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Understanding and Information Constellations in Ultrarunning

Gorichanaz, T. (2018). Understanding and information constellations in ultrarunning. Library Trends, 66(3), 329–350. This page presents a preprint of the article, which differs from the final version.

A typeset PDF of this article is available here. Copyright 2018 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. This article first appeared in Library Trends, Volume 66, Issue 3, Winter 2018, pages 329-50.

Abstract. There have been many conceptualizations of knowledge in information studies. Though presently disparate, they can be brought together under a common framework with the concept of understanding. As such, understanding can provide an account for how bodily experience, recorded information and other forms of information can contribute together epistemically. This paper provides a way for researchers to analyze understanding informationally: It defines information as form-and-activity and suggests that multiple pieces of information can be bundled together as information constellations with narrative as a cohering structure. The concept of information constellation is illustrated in a hermeneutic-phenomenological study of the information experience of ultrarunners. The resulting anecdotes and information constellation mappings show how multiple forms and activities of information are integrated as understanding even in the "simple" act of running. This discussion puts embodied, experiential, corporeal information on equal footing with the external, recorded forms of information that have been the traditional focus of information studies.

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Beautiful and Sublime: The Aesthetics of Running in a Commodified World

Gorichanaz, T. (2016) Beautiful and sublime: The aesthetics of running in a commodified world. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 43(3), 365–379.

Abstract. In the United States, running as a leisure activity continues to grow in popularity. Healthism can explain some of this popularity, but it does not explain ultra-distance running. Motivations for running can be seen through the framework of the Kantian beautiful and the sublime. Beauty arises through extrinsic motivation (e.g., products, physique, competition) and relates to an economy of form, while the sublime arises through intrinsic motivation (e.g., life meaning) and relates to confronting the challenge of infinity. The commercial, casual and competitive aspects of distance running correspond to the beautiful, while its wilderness, serious, ultra-distance aspects correspond to the sublime. This framework is used to explain the resistance of ultrarunning to the would-be detrimental effects of commodification, as well as ultrarunning's "wild turn."

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Documents and Time

Gorichanaz, T. (2016). Documents and time. Proceedings from the Document Academy, 3(1), paper 7.

Abstract. This essay offers a philosophical account of time and documents. It first presents a number of theories of time and discusses how time has been applied in research on documents to date. These applications have been limited by their conceptualization of time as a physical entity. In order to extend our understanding of documental time, this paper draws from Heidegger's experiential theory of time and the theory of document transaction in order to introduce a theory of documental time. In documental time, the past and future of the person and the past and future of the object cohere in a shared present. The special case of numinous document experiences—and numinous time—is also explored.

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Gauguin’s Savage Document Work: Understanding as Function

Gorichanaz, T. (2016). Gauguin’s savage document work: Understanding as function. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Document Academy, Denton, TX. Proceedings from the Document Academy, 3(2), paper 5.

Abstract. We tend to think of documents as things that provide answers, but documents can also provoke questions. This can be seen clearly in the study of art-making as document work, since the power of art is not in how it can represent reality, but how it can pose questions to reality. In this paper, I examine the work of 19th-century artist Paul Gauguin, which proceeded through iterative abstraction and productive reproduction. Gauguin's document work was a mode of questioning with the epistemic and communicative aim of understanding.

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How the Document Got Its Authority

Gorichanaz, T. (2016). How the document got its authority. Journal of Documentation, 72(2), 299–305.

Abstract. Purpose: To invite further consideration of and research into the authoritativeness, reliability and trustworthiness of documents. How do documents come to be trusted? Why are some more trusted than others? Approach: The cases of the OED and Wikipedia policies are explored from a historical perspective, and other cases are considered. Findings: Authoritativeness seems inherent to documents because of a cognitive metaphor that says "what is persistent is trustworthy". Practical implications: This feature of documents exposes users to a number of pitfalls related to trusting illegitimate documents. This has important implications for document literacy. Value: New insight into documents is achieved by applying cognitive metaphors and prototype theory to documents.

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Information on the Run: Experiencing Information During an Ultramarathon

Gorichanaz, T. (2015). Information on the run: Experiencing information during an ultramarathon. Information Research, 20(4), paper 697.

Abstract Introduction: Ultrarunning is an individual sport and serious leisure pursuit that requires ongoing information access and use during events, but has not yet been studied in information research. This study leverages a link between the theory of life in the round and the serious leisure perspective to explore the information experience of an ultrarunner during his first 100-mile race. Method: This autophenomenographic case study draws principles from interpretative phenomenological analysis, autoethnography and systematic self-observation. As this is the first application of autophenomenography in information research, the methodology is explicated. Analysis: Self-interviews and free-form narratives were open-coded and analysed for themes, consistent with interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: The literature review and the data from this study support a conceptualisation of ultrarunning as a small information world with a vital community ethos despite the sport's individualistic orientation and the transient nature of its events. The ultrarunning world is based in orality and values perseverance, and during events the individual ultrarunner relies on corporeal information and a knowledge base built through training, collecting lore and planning. Conclusions: This study identifies ultra-endurance sports as a fruitful context for information research and invites further consideration of discrete serious leisure events rather than solely ongoing processes. Its findings may also apply to other high-stress, individualistic performance contexts. This study also establishes autophenomenography as a suitable methodology in information research.

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