[Air-L] Are 'categories' the same as 'genres'?

j berzowska j.berzowska at gmail.com
Sun Jan 15 20:16:28 PST 2012

Ravi - As mentioned, there are different types of genres (document
genres, literary genres, movie genres, etc.). While document genres in
particular are seen to be shifting in digital form, we still have a
fairly clear idea of the shared meaning they convey. Memos, FAQs and
comment forms all bring with them some degree of structure and common
understanding. Such genres are also thought to develop in part as a
reaction to our understanding of their purpose. Movie genres evolve in
much the same way.

So, genres are thought of as fluid and culturally-based. They are also
difficult to identify and track (You'll find several interesting
perspectives in Genres on the Web, Vol. 42 in the Springer series on
Text, Speech and Language Technology).

Several disciplines study the organization and representation of
information on the web, including knowledge organization, information
retrieval and information architecture. They provide in-depth
background on the ideas you are discussing, including practical
concerns around how terms are assigned to objects, and the degree to
which they help us find and understand things.


Justyna Berzowska
SLAIS PhD student
University of British Columbia

> Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 10:44:59 -1000
> From: Kevin Crowston <crowston at syr.edu>
> To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] Are 'categories' the same as 'genres'?
> My colleagues and I have done a fair amount of research on web genres. You can see our papers at http://genres.syr.edu/ and a google search will turn up a number more (e.g., mini-tracks in past years at the HICSS conference).
> We were interested in these genres because we though it could be useful for understanding how people used the web and for supporting better information access (e.g., searching for a review vs. a purchase page for a product).
> But our experience with empirical studies suggests that it's a hard to use genres systematically. First, pages rarely represent what genre they represent. Second, users of web pages seem to use genre information, but often can't name the genre of a page they're looking at, and if they can say, they can't say how they know.
> I think we might be using a different definition of genre though: we were drawing on rhetoric and looking for genres like box score, product review, news article, organizational home page, etc. I get the sense that your definition is broader: comedy, tragedy perhaps?
> On 12-Jan-2012, at 12:28 PM, air-l-request at listserv.aoir.org wrote:
>> Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 15:16:37 -0800
>> From: "Ravindra N. Mohabeer" <mohabeerlists at gmail.com>
>> To: Air-L at listserv.aoir.org
>> Subject: [Air-L] Are 'categories' the same as 'genres'?
>> Message-ID: <A08C4F4B-D083-4883-AC40-6779C012FE5F at gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>> Hello,
>> Forgive me if this has been covered previously but a thought occurred to me just now as I prepped for my night course (yuck!) called "Understanding Television."
>> I wondered how students today make sense of the notion of 'genre' and then I thought, well since most of them don't watch TV over the air (or cable or satellite) and get TV shows online (a whole other issue as to whether or not that's the same as watching TV), it makes sense to think of it in digital terms.
>> So then I got to thinking, how do genres get represented on the Internet - through database categories used for indexing? Through site producers file structures? Through tagging? If so, how do we deal with the semantic arbitrariness of tagging between individual users?
>> Even if categories are what can be considered genres today, do the different types of content that appear on various manifestations of the Internet fall into the same categories as other 'traditional media'? What are the genres in the age of the Internet and are they same as they ever were or altogether new?
>> In this case it's just a question out of curiosity.
>> Ravi
>> ---------------------------------------
>> Ravindra N. Mohabeer, PhD
>> Media Studies
>> Vancouver Island University
>> Nanaimo, BC CANADA
>> ravindra.mohabeer at viu.ca
>> ---------------------------------------
> Kevin Crowston
> Syracuse University                                     Phone:  +1 (315) 443-1676
> School of Information Studies                   Fax:    +1 (815) 550-2155
> 348 Hinds Hall                                          Web:    http://crowston.syr.edu/
> Syracuse, NY   13244-4100   USA

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