Returning the (faceted) gaze: Reflections on representation, meaning and form

Kathryn La Barre


This brief position paper is the central narrative in a theoretic-historical triptych. The first two documents: A (Faceted) Semantic Web? (La Barre, 2011) and Traditions of Facet Theory or a Garden of Forking Paths? (La Barre, forthcoming) amplify a question Brian Vickery posed to the author in 2005. The current proposal, deeply entwined in the same narrative, seeks to continue the agenda of articulation
for a primarily North American audience. Instead of description and comparison, a starkly different analytical framework – Walter Benjamin’s notion of ‘aura’ – is deployed to interrogate facet theory along the core dimensions of tradition, uniqueness, and authenticity. The final aspect of this proposal will be an investigation of the aesthetic of redemption that may well serve as the bedrock for operational definitions and functional requirements for facet theory.

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