The modernity of classification

Jens‐Erik Mai (Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 26 July 2011



The purpose of this paper is to explore the modernity of current classification theory and work, and outline a foundation for moving classification toward a late‐modern conception.


The paper examines the conceptual foundation for current modern classification work, provides critical analysis of that approach, and outlines three conflicts with modernity that shape the path out of the consequences of modernity.


The paper presents an understanding of classification that establishes classification on a late‐modern epistemology, and it lays the contours of how to reclaim the intellectual core of classification theory and work.


The paper establishes a foundation for rethinking classification work, outlines consequences of current mainstream work, and provides concept for developing late‐modern classification theory and practice.



Jens‐Erik Mai (2011) "The modernity of classification", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 67 No. 4, pp. 710-730

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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