Posted to the Ethnos Project by on July 3rd, 2015

Traditional library practice focuses on print collections and developing collections of materials that have been published, which means the documents have gone through some kind of review or vetting process. This practice leaves a wide swath of potential knowledge out of the collection. For example, indigenous knowledge, beliefs, and experience are different, in that they do not undergo the same review or vetting process; we might refer to these types of content as wisdom. Non-print collections, such as collections of recorded oral histories, represent less traditional forms of knowledge. Human libraries push the boundaries further in the quest to integrate wisdom and lived experience into library collections. This paper delineates the relationship between wisdom and knowledge that arose during a phenomenological study of the everyday information practices of Kenyan university women. The women were asked to photograph everyday events from their life and describe what they saw. One finding was a divergent presentation of wisdom and knowledge. Because the women were describing this in relation to their education, we assert that this demonstrates a need to reconsider positivist assumptions in library science, bringing what the women called wisdom into the stacks. How, though, can wisdom be stored and shared?

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