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Literary Studies, Business Studies ― and Information Science? Yes, It’s a Key Discipline for the Empowerment of Publishing Studies for the Digital Age: In What Way Information Science Can Inform Publishing Studies in the Face of the Ongoing Digital Transitions

Bläsi, Christoph

This paper describes the current situation of publishing studies as the “modern” part of book studies in German-speaking countries, especially with respect to their mission and their typical organization as well as staffing resources. In the face of ongoing groundbreaking digital transitions in the book industry and the book media system as a whole, it argues that the prevailing literary studies and business studies approaches (with their specific theories and methods) might have the effect that publishing studies fall short of the needs for sufficiently sound analyses and insights as expressed by the book industry and other media-related academic disciplines. Recently, some of the relevant academic work on the digitization of book economy and book culture has been done by scholars from disciplines such as business studies, business informatics or media and communication studies. As a remedy, the paper recommends a stronger orientation of publishing studies towards information science. To underpin this position from the perspective of the prospective partner discipline, it summarizes (and tries to get to the heart of) the current community-internal discourse on the self-conception etc. of information science. As a desk research project, the paper essentially links first results of ongoing research on publishing studies research units and study programmes by the author with a goal-oriented discussion of the consolidated discourse in information science on its fundamentals. It does that partly mediated by a few philosophy of science concepts concerning academic transitions, especially the discipline-specific transitions from data about phenomena to hypotheses.

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