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A SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF CLASSIFICATION AND INDEXING AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

J.E.L. FARRADANE, B.Sc., A.R.C.S. (Scientific Information Officer Tate & Lyle Research Laboratories)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 February 1950

Abstract

SUMMARY A classification is a theory of the structure of knowledge. From a discussion of the nature of truth, it is held that scientific knowledge is the only knowledge which can be regarded as true. The method of induction from empirical data is therefore applied to the construction of a classification. Items of knowledge are divided into uniquely definable terms, called isolates, and the relations between them, called operators. It is shown that only four basic operators exist, expressing appurtenance, equivalence, reaction, and causation; using symbols for these operators, all subjects can be analysed in a linear form called an analet. With the addition of the permissible permutations of such analets, formed according to simple rules, alphabetical arrangement of the first terms provides a complete, logical subject index. Examples are given, and possible difficulties are considered. A classification can then be constructed by selection of deductive relations, arranged in hierarchical form. The nature of possible classifications is discussed. It is claimed that such an inductively constructed classification is the only true representation of the structure of knowledge, and that these principles provide a simple technique for accurately and fully indexing and classifying any given set of data, with complete flexibility.

Citation

FARRADANE, J.E.L. (1950), "A SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF CLASSIFICATION AND INDEXING AND ITS PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 83-99. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb026155

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1950, MCB UP Limited