Libraries & Culture 39.1 (2004) 107-108
[Access article in PDF]
Knowledge and Knowing in Library and Information Science: A Philosophical Framework. By John M. Budd. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001. 361 pp. $70.00 (cloth), $38.50 (paper). ISBN 0-8108-4031-3, ISBN 0-8108-4025-1.
John M. Budd's Knowledge and Knowing in Library andInformation Science provides a much-needed discussion of the relationship between interpretation and the work done in library and information science (LIS). His thesis is straightforward: hermeneutical phenomenology should guide actions and research in LIS.
Conceptually, the book is divided into two sections. In the first section, which includes a genealogy of what Budd calls "modern science" (3), Budd outlines the problems that accompany these systems of thought. In the second section, he argues against the dilemmas that surface from the heritage of modern science, then argues for an interpretive approach to knowledge in LIS, an approach rooted in hermeneutical phenomenology. Each of these subjects could constitute a book unto itself, yet Budd covers both of them in seven chapters and 329 pages. Herein lies the primary criticism of this book: it tries to do too much in scope and in choice of audience.
First, the audience for this book appears to be both professionals and scholars in LIS. In his chapters on the genealogy of modern science, Budd provides a list [End Page 107] of names that have influenced thought in social science and by extension LIS; however, his analysis of the contributions of these thinkers could be longer. For example, John Locke's influence on epistemology and social science is covered in four and a half pages, whetting the appetite for the scholar or student but giving the impression that Budd does not want to burden the nonscholarly reader. Likewise, the presence of an apology on page 46 for repeating the refrain of "sensory perception being the road to knowledge" in the first section of the book calls into question the audience for whom Budd is writing. It would seem he has in mind a reader who would tire of the characteristics of the book's topic. The apology seems an unnecessary addition when other typographical aids such as footnotes could be provided to the reader. Second, Budd's work in this text is foreshortened. Both major sections of his work, the genealogy and the question of knowledge and phenomenology in LIS, could be treated in separate volumes, and in doing so Budd would have had the space and the liberty to provide the reader with more information.
This is not to say the book fails to achieve its purpose. This book successfully introduces a phenomenological stance into LIS. It discusses the role of interpretation in many of the fundamental concepts in LIS, like relevance (292-300), and it convincingly concludes with a call for a more robust epistemological foundation for inquiry into the nature of work in LIS (328-29).
This book is an ambitious project, and it is a welcome and praiseworthy addition to the LIS literature. Like Cornelius's work, Meaning and Method in Information Studies (Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishers, 1996), this text lays the groundwork for more interpretive work to emerge in LIS. Budd's book is, in its approach and content, foundational, but this reviewer simply wants more.
University of Washington, Seattle