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Information Classification Systems

How can we meaningfully classify large collection of knowledge works (books, web sites, whatever)?

Kinds of Design Information

Eekels [Eek00] defines 4 kinds of information for decision making (in design):

  1. factual information
  2. intuitively guessed factual information to address deficits in (1)
  3. normative information against which factual information is evaluated, and
  4. methodic information about processing information in (1-3), to reach a decision.

Classification frameworks

Classification frameworks help organise bodies of knowledge, which in turn can encourage reflection on those bodies of knowledge. This can help identify new opportunities for interesting research (Hey! Look at that big gap in our body of knowledge that we'd've never noticed without having organised all the stuff we know!)

There are three families of classification systems:

  • The Dewey Decimal System typically used in libraries. It is prescriptively defined, and therefore static, and hierarchical. It is described here.
  • Other systems, like the Yahoo Classification System – in all its variations – popular on web portals and directory services.
    • The Yahoo hierarchy is really more of a network, because every category has some common features that require cross-category linking. These common features are like facets.
    • The actual categories in the Yahoo system, however, are entirely different from the general library classication arising from colon classification.

See Also


[Eek00]. J. Eekels. 2000. On the fundamentals of engineering design science: The geography of engineering design science. Part 1. J. Eng. Design, 11(4):377-397, 2000.
research/information_classification_systems.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)