Top level categories

One could argue that Classification is a form of Knowledge Representation and should therefore not be shown as a top-level category. On the other, if that’s the way communities want to form, should it make a difference? One hope I have for this blog is that as a community of knowledge organisers, we should be exemplars of good practice. I am also interested in how people would answer the the question?


2 Responses to Top level categories

  1. bbater says:


    I think you make a valid point here, but one which serves more than anything else to show that the distinctions upon which classifications are based are often arbitrary, and that acceptance is socially constructed.

    OK, classification is a form of knowledge representation, but one which is confined to representing knowledge via a linguistic label. Much richer forms of knowledge representation are available, which don’t stop at terms, but include semantic references and conceptual relationships – even relationship roles – as well, such as thesauri and ontologies.

    But your basic point is well-made. What should our top-level categories be?


  2. trendmonitor2 says:

    Classification does not happen purely or even most commonly via linguistic labels. People (and animals) look for similarities and differences without having words for them. This item — whether object, concept, ontology, person, subject, topic — feels like, looks like it belongs in this pile of stuff, not that one … not sure why yet, but I’ll put it here. From this process, patterns begin to emerge. Bottom up taxonomy design relies on this pre-linguistic capability. Even the ‘ledge’ in knowledge derives from ledger, a form of classification. I agree that classification is a more or less formal social construction, but that doesn’t mean that getting it right is not important, nor that it is easy. Indeed, I could go so far as to say that without classification, there is no knowledge.
    As for the top level categories, I think we should treat them as a simple list of Communities as defined by their members, so we don’t have to worry about levels and categories at all. If the list gets too long then we can think of ways of breaking it down.

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