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Day, Briet, Merton, Norms

date: 2013-09-19 12:56

I recently started reading Ronald Day's The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power. I'm putting aside for a moment some of the interesting critiques Day has regarding Briet and Latour in order to note something he says about Briet's work and to connect that with Merton's norms.

Though Briet's phrase is ambiguous, Briet's work as a whole argues that science as a cultural paradigm forced into existence the institution of documentation as well as its techniques of organizing documents…. In fact, as we will see for Briet, documentation must work together with science in order to co-produce the future“ (Day, 2001, p. 28).

It seems likely that to satisfy payment in the form of esteem and recognition (see Merton on the norm of communism), the dissemination of the scholarly record functioned as a reinforcing mechanism for these norms.

Another note:

Brief recognizes that a cultural crisis involving overproduction has occurred in modernity, but like Otlet, she sees documentary technique as a way of managing this crisis (Day, 2001, p. 29).

Unlike documentation, some strains in information science believe that filtering is a way of “managing this crisis.” For example, through algorithms or social networks. This is a direct move away from the practice of documentation and library science, and should be seen as such.

Day, Ronald E. (2001). The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. URL:

  • categories:
    • lit review
    • norms
    • documentation
    • library science
blog/day-briet-merton-norms.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/07 08:13 by seanburns