Schedule | Assignments | Resources | Readings | Practical Stuff | Blackboard
|phone||email (@utoronto.ca)||office||office hours|
|Jens-Erik Mai||416 978 7097||je.mai||Bissell, rm 636||Wednesday 4pm-5:30pm
|Brian Cantwell Smith||416 946 5402||brian.cantwell.smith||iSouth, rm 303|
||Bissell, rm 651||Wednesday 2:30pm-4pm|
|phone||email (@utoronto.ca)||office||office hours|
||Bissell, rm 608||by appointment|
||iSouth, rm 341||by appointment
||Bissell, rm 514||by appointment
|Dirk Rodenbergfirstname.lastname@example.org||iSouth, rm 328||by appointment|
“Fundamental epistemological and ontological issues in the use of knowledge and information in human activities. Analysis of issues in language, representation, interpretation, semantics, meaning-making, perception, conception, and cognition, integrating perspectives from multiple disciplines and traditions.”
This course serves as one of the four core courses in the MI program and as such is designed to provide students will basic, fundamental and core ideas, principles and questions that penetrates the entire information profession. Students will encounter a range of issues in this course that today’s information professionals must grapple with and consider, regardless of job title and workplace. However, the aim is not so much directed at familiarizing the students with the jobs they will get, but rather to equip them for a life-long career in the information field.
One key aspect of the
information profession is how and on which
basis items are named and assigned to categories - almost any
information professional will at some point name and categories items,
or at least work with names and categories assigned by others. These
categories reflect particular views of the world and reflect the
meaning that particular people or groups of people attribute to the
items. This course also explores how meaning is created, and the
social and epistemological consequences and constraints of naming and
Students will gain understandings of:
The course consist of two weekly meetings; a class meeting and a shared
lecture for all the classes. The shared lecture preceeds the class
meetings and form the foundation for the discussion and activites in
the class. The schedule lists the readings
for each week; students are expected
to have read the material prior
to the lecture session.
For the full citations for the readings, please see the Readings section on information. The actual readings are accessible on Blackboard. Lecture slides are available on the Blackboard side as well - they will be uploaded after the shared lecture.
|Class 0101||Tuesday||6:30pm - 8:00pm||Bissell, rm. 224||Instructor: Hockema|
|Class 0102||Tuesday||6:30pm - 8:00pm||Bissell,
rm. 307||Instructor: Quinn|
TAs: Quinn and Sandra
|Class 0103||Tuesday||8:00pm - 9:30pm||Bissell,
rm. 307||Instructor: Hockema|
|Class 0104||Wednesday||6:30pm - 8:00pm||Bissell, rm. 224||Instructor: Hockema|
|Class 0105||Wednesday||6:30pm - 8:00pm||Bissell,
rm. 307||Instructor: Mai|
|Class 0106||Wednesday||8:00pm - 9:30pm||Bissell, rm. 224||Instructor: Hockema|
|Class 0107||Wednesday ||8:00pm - 9:30pm||Bissell,
rm. 307||Instructor: Mai|
TAs: Eva and Jenna
|Class 0108||Thursday||9:00am - 10:30am||Bissell, rm. 224||Instructor: Mai|
|Class 0109||Thursday||10:30am - 12noon||Bissell, rm. 224||Instructor: Mai|
|Shared lecture||Tuesday||4:00pm - 5:30pm||Medical Sciences|
1 King's College Circl.
rm. MS 2158
(J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium)
|Hockema, Mai, and Smith|
|Overview of the course
Introduction to ROCM
Stephen Hockema, Jens-Erik Mai and
Brian Cantwell Smith
Part I — Introductions
|Classification in the real world
Duff & Harris, 2002
Feinberg, In press
Brian Cantwell Smith
|Cognitive underpinnings, part I
|Lakoff, 1987 - chap. 1-10
|Feb. 7, 8 & 9
||No lecture, no class meetings
-- we are at iConference
Assignment #1 due Tuesday Feb. 7 at 11:59pm in Blackboard.
