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Between meaning and machine: learning to represent the knowledge of communities

Ribes, David, Bowker, Geoffrey C. "Between meaning and machine: learning to represent the knowledge of communities." Information and Organization (2009).

Representing knowledge in codified forms is transformative of ones orientation to that knowledge. We trace the emergence of a routine for knowledge acquisition and its consequences for participants. Over time, participants in the earth science project GEON, first learned about ontologies and then learned how to create them. We identify three steps in the routine: understanding the problematic of interoperability; learning the practice of knowledge acquisition; and engaging the broader community. As participants traversed the routine they came to articulate, and then represent, the knowledge of their communities. In a process we call reapprehension, traversing the routine also transformed participants’ orientation towards their data, knowledge and community, making them more keenly aware of the informational aspects of their fields.

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