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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1990

BERND FROHMANN

A rule‐governed derivation of an indexing phrase from the text of a document is, in Wittgenstein's sense, a practice, rather than a mental operation explained by reference…

Abstract

A rule‐governed derivation of an indexing phrase from the text of a document is, in Wittgenstein's sense, a practice, rather than a mental operation explained by reference to internally represented and tacitly known rules. Some mentalistic proposals for theory in information retrieval are criticised in light of Wittgenstein's remarks on following a rule. The conception of rules as practices shifts the theoretical significance of the social role of retrieval practices from the margins to the centre of enquiry into foundations of information retrieval. The abstