This was an all-day workshop focusing “on the enduring aspects of classification/subject analysis and the presence of those aspects in commonly used methods, especially those we encounter in our daily lives” (program). Papers are available in DLIST.
Welcome from Joan Lussky, Program Chair.
Keynote, Hope Olson, “Cultural infrastructure: the story of how classification came to shape our lives.” [Word doc available at DLIST]
3 main features of classification:
- mutually exclusive categories
Mutually exclusive categories
- began (traceably, at least) with Parmenides – “what is is, what is not …”
- Jean d’Alembert – Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedie – impenetrability
- Durkheim & Mauss – determined lines of demarcation
Teleology – Plato
- not sure of the direct connection on this one as got caught up in her loose use of “teleology” and made no notes here. People are certainly free to do what they want with words, but if they are going to take a technical word from one domain and use it differently in another then they ought to carefully explain what they mean by it. Dr. Olson uses “teleology” frequently but with what meaning exactly? If she means that all classifications have a purpose then that is, no doubt, very true and important to remind people of. But that use is vastly broader than what Plato meant and would be much more clearly conveyed by simply saying that all classifications have and serve a purpose. This kind of (mis)attribution of a newer use of a term or phrase to someone previous is something Dr. Olson perfected in The Power to Name. It is also what caused me to stop reading a bit over halfway through.
Bacon – Hegel – Harris – Dewey
Aristotle – Hierarchy via Syllogism
more on hierarchy
classificatory tentacles reach beyond philosophy
Classification is ubiquitous – lots of interesting stuff on planetary classification, hurricane classification(s), race and vital statistics, the ICD, American Time Use SUrvey’s Activity Lexicon, etc.
- non-bibliographic classifications give insight to classificatory structure
- some research has already begun, e.g., Cheryl Knott Malone on the NAICS
Barbara Kwasnik – planets – instances vs. classes
Dagobert Soergel – mutual exclusivity is almost always artificial. (Amen!)
Cherly Knott Malone – planet example is great in relation to Hope’s early work, i.e., the “classical planets” are those from Earthling’s perspective
Morning lead speaker, Emma Tonkin, “Signal and noise: Social construction and representation.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
Em had to rush through her presentation in spots and there is much on language in it so I will sit down and give it a close reading before commenting on it. Based on the presentation I can and will recommend it.
Pengyi Zhang, “Supporting sense-making with tools for structuring a concept space: A proposal for design and evaluation.” [Word doc available from DLIST]
Not much to say on this one based on the presentation. Could be a good idea but we are a long way and several design cycles away from anything that does better than just getting in the way. And what about non-web-based sources?
Tiffany Smith, “Cataloging and you: Measuring the efficacy of a folksonomy for subject analysis.” [Word doc available at DLIST]
Compared LCSH versus top tags for 5 books in LibraryThing.
Five minute madness – descriptions of the posters and why we should be interested in them
Hur-Li Lee, et. al. “Reflecting and shaping world views: Historical treatments in classification.” [Word doc available at DLIST]
Erik Mitchell, “Organization as meta-literacy: Evaluating student use of metadata and information organization principles in the classroom.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
Bradley Wade Bishop, “Organizing geographic information: the creation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
Melinda Whetstone, ” Status of health information classification for consumer information retrieval.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
Lunch and posters
Thomas Dousa, “Everything old is new again: perspectivism and polyhierarchy in Julius Otto Kaiser’s theory of systematic indexing.” [Word doc available at DLIST]
Excellent paper and presentation that shows the value of a century old view of indexing that has much relevance for today due to its view of perspectivism and polyhierarchy.
Mikel Breitenstein, “Push and pull in ‘the attention economy.'” [Word doc available in DLIST]
While interesting, what was the connection? Sure, on one description we do live in an attention economy. But seeing as it was pointed out that this view “presents a questionable world social model” and that it “separates need from want,” that is, the “poor need attention” and the “wealthy want attention,” why should we in IS consider it a valid model in any respect? And, again, what is the connection to classification?
Afternoon lead speaker, Corinne Jörgensen, “Image access, the semantic gap, and social tagging as a paradigm shift.” [Word doc available at DLIST]
Semantic gap takes many forms – her use is as the difference between the description of an object in different languages, e.g., a picture of an apple vs. a histogram of the image. [Except while a photograph may qualify as a description of the object photographed, it is debatable. In what way can a histogram of a photograph be said to be a description of the apple?]
Images are multivalent
While I am not a physicist by any means, uses “entropy” in a way completely counter to my understanding, and to the use by Bates in her 2005 and 2006 articles on the definition of information. Is this another case of people expropriating concepts from other domains and then using them in ways in which they were not meant to be used. My guess is that her use comes via or through the Shannon model of communication and gets torqued in that way.
Caroline Beebe, “Bridging the semantic gap: exploring descriptive vocabulary for image structure.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
Disconnect between the:
- physical data (binary code)
- conceptual interpretation (intellectual code of the searcher)
Cheryl Knott Malone, “When more is better: a counter-narrative regarding keyword and subject retrieval in digitized diaries.” [Word doc available in DLIST]
“Just read it.” Well, no. Read it and think about it.
Wrap-up: Lussky, Jörgensen, Olson, Tonkin
Jörgensen: Due to entropy, the organization of information causes loss of information [see my comment above on her paper]. What are the limits of each technique?
Olson: Two themes:
- Context (social, cultural, individual, disciplinary)
- Structure, or lack thereof
So, “how are context and structure related?”
All in all, an interesting day.