There is a surprising amount of literature available on the philosophy of library and information science (LIS), but it’s hard to know where to start. What should a library philosopher read? Where’s the best place to begin? Since this blog is supposedly about philosophy and librarianship, the least I can do is attempt to build a list of suggested readings to aid the interested. Granted, I’m no expert, but I can at least start building a bibliography of the texts I think are most important to understanding the intersection of philosophy and librarianship at a foundational level.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t necessarily agree with every argument in every book or article on this list. I’ve just tried my best to present the most compelling and important works that I’ve found, regardless of whether I agree. Philosophy is a large field that admits of several competing viewpoints and I don’t want to leave anything out, so if you have a book, article, or other resource you would like to suggest, please let me know at lane[dot]wilkinson[at]gmail.com or in the comments.
General Works in the Philosophy of Librarianship
- Bivens-Tatum, W. (2012). Libraries and the enlightenment. Los Angeles: Library Juice Press. [Link to review]
- Budd, J. (2001). Knowledge and knowing in library and information science: a philosophical framework. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.
- Cossette, A. (1976/2009). Humanism and libraries: An essay on the philosophy of librarianship. Translated by Rory Litwin. Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice Press.
- Gorman, M. (2000). Our enduring values. Chicago: American Library Association.
- Herold, K. (Ed.). (2004). The philosophy of information [special issue]. Library Trends, 52(3). [Link to review]
- Hjørland, B. (Ed.). (2005). Library and information science and the philosophy of science [special issue]. Journal of Documentation, 61(1).
- Kaplan, A. (1964). The age of the symbol–a philosophy of library education. Library Quarterly, 34(4), 295-304. [Link to review]
- Nitecki, J. Z. (1979). Metaphors of librarianship: A suggestion for a metaphysical model. Journal of Library History, 14(1), 21-42. Recommended by Ken Herold.
- Osburn, C. B. (2009). The social transcript: uncovering library philosophy. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. [Link to review]
- Himma, K. E. & Tavani, H. T. (2008). The handbook of information and computer ethics. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Libraries and the Philosophy of Information
- Buckland, M. K. (1991). Information as thing. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42(5), 351-360. [Link to review]
- Budd, J. M. (2011). Meaning, truth, and information: prolegomena to a theory. Journal of Documentation, 67(1), 56-74. [Link to review]
- Floridi, L. (2011). The philosophy of information. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Floridi, L. (2010). Information: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Link to review]
- Floridi, L. (Ed.). (2003). The Blackwell guide to the philosophy of computing and information. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Floridi, L. (2002). On defining library and information science as applied philosophy of information. Social Epistemology, 16(1), 37-49.
- Herold, K. (2001). Librarianship and the philosophy of information. Library Philosophy and Practice, 3. Available online at http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~mbolin/herold.html
- Hjørland, B. (2005). Library and information science and the philosophy of science. Bradford, England: Emerald Group.
Postmodern, Continental, and Critical Theory in Librarianship
- Budd, J. M., Hill, H. & Shannon, B. (2010). Inquiring into the real: A realist phenomenological approach. The Library Quarterly, 80(3), 267-284.
- Buschman, J. & Brosio, R. A. (2006). A critical primer on postmodernism: lessons from educational scholarship for librarianship. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(4), 408-418.
- Buschman, J. (2003). Dismantling the public sphere: situating and sustaining librarianship in the age of the new public philosophy. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.
- Hjorland, B. (Ed.). (2005). Library and Information Science and the Philosophy of Science [Special Issue]. Journal of Documentation, 61(1).
- Kruk, M. (2003). Truth and libraries. The Australian Library Journal, 229-238.
- Labaree, R. V., & Scimeca, R. (2008). The philosophical problem of truth in librarianship. The Library Quarterly, 78(1), 43-70.
- Lankes, R. D. (2011). The Atlas of New Librarianship. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [Link to review]
- Leckie, G. J., Given, L. M., & Buschman, J. (2010). Critical theory for library and information science: exploring the social from across the disciplines. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.
- Weinberger, D. (2011). Too Big to Know. New York: Basic Books. [Link to review]
- Budd, J. (2004). Academic libraries and knowledge: A social epistemology framework. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 30(5), 361-367.
- Goldman, A. I. (1999). Knowledge in a social world. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Shera, J. (1970). Sociological foundations of librarianship. New York: Asia Publishing House.
- Shera, J. (1973). Knowing books and men: Knowing computers too. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited.