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Undiscovered Public Knowledge

Don R. Swanson
The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy
Vol. 56, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), pp. 103-118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4307965
Page Count: 16
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Undiscovered Public Knowledge
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Abstract

Knowledge can be public, yet undiscovered, if independently created fragments are logically related but never retrieved, brought together, and interpreted. Information retrieval, although essential for assembling such fragments, is always problematic. The search process, like a scientific theory, can be criticized and improved, but can never be verified as capable of retrieving all information relevant to a problem or theory. This essential incompleteness of search and retrieval therefore makes possible, and plausible, the existence of undiscovered public knowledge. Three examples intended to throw light on the logic of undiscovered knowledge are constructed and analyzed. The argument is developed within the framework of a Popperian or critical approach within science and on Popper's distinction between subjective and objective knowledge--the distinction between World 2 and World 3.

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