|Part II — Perspectives|
|Cognitive underpinnings, part II
|Lakoff, 1987 - chap. 1-10|
|Feb. 21, 22 & 23
||No lecture, no class meetings
-- Reading Week
|Fixity and fluidity
|Zerubavel, 1991 - entire book
|Documents: representation and information
Levy, 2001 - chap 1 & 2
|Communication and meaning-making
Assignment #2 due at 11:59pm in Blackboard.
|Fiske, 2011 - chap 1-5
Part III — Significance
|Authority and power
|Foucault, 1980 - chap. 5, part 2
Weinberger, 2007 - chap 7 & 10
|Bowker & Star,
1999 - Introduction + chap 1, 2, 3, & 4
Bowker & Star, 1999 - chap 10
|Summary, conclusions and
evaluations of the course
Assignment #3 due at 11:59pm in Blackboard.
Students are required to complete three assignment for the course. The final grade for the course is calculated according to the weighted grades received for each individual assignment in the course:
|Assignment||Percentage of final grade||Due date|
|1.||Epistemology of everyday classification
|2.||Coping with injustice
|3.||An issue of significance||40%||Tuesday
Please make sure to consult the iSchool’s official interpretation of the UofT’s letter grade system - taken together these documents explain the letter grade system and the meaning of the individual letter grades.We will attempt to return papers two weeks after the submission date. However, any paper submitted late will required a longer turn-around time.
All assignments satify the following requirements:
Please review the material you covered in the Cite it Right workshop, familiarize yourself with this site and UofT’s policy about academic conduct.
Students are strongly recommended to consult the writing centres' website, which presents a wealth of material and lists a variety of writing courses available free to all students. Students are also encourged to seek out the School of Graduate Studies' writing centre and their resources website that is geared especially towards graduate students. While we are not in a position to teach students how to write well, it is our responsibility to ensure that they do so. It is students’ responsibility to take advantage of these provided resources, to ensure that they reach this goal.
For additional writing tips, please look here for and here for resources provided by your instructors for this course.
In this course we will encounter a number of concepts, ideas, and notions that might be new – and which might be confusing, or difficult to grasp. Below are a number of resources that might help in getting a better handle on the terminology and ideas.
“The Epistemological Lifeboat is an attempt to guide students and researchers into the complex field of epistemology/philosophy of science. It is intended as a “lifeboat” or a “philosophy for dummies”. It is obviously not enough for serious studies, but it provides an overview and refers the reader to further sources of information.”
Birger Hjørland’s comprehensive dictionary of KO terms and ideas.
“This Encyclopedia is the first attempt in a generation to map the social and behavioral sciences on a grand scale.”
“Most of the articles in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy are original contributions by specialized philosophers around the Internet.”
“Comprehensive resource. Articles from all continents, all periods and cultures.”
“From its inception, the SEP was designed so that each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public."
Never a bad place to begin...
The readings are posted on Blackboard.
Beghtol, Clare. 2005. Ethical Decision–Making for Knowledge Representation and Organization Systems for Global Use. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56 (9): 903–912.
Borges, Jorge Luis. 1973. The Analytical Language of John Wilkins. In Other Inquisitions 1937-1952. London: Souvenir Press. pp. 101–105.
Bowker, Geoffrey C. &
Susan Leigh Star. 1999. Sorting
Classification and its
Consequences. Cambridge, MA:
Introduction: To Classify is Human. (pp. 1-32)
Chap. 1: Some Tricks of the Trade in Analyzing Classification. (pp. 33-50)
Chap. 2: The Kindness of Strangers: Kinds and Politics in Classification Systems. (pp. 53-106)
Chap. 3: The ICD as Information Infrastructure. (pp. 107-133)
Chap. 4: Classification, Coding and Coordination. (pp. 135-161)
Chap. 10: Why classifications matter. (pp. 319-326)
Boyne, Roy. 2006. Classification. Theory, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 21-30.
Buckland, Michael. 1997. What is a 'Document'? Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48 (9): 804-809.
Cornelius, Ian. 2002. Theorizing Information for Information Science. Annual Review of Information and Technology, 43: 393-425.
Donohue, Mark. 2006. Classification and Human Language. Theory, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 40-42.
Duff, Wendy & Verne Harris. 2002. Stories and names: Archival description as narrating records and constructing meanings. Archival Science, 2: 263–285.
Dupre, John. 2006. Scientific Classification. Theory, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 30-32.
