19 March, 2021: CityLIS Research Seminar “LIS and Epistemic Normativity”

Abstract: Given the social nature of LIS practice and its concern with knowledge, some have argued that social epistemology – which shifts the focus of epistemology from individualistic to social – should serve as its philosophical foundation. This view has been challenged partly on the basis that social epistemology is necessarily normative with respect to knowledge while LIS is not. That is, social epistemology aims to evaluate knowledge-related social practices and make prescriptions about what counts as knowledge, while LIS does and should not. In this seminar, I will look at this debate in detail, examine the nature of normativity in LIS and argue that LIS can and should be epistemically normative. From this, I will show, it follows that any philosophical foundation for LIS must draw on — and contribute to — research in social epistemology.

8 February, 2021: CityLIS Workplace Forum “Notes from the field: working as an embedded librarian in a multidisciplinary research group”

Abstract: In this session, I will share my experiences of working as an embedded librarian in a multidisciplinary research group based at the University of Cambridge. I will compare the embedded model of librarianship with the more traditional, discuss the challenges involved, and look at the skills and experience – both academic and professional – that are necessary to succeed in such a role.

21st October 2019: CityLIS After Hours “Approaching Libraries and Information Philosophically”

Abstract: The debate over whether philosophy can provide a foundation for library and information science has been ongoing since at least 1934 when James Danton published his Plea for a Philosophy of Librarianship. Since then, the debate has been mainly between social epistemology, as originally but forward by Jess Shera and Margaret Egan, and philosophy of information, which Luciano Floridi has suggested can provide the most appropriate foundation for LIS. Independent of this debate, it is important to understand the practical implications of a philosophical approach to library and information science more broadly. Therefore, this session will explore what it means to approach something philosophically, looking in particular at philosophical issues as they arise in relation to libraries and information. We will look at some different ways of conceiving of philosophy, as well as what sort of tools philosophy can provide to address these issues.