Conceptualizing Self-Documentation

Online Information Review 43 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Purpose: Self-documentation is an increasingly common phenomenon, but it is not yet well understood. This paper provides a philosophical framework for analyzing examples of self-documentation on the dimensions of ontology, epistemology and ethics. Design/methodology/approach: The framework addresses these three major areas of philosophic thought by operationalizing insights from philosophy, chiefly the work of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger’s concepts of authenticity and fallenness inform the poles of each dimension of the framework. Findings: Ontologically, self-documentation may manifest as document (authentic) or data (fallen); epistemologically, as understanding (authentic) or idle curiosity (fallen); and ethically, as self-care (authentic) or diversion (fallen). These dimensions are presented separately but are understood to be intermingled. Originality/value: This unified framework offers a lens for examining and comparing cases of self-documentation and self-documents. No such framework has previously been articulated, but given the ubiquity and growing importance of self-documentation, it is needed.

Author's Profile

Tim Gorichanaz
Drexel University

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