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The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Document Academy

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Document Academy (DOCAM) was held in Toulon (France) on June 12–14. The event was hosted by the universities of Toulon and Aix-Marseille, through their joint research team IMSIC. The co-chairs, Fidelia Ibekwe, Kiersten F. Latham and Michel Durampart, presented the Document Academy as an open, transdisciplinary, “small but mighty” community. A documentary film on the origins of this spirit was shown, featuring interviews with founders Niels Windfeld Lund and Michael Buckland. This year’s DOCAM brought together authors from 11 countries to investigate the roads that documents have travelled, providing a rich topic for debate: “Documents in the data era: From multimedia, to augmented, hyper, enriched, and fragmented what else?”

Three keynote speakers tackled the scientific, organizational and social implications of documentation. Jonathan Furner examined the ontological consequences of document acts, their universality and creative power, in line with Barry Smith’s work. Wayne DeFremery argued the centrality of bibliography in society and its usefulness as a theoretical framework in digital humanities. Manuel Zacklad analyzed information design through the prism of documents for action and knowledge organization. In addition to the keynotes, a total of 20 presentations were given, including 4 creative works. 5 posters were presented. A panel concluded the conference, including demonstrations of ongoing experimental work on cultural heritage from local research teams.

As suggested by Ron Day in his talk, Library and Information Science (LIS) is the study of inscriptional technologies, their relationship with culture and their role in society. This was very much apparent in this year’s DOCAM, with special attention being given to the documentary power of things and the technological means of this power. The agentivity of documents and their impact on the ontology of social relations, investigated by Bernd Frohmann and Maurizio Ferraris’ respective works on documentality, were ever more present in the background (and sometimes the foreground) of almost all papers discussed during the conference.

Participants were keen to read more from the authors in the upcoming Proceedings, which are now indexed in Crossref. The next DOCAM will be held in London, Ontario (Canada) in 2020.