Heidegger in the Library
Author: David Tkach
Martin Heidegger’s thought is a lasting influence on the trajectory of 20th century philosophy, and Heideggerian phenomenology, an analysis of the underlying structures of lived human experience, had profound effect on fields as diverse as literary criticism, theology, architecture, and ergonomics. While there have been several shorter works written on Heidegger and information studies, Heidegger in the Library expands the groundwork that has come before, attempting to circumscribe the importance of Heidegger’s phenomenological thought for information studies as an interdisciplinary domain of thinking.
Heidegger in the Library first examines the concepts of information and the information seeker in light of Heideggerian phenomenology, ultimately concluding that they must be understood as coderminative, that is, information and the information seeker are not conceptually divisible. This is a novel approach and one that has, thus far, not been fully explored in information studies, neither for its theoretical nor for its practical implications. After completing this examination, the book turns to a discussion of information preservation and access, suggesting a reconceptualization of these primary tasks of the information professional in light of Heidegger’s thought. Finally, the book outlines how Heideggerian phenomenology can allow for a reconceptualization of the ethical and political implications of librarianship, showing that it is the librarian’s task not to act as a node in an information delivery service, but to see oneself as embedded within in the tasks, and indeed the world, of the library user.
David Tkach is a prospect researcher at the University of Calgary. Prior to this, he taught information literacy at Concordia University, as well as working in the Moshe Safdie Archive at McGill University and the Dawson College Library. He holds an MLIS from McGill and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Ottawa and has written on topics such as the philosophy of technology, zine collection in academic libraries, and digital architectural archives.