Article ID: CBB001221582

Natural History and Information Overload: The Case of Linnaeus (2012)


Müller-Wille, Staffan (Author)
Charmantier, Isabelle (Author)

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Volume: 43
Pages: 4--15

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Part of a special section: “Data-Driven Research in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences”
Language: English

Natural History can be seen as a discipline paradigmatically engaged in `data-driven research.' Historians of early modern science have begun to emphasize its crucial role in the Scientific Revolution, and some observers of present day genomics see it as engaged in a return to natural history practices. A key concept that was developed to understand the dynamics of early modern natural history is that of `information overload.' Taxonomic systems, rules of nomenclature, and technical terminologies were developed in botany and zoology to catch up with the ever increasing amount of information on hitherto unknown plant and animal species. In our contribution, we want to expand on this concept. After all, the same people who complain about information overload are usually the ones who contribute to it most significantly. In order to understand this complex relationship, we will turn to the annotation practices of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707--1778). The very tools that Linnaeus developed to contain and reduce information overload, as we aim to demonstrate, facilitated a veritable information explosion that led to the emergence of a new research object in botany: the so-called `natural' system.

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Article Leonelli, S. (2012) Introduction: Making Sense of Data-Driven Research in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (p. 1). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Roguenant, Albert
Raynal-Roques, Aline
Lherminier, Philippe
Frängsmyr, Tore
Delage, Yves
Murariu, Dumitru
Noesis: Travaux du Comité Roumain d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Working Papers on The Nature of Evidence: How Well Do “Facts” Travel
Pour la Science
Princeton University Press
Cuvillier Verlag
Classification in biology
Terminology and nomenclature
Systematic botany
Natural history
Linnaeus, Carolus
Needham, Joseph
Lidbeck, Eric Gustaf
Malebranche, Nicolas de
von Schreber, Johann Christian Daniel
Maximilian, Alexander Philipp
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century
21st century
Uppsala Universitet
Lund. Universitet

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