The purpose of this article is to explore some of the biases that affect the classification of Welsh art materials and to examine how they are being perpetuated both in library classification systems and beyond.
A discourse analysis, in the loosest sense, was used to explore the research topic. Using a hermeneutic and interpretative approach facilitated an examination of some of the tacit assumptions and conceptions that shape the way in which Welsh art is spoken about, thought about, and generally represented.
The paper explores biases in the classification of Welsh art in relation to the analytical categories of dispersion, dilettantism, and depreciation. Evidence is drawn from three examples of discursive practice: the application of Library of Congress subject headings in the library in Howard Gardens; the Salisbury Collection classification scheme at Cardiff University; and the descriptive text taken from the web site of the National Museum, Cardiff. The paper concludes with a discussion of the nature of classification, and the role of the information professional as active player in the practice of representation in and through various methods of classification.
The paper contributes to the literature of classification bias. The focus on the specific rather than the more general biases both adds to Olsen and Schlegl's work and reflects a sensitivity to the subject matter itself. The paper also contributes to the literature at a methodological level in its use of a hermeneutic and interpretative analytical framework to explore representation in classification.
Ragaller, I. and Rafferty, P. (2012), "Biases in the classification of Welsh art material: Dispersion, dilettantism and depreciation", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 64 No. 3, pp. 262-273. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012531211244563Download as .RIS
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