Dupre, John. 1993. The Disorder
of Things: Metaphysical Foundations
of the Disunity of Science.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Chap. 1: Natural Kinds.
Ereshefsky, Marc. 2001. The
Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy: A Philosophical Study of Biological
Taxonomy. New York, NY:
Cambridge University Press. Supplementary.
Chap. 1: The Philosophy of Classifcation (pp. 15-49)
Feinberg, Melanie. In press. Organization as Expression: Classification as Digital Media. In: Digital Media, Bill Aspray and Megan Winget (eds). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
Fiske, John. 2011. Introduction
to Communication Studies, 3rd edition. New
York, NY: Routledge.
Introduction: What is Communication? (pp. 1-4)
Chap. 1: Communication Theory. (pp. 5-21)
Chap. 2: Other Models. (pp. 21-36)
Chap. 3: Communication, Meaning, and Signs. (pp. 35-60)
Chap. 4: Codes. (pp. 61-79)
Chap. 5: Signification. (pp. 80-94)
Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.
Chap. 5, part 2: Lecture Two: 14 January 1976 (pp. 92-108)
Chap. 2: Prison Talk (pp. 37-54) Supplementary.
Chap. 3: Body/Power (pp. 55-62) Supplementary.
Chap. 4: Questions on Geography (pp. 63-77) Supplementary.
Frohmann, Bernd. 2008. Subjectivity and Information Ethics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59 (2): 267-277.
Furner, Jonathan. 2007. Dewey Deracialized: A Critical Race-Theoretic Perspective. Knowledge Organization. 24 (3): 144-168.
Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Preface (pp. xi-xvii)
Chap. 1: The Importance of Categorization (pp. 5-11)
Chap. 2: From Wittgenstein to Roach (pp. 12-57)
Chap. 3: Prototype Effects in Language (pp. 58-67)
Chap. 4: Idealized Cognitive Models (pp. 68-76)
Chap. 5: Metonymic Models (pp. 77-90)
Chap. 6: Radial Categories (pp. 91-114)
Chap. 7: Features, Stereotypes, and Defaults (pp. 115-117)
Chap. 8: More about Cognitive Models (pp. 118-135)
Chap. 9: Defenders of the Classical View (pp. 136-152); &
Chap. 10: Review (pp. 153-154)
Levy, David M. 2001. Scrolling
Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age.
Chap. 1: Meditation on a receipt. (pp. 7-20)
Chap. 2: What are documents? (pp. 21-38)
Mai, Jens-Erik. 2010. Classification in a Social World: Bias and Trust, Journal of Documentation, 66 (5): 627-642.
Maciel, Maria Esther. 2006. The Unclassificable. Theory, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 47-50.
Smith, Brian Cantwell. 2011. A Rough and Ready Guide: To the Tortuous Landscape of Metaphysics, Ontology, and Epistemology. Unpublished manuscript.
Sokal, Robert R. 1974. Classification: Purposes, Principles, Progress, Prospects. Science, 185 (4157): 1115-1123.
Unsworth, Kristine. 2009. Ethical Concerns of Information Policy and Organization in National Security. Cataloging and Classifciation Quarterly, 47: 642-656.
Weinberger, David (2007) Everything
is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder.
York, NY: Times.
Chap. 7: Social knowing. (pp. 129-147)
Chap. 10: The work of knowledge. (199-230)
Zerubavel, Eviatar. 1991. The
Fine Line: Making Distinctions in Everyday Life.
New York, NY:
Chap. 1: Island of meaning. (pp. 5-20)
Chap. 2: The great divide. (pp. 21-32)
Chap. 3: The rigid mind. (pp. 33-60)
Chap. 4: The social lens. (pp. 61-80)
Chap. 5: The fuzzy mind. (pp. 81-114)
Chap. 6: The flexible mind. (pp. 115-122)
you have a question, there is a pretty good chance that other people in
the class will have the same question or, at least, will benefit from
answer. Therefore, please do not email questions
directly to the instructors or TAs, instead please post all questions to Blackboard (in the forum
threads) so everyone in the class can benefit from your questions
and our answers. Questions posted to Blackboard will normally
answered within 24 hours (except on weekends).
Students are expected
to submit all assignments by the
Late assignments may be
accepted without academic penalty if, prior to the
due date of
made an arrangement a later specific
submission date. If you are need an extension past the
assignment due date, simply upload to the Blackboard site under the Assignment tab a (short)
document stating when you will have your assignment complete.
Then, on or before that date, upload your completed assignment, as a
Please note that assignments submitted later than their specified due date -- without prior agreement with your instructor -- will be deducted an academic penalty of one grade level per week (e.g., A- to B+, B to B-). Late assignments should be submitted on Blackboard.
Graduating students must have submitted
all three assignments by Tuesday April 10. If we receive any of
the three assignments later than this date, we cannot guarantee that we
will have a mark ready in time for the student to graduate this
For non-graduating students: No
assignments will be
accepted after Tuesday April 17, 2012. [In other words,
all students must by April 17 have submitted all three assignments.
If a student has not completed all assignments by April 17, then
the student must submit a Request
for Extension to Complete Course Work to his/her class instructor. Besides all the requested data, all fields in Section 1 must
be filled out, and the reasons for the delay must be described in as
much detail as possible. The form must be signed and it must
be submitted in hard-copy to
the Student Service office in an envelope with the relevant instructor's
name. Students who fail to submit either all three
assignments or the Request for a Course Extension by April 17 will have
their final grade calculated based on the coursework completed by April
All grades you receive in this course
will be expressed as a letter [in accord with the iSchool's interpretation] – the following will help you convert
letter grades for the individual assignments to a letter grade for
the final grade:
First: Each letter is converted to a number: A+=9, A=8, A-=7, B+=6, B=5, B-=4, and FZ=0.
Second: Apply the number for each assignment into this equation:
(Assign. #1*0.2)+(Assign. #2*0.4)+(Assign. #1*0.4)=value for final grade
Third: Convert the ‘value for final grade’ back into a letter, using the above conversation table.
Note: Any value ending in x.6 or below is rounded down, any value ending in x.7 or above is rounded up.
[The above is in line with the Faculty of Information’s policy on this matter.]
All grades you receive in this course
have been assigned by one or more of the instrcutors. The
Teaching Assistants will have read, commented on, and provided input on the
quality of the work. Grades for individual assignments as well as
the final grades for the course are assigned by the
In the case you have questions about
the comments and/or the grades, please first meet with your TA.
The TA will review, with you, the assignment requirements, the Grade
Interpretation document, the writing tips, the submitted paper, the
comments it received, and the grade it was assigned. If, after
this discussion, you do not feel that the assigned grade is appropriate you should set up a meeting with your class instructor.
Please prepare a short written
rationale for why the grade should be re-considered - make sure that
the rationale refers to the Grade Interpretation document. Please
make bring your rationale to the meeting with your instructor. In
the rare situations where a re-grade is required, theinstrcutor will work with a different TA to re-grade the assignment. The second grade will stand regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the first one.
Please note that students always have the option to appeal a grade via the appeals process.
The essence of academic life revolves around respect not only for the ideas of others, but also their rights to those ideas and their promulgation. It is therefore essential that all of us engaged in the life of the mind take the utmost care that the ideas and expressions of ideas of other people always be appropriately handled, and, where necessary, cited. For writing assignments, when ideas or materials of others are used, they must be cited. The format is not that important–as long as the source material can be located and the citation verified, it’s OK. What is important is that the material be cited. In any situation, if you have a question, please feel free to ask. Such attention to ideas and acknowledgment of their sources is central not only to academic life, but life in general.
Please acquaint yourself with UofT’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.
Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability or health consideration that may require accommodations, please approach your tutorial instructor and/or the Accessibility Services office as soon as possible. The Accessibility Services staff are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner you let them and us know about your needs, the more quickly we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.
Please note that the lectures in INF1002 are being video-recorded for educational purposes. We will be capturing the class slides and video and audio of the instructor(s). The camera will capture the front of the lecture hall including the instructors and the slides. If you do not wish to be video or audio recorded, please wait until the end of the video/audio capture to walk to the front of the lecture hall or ask questions. If you wish to discuss matters further, please contact Jens-Erik Mai or Heather MacNeil, Associate Dean (Academic).