The Role of Middle Range Publications in the Development of Engineering Knowledge
This paper explores the role of publications in the development of engineering knowledge. Previous studies of scientific and technical publications tend to assume that engineers are like scientists in their use of scientific journals as a means of communicating new technical knowledge. But science differs from technology and we should not expect scientists and engineers to use the same sources of knowledge. We contend that previous studies of publications have been flawed because they ignore other forms of publication more suited to the communication of technical and engineering knowledge. This paper argues that technologists use "middle range" publications to exchange knowledge and explore implications of their technological experiences. By providing more visual images, experience-based reports and background information on technologies and products, middle range publications better reflect the ways in which engineers think and work. They allow for visual conversations and support visual communities. The paper provides a detailed exploration of the role of middle range publications and suggests a framework for future research on patterns of publication by technologists and engineers.
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