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Sep 15, 2008: Go away for a long weekend sans connectivity...

...and another "Defining the damn thing" discussion about IA breaks out on the IAI-members list. Only this time, thanks to Jorge Arango, there's an interesting and useful artifact from the discussion.

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Comment: Walter Underwood (Sep 15, 2008)

This reminds me of trying to define "Science Fiction" -- content-based definitions just don't work.

Both SF and IA are the work of a connected community with many tendrils into the rest of the world. Neither can even exist without other disciplines, so trying to draw a line around them won't work. Like Lakoff's categories, it is best to cite a central example, some extensions both direct and metaphorical, and a community which agrees on that central meaning and at least some of the extensions.

And if you are trying to do IA without understanding Lakoff's definition of categories, good luck, you'll need it.

Comment: Peter (Sep 16, 2008)

Exactly my thoughts: in a field where so many people have read Lakoff, why are they still trying to define a category with fuzzy borders and evolving content?

Actually, I do think the discussions serve some purpose. But it's not reaching a definition, definitely.

Comment: Brenda (Sep 16, 2008)

but... um... Christina started it!

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