Rainer Kuhlen

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Rainer Kuhlen (born January 7, 1944 in Potsdam ) is a German information scientist .

Kuhlen is a former university professor for information science in the department of computer science and information science at the University of Konstanz . He resigned from office on March 31, 2010. In 1990, Kuhlen played a key role in founding the International Symposium on Information Science . With Hypertext (1992), Informationsmarkt (1995) and Informationsassistenten (1999) he published standard works for the information science study. He is married and has two children.


Rainer Kuhlen (2011)

Kuhlen studied philosophy, literature and sociology at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster . After an assistant in philosophy with Joachim Ritter 1969–1972, Kuhlen moved in 1972 to postgraduate training as an information scientist at the Central Office for Machine Documentation (ZMD) in Frankfurt am Main . Until 1979 he was a lecturer at the Teaching Institute for Documentation (LID) in Frankfurt am Main, received his doctorate in 1976 at the University of Regensburg , and three years later he took on a C4 professorship for Computational Linguistics at the University of Koblenz . In 1980, Kuhlen moved to the Chair of Information Science at the University of Konstanz, the first for this subject in Germany. Kuhlen is one of the few institutionalized information scientists. In 1990 he received the research award for technical communication for his work on hypertext .

Since around 2000, Kuhlen has been working increasingly on issues relating to information policy and ethics, for example, he dealt with digital rights management (DRM). In the immediate vicinity of P2P coined Kuhlen the Begriffsdichotomie the Napsterization and Venterisierung .

His research and teaching interests include experimental information retrieval , hypertext , Information Market / -Wirtschaft, electronic value-added / search services, forms of communication, information policy , information ethics , electronic dictionaries, Collaborative Knowledge Management and e-learning .

Since 1999 he has been a member of the Communication and Information Committee of the German UNESCO Commission (chairman until 2006) and owner of the UNESCO ORBICOM Chair in Communications for Germany. Within the framework of UNESCO, his priorities are information ethics, cultural and linguistic diversity, information literacy and copyright law .

Kuhlen is the main editor of the series of publications on information science of the University Association for Information Science (HI) (Universitätsverlag Konstanz); Co-editor of the series of articles on business informatics (university publisher ETH Zurich); Co-editor of the telecommunications and media services series (Josef Eul Verlag) and board member of the University Association for Information Science (HI). Since 2005 he has been the spokesman for the “Copyright for Education and Science” action alliance .

Knowledge ecology

Kuhlen is the main representative of the knowledge ecology approach in the German-speaking area. On the one hand, he developed this concept scientifically, based on James Boyle , on the other hand, he represented it politically on various occasions.

In this context, von Kuhlen connects knowledge with the concept of sustainability, whereby sustainability is not understood as a necessary scarcity - as in ecology - but as an approach to use resources in such a way that further development of society is possible. While in ecology this means dealing sustainably with raw materials, according to Kuhlen this would mean for knowledge to handle this socially in such a way that social and economic development is made possible while maintaining cultural diversity. From this approach, Kuhlen derives a need for the development of Open Access solutions and also calls for a regulation of copyright law that should allow the greatest possible dissemination of knowledge. In doing so, Kuhlen usually divides knowledge ecology into the following perspectives:

  • Environmental protection for the Internet (the Internet is understood as a space in which people - similar to nature - move together and influence this through their stay)
  • Information ecology (the global knowledge society as a unified space in which people and societies develop on the basis of knowledge)
  • functional perspective (reduction of informational asymmetries)
  • communication-ecological perspective (the mutual influence of communication technologies and human communication behavior)
  • future ethical perspective (the question of how knowledge can be passed on to future generations)
  • eco-social perspective (contributions to balancing development differences and differences in resource use between the global north and south)
  • knowledge-ecological perspective (sustainable management with knowledge)

The knowledge ecology can be understood as an independent school of German-language information science. In particular through the activities of Kuhlen as an expert, coordinator of the alliance “Copyright for Education and Science” and member of the German UNESCO Commission , this school gained a certain influence in the non-academic debates about Open Access.

