Rethinking context in information research: bounded versus centred sets

Isto Huvila

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    Context is one of the key concepts in library and information science research. This paper provides a conceptual overview of the use of the notion of usefulness in library and information science literature, explicates its relation to key parallel concepts, and on the basis of an empirical vignette in the context of health information research, discusses the potential limits and advantages of referring to usefulness instead of and together with other related concepts. The paper is based on conceptual discussion and a selective review of literature. This paper explicates the implications of the traditional approach of conceptualising context in information research as bounded sets or ?quasi-bounded-sets?, and to contrast an alternative view of treating them as centred sets or processes. Instead of seeing context as a single- or multi-layered surrounding, describing it as a centred set makes it a position with affinities to different factors, situations, people or things. Even if all of the approaches have their inherent limitations, the notion of centred set provides means to rethink context and to help to avoid the temptation to treat it as an unspecified container and make it possible to explicate its constituents and their movement toward or from its nucleus.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Title of host publicationProceedings of CoLIS, the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019.
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventConceptions in Library and Information Science - CoLIS, the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science
    Duration: 16 Jun 201919 Jun 2019

    Publication series

    NameInformation research : an international electronic journal
    ISSN (Electronic)1368-1613


    ConferenceConceptions in Library and Information Science

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