passports as kinds of documentation. A documentary approach helps to illuminate and emphasize the materiality of and ontological considerations concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its associated kinds of immunity or vaccination.

Social implications

By beginning an exploration of what makes immunity passports thinkable as a public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, this article illuminates these health and identity documents' material implications for, and effects on, individuals and societies. This article, therefore, helps shed light on what immunity passports reveal about the complicated and contested intersections of identity, documentation, public health and socio-political control and discipline.

Originality/value

This article contributes the start of a documentary analysis of (proposed and existing) COVID-19 immunity passports in order to more fully center their documentary status within research and conversations about them.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2021

Marc Richard Hugh Kosciejew

Signs saturate and surround society. This article illuminates the significant roles played by documentation within the context of the coronavirus pandemic. It centres…

Abstract

Purpose

Signs saturate and surround society. This article illuminates the significant roles played by documentation within the context of the coronavirus pandemic. It centres, what it terms as, “COVID-19 signage” as essential extensions of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) into society. It posits that this signage helps materialize, mediate and articulate the pandemic from an unseen phenomenon into tangible objects with which people see and interact.

Design/methodology/approach

This article presents a documentary typology of COVID-19 signage to provide a conceptual framework in which to situate, approach and analyse this diverse documentation and its implications for social life and traffic. Further, this article offers a case study of Malta's COVID-19 signage that helped materialize, mediate and articulate the pandemic across the European island nation during its national lockdown in the first half of 2020. This case study helps contextualize these signs and serves as a dual contemporary and historical overview of their creation, implementation and use.

Findings

The coronavirus pandemic cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is, in many respects, an abstraction. Documents enable the virus to be seen and the pandemic to be an experienced reality. Specifically, COVID-19 signage materializes the disease and pandemic into tangible items that individuals interact with and see on a daily basis as they navigate society. From personal to environmental to community signs, these documents have come to mediate social life and articulate COVID-19 during this extraordinary health crisis. A material basis of a shared “pandemic social culture” is consequently established by and through this signage and its ubiquity.

Research limitations/implications

This article can serve as a point of departure for analyses of other kinds of COVID-19 signage in various contexts. It can serve as an anchor or example for other investigations into what other signs were used, including why, when and how they were produced, designed, formatted, implemented, enforced, altered and/or removed. For instance, it could be used for comparative studies between different NPIs and their associated signage, or of the signage appearing between different cities or countries or even the differences in signage at various political and socio-temporal points of the pandemic.

Social implications

It is dually hoped that this article's documentary typology, and historical snapshot, of COVID-19 signage could help inform how current and future NPIs into society are or can be used to mitigate the coronavirus or other potential health crises as well as serve as both a contemporary and historical snapshot of some of the immediate and early responses to the pandemic.

Originality/value

This documentary typology can be applied to approaches and analyses of other kinds of COVID-19 signage and related documentation. By serving as a conceptual framework in which situate, approach and analyse these documents, it is hoped that this article can help create a sense of clarity in reflections on sign-saturated environments as well as be practically employed for examining and understanding the effective implementation of NPIs in this pandemic and other health crises.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 77 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Marc Richard Hugh Kosciejew

The purpose of this paper is to argue that information is an important effect of documentation. It is in this way that documentation studies distinguishes between concepts…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that information is an important effect of documentation. It is in this way that documentation studies distinguishes between concepts of and practices with “information” and “document”: that is, documentation studies helps illuminate how information is created, stabilized, and materialized such that it can emerge and, in turn, how it can then be controlled, deployed, enforced, entrenched, managed, and used in many different ways, in various settings, and for diverse purposes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a conceptual framework on documentation, drawing upon the work of Bernd Frohmann, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, Hannah Arendt, @@and Ian Hacking, and applied to a case study of Apartheid South Africa.

Findings

Apartheid’s documentation helped achieve apartness at the macro and micro levels of society: on the macro level, the creation and subsequent separation of different racial and ethnic identities were drafted, adopted, and turned into law through legislative documents; on the micro level, these identities were reinforced through routines with personal documents and public signs. This documentation functioned as a documentary apparatus, providing a tangible link between individuals and their official racial and ethnic categories by creating a seamless movement of documents through various institutions; further it helped transform these racial and ethnic identities into lived facts that disciplined and controlled life.

Originality/value

By examining documentation, one can present a fresh and unique perspective to understanding the construction of various things, such as the construction of identities. This conceptual framework contributes to Library and Information Science (LIS) by illuminating the central role of documentation in the creation, stabilization, materialization, and emergence of information. By using Apartheid South Africa as a case study, this paper demonstrates how this framework can be applied to shed new light on different kinds of phenomena in diverse contexts; consequently, it not only contributes to and extends parts of the scholarship on documentation studies within LIS, but also presents new directions for other academic disciplines and multidisciplinary analyses and research.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 71 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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