Selection of works

  • Experimental Morphology in Information Science. Saur: Munich 1976. ISBN 978-3-7940-3624-0
  • Databases - Databases - Networks. (3 vol.) Saur: Munich 1979–1980. Volume 1 ISBN 3-598-10033-7 , Volume 2 ISBN 3-598-10034-5 , Volume 3 ISBN 3-598-10035-3
  • Coordination of information (ed.) Springer: Berlin 1984. (Informatik-Fachberichte 81) ISBN 3-540-12929-4
  • Information linguistics. Niemeyer: Munich 1986. ISBN 3-484-31915-1
  • Pragmatic aspects in the design and operation of information systems (ed. Together with Josef Herget ) Universitätsverlag Konstanz: Konstanz 1990. ISBN 3-87940-384-8
  • Knowledge-based information systems and information management (ed. Together with H. Killenberg; H.-J. Manecke) Universitätsverlag Konstanz: Konstanz 1991. ISBN 978-3-87940-412-4
  • Hypertext. A non-linear medium between book and knowledge base. Edition SEL Foundation. Springer: Berlin 1991. ISBN 978-3-540-53566-9
  • Experimental and practical information retrieval: Festschrift for Gerhard Lustig (ed.). UVK: Konstanz, 1992. ISBN 3-87940-417-8
  • Hypertext - Information Retrieval - Multimedia: Synergy Effects of Electronic Information Systems (ed. Together with M. Rittberger). UVK: Konstanz, 1995. ISBN 3-87940-509-3
  • Information market - opportunities and risks of the commercialization of knowledge. Universitätsverlag Konstanz: Konstanz 1995. ISBN 978-3-87940-529-9
  • The Internet's moon landing. The 1998 Bundestag election in electronic forms of communication. University Press Konstanz: Konstanz 1998; Among employees by Oliver Bendel . ISBN 978-3-87940-654-8
  • R. Kuhlen (Ed.): Information Engineering. Proceedings of the 4th Konstanz Information Science Colloquium (KIK ', 9). Universitätsverlag Konstanz (UVK), Konstanz 1999. ISBN 978-3-87940-699-9
  • The consequences of information assistants. What does informational autonomy mean or how can trust be secured in electronic markets? Suhrkamp-Verlag (stw): Frankfurt 1999. ISBN 978-3-518-29043-9
  • G.Knorz ; R.Kuhlen (Hrsg.): Information competence - basic competence in the information society. Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Information Science. Universitätsverlag Konstanz (UVK), Konstanz 2000. ISBN 3-87940-753-3
  • Ed., Together with Thomas Seeger and D. Strauch: Basics of practical information and documentation, 5th edition. KG Saur: Munich 2004. ISBN 978-3-598-11674-2
  • Information ethics - dealing with knowledge and information. UVK: Konstanz 2004. (UB 2454) ISBN 978-3-8252-2454-7
  • Successful Failure - A Götterdämmerung of Copyright ?. Verlag Werner Hülsbusch: Boizenburg 2008. (Writings on information science 48) ISBN 978-3-940317-21-6


  • K3 - Collaborative E-Learning Environment for University Use (2007)

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Kuhlen, Rainer: Knowledge Ecology , in: ders. / Seeger, Thomas / Strauch, Dietmar: Basics of practical information and documentation . Munich, 5th ed., 2004, pp. 105-113 PDF
  2. See Kuhlen, Rainer: Informationsethik. Handling knowledge and information in electronic spaces . Constance, 2004
  3. a b c Kuhlen, Rainer: Wissenökologie , in: ders .: Successful failure - a twilight of the gods of copyright? Konstanz, 2008, pp. 429–456 PDF
  4. See Kuhlen, Rainer: Building Blocks for the Development of a Knowledge Ecology - Plea for a Sustainable View of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) , 2002