Posthumous PhD Award for Dr Christopher Serbutt: Documentation and the Museum Object

This text was originally posted by David Bawden on his blog

A rather sad post for the first one after a break. CityLIS PhD student Christopher Serbutt sadly died last year, after a long period of ill-health, so that there was a posthumous award.

Titled The changing place of information: an examination and evaluation of how the context in which an object is set affects the information which it conveys, this is one of a number of CityLIS PhD studies applying the ideas of document theory to different forms of object. In this case, Chris applied the ideas of ‘object as document’, introduced by Paul Otlet and Suzanne Briet, and developed by Michael Buckland and Kiersten Latham, to objects in museums. Data was gathered by observing and encoding the interactions of visitors with objects displayed in the British Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and by interviews with curators.

The sad circumstances mean that the work was not developed as far as any of us would have wished, but it is still a very worthwhile contribution to information and document studies. Chris’s thesis can be found in the Humanities Commons repository, at

About lyn

Dr Lyn Robinson is Reader in Library & Information Science, and Head of Department at City, University of London. She established and directs the Library School, and co-directs the Centre for Information Science alongside Prof David Bawden. Contact:
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