erschienen in: Journal of Documentation 48 (1992) 365-386.
in: R. Capurro, K. Wiegerling, A. Brellochs Hrsg.: Informationsethik
Cognitive Viewpoint in LIS Theory"
features of the cognitive viewpoint can be briefly summarized. It is
view that central theoretical consideration ought to be given to the
processes' that occur at each pole of typical information-retrieval
Information is produced by 'generators', each with their 'world
or 'knowledge structures'. They produce texts with the intention of
the 'world images' of the recipients who, for their part, pursue
as a result of a perceived 'gap' in their own image-structure.
scientists bring the two together by virtue of their knowledge of both
the recipient's need and the information available in the 'knowledge
The generation of this knowledge is the mandate of LIS theory.
Features of the Cognitive Viewpoint.
cognitive viewpoint is proposed neither as one theory among many, nor
a local theory for a specific set of problems, but as a total theory
LIS, and as the only theory. (...)
colonization of all LIS territories through the imposition of a
and unifying discourse requires the constitution of stable, objective,
knowable, and fundamental theoretical objects. It can promise a unified
knowledge of 'a continuum spectrum of information processes' because it
first constructs fixed, stable mental image-structures. A discourse of
fragmented, conflicted, or contradictory mental contents could offer no
stable 'image structures' for objective investigation. A discourse of
constitution of 'images' or 'models of the world' could not offer
theoretical entities. A discourse of 'information processes' as social
practices played out on an agonistic field of conflicting and shifting
historical forces, instead of mental events inside individual minds,
not issue guarantees of explanatory theory. The cognitive viewpoint's
of image-structures as natural objects, of 'information' as a change in
'structure', is an essential part of its universalistic and totalizing
discursive strategy. (...)
constructing production and reception as independently motivated
within individual 'information processing-devices', the cognitive
restricts LIS theory to a discourse of instrumental reason. Its
become efficiency, standardization, predictability, and determination
effects. It submits to a master narrative whose controlling metaphor is
the Shannon model of information transfer. Progress beyond this model
the grounds that it ignores the meaning of messages has become a truism
of much LIS theorizing, but to introduce meaning through talk of
representations, pictures, or cognitive maps, while at the same time
a discoursive construction of two devices, a generator and a recipient,
whose operations are understood as objective, given, natural world
fails to escape the dominance of the model's most powerful metaphor.
information transfer is conceived as an alteration of internal
rather than, for example, as social practice, the cognitive viewpoint
LIS theory from investigation of the social, political, and economic
which configure each pole of the information system."