Friday, May 20, 2016

A taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organizations

Gross, Tina. "Naming and reframing: a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization," Knowledge organization, 42, no. 5 (2015): 263-268.

It seems like technical services departments, cataloging practitioners and the entire concept of knowledge organization are under continual attack. Technical services librarians and functions are portrayed as outdated, rigid and expensive. The work of providing bibliographic description and access to resources can be outsourced or done "automagically". Someone else can do it cheaper/better/faster, and everyone uses Google to find things anyway, so who cares!

Tina Gross, Catalog Librarian at St. Cloud State University, has devised a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization grounded in the idea that naming and defining a concept gives us the power.

The terms in the taxonomy are:

Embracing austerity
Advocating parasitism
Disregarding quality
Imputing pedantry
Vender mystification
Search technology mystification
Distorting user behavior
Change cudgeling

Each term is defined, variants and subcategories are identified and a brief narrative example given.

Explication of our shared experience of attacks on knowledge organization can help us think through the arguments that support our work to better counter attacks and defend our collective value. 

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