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Meet the Author Series: Proximity and Epidata: Attributes and Meaning Modification

There are many ways to find information about things we know we need to know. Yet, finding the most useable information is not so simple a task. In this seminar Dr.s Bonnici and O’Connor offer a new model to explore discoverability and enhanced meaning of information. We have coined the term epidata to reflect our idea of information that surrounds information; a term borrowed and adjusted from epigenetics. · Epigenetics - the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. · Epidata – the changes in content around or accompanying information that modifies meaning or understanding rather than alteration of the information itself. Proximity is employed to refer to the many aspects of common ground. Epidata affords pathways, points to details that cast light on proximities that might otherwise go unknown. Their work weaves O’Connor’s visual information approaches with Bonnici’s language analysis to examine information at the edges. We model a turn to the functional in finding and using documents. The webinar focuses on their book entitled “Proximity and Epidata: Attributes and Meaning Modification. The book is available at Springer Publishing. ”The Esprit de Coeur of this event is to invite the reader to critique and add to their emerging model.


Laurie Bonnici is an associate professor in the College of Communication & Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. She holds degrees in Spanish and Linguistics, library science, and earned her Ph.D. in theory of attribution in Information Science at Florida State University. Her research addresses information seeking in second-hand knowledge contexts for people in crisis conditions. She has also written on information retrieval in the context of rewilded information which examines information exchange in everyday human interactions. Bonnici was awarded a faculty fellow at the Social Media Lab, Ryerson University. Riding bicycles, kayaking, and stained glass-making are passions contributing to work-life balance.


Brian C. O’Connor founded the Visual Thinking Laboratory in The College of Information at the University of North Texas. He holds degrees in Greek and Latin literature, Film Production (Fine Art), and earned his Ph.D. in theory of organization of information at the University of California, Berkeley. He has produced documentaries and art films, has written on photography, and chaired several doctoral dissertations on various aspects of doing things with information. He has also written on philosophy of information retrieval, the nature of questions, and idiosyncratic searching. Making and paddling kayaks, photography, and running are other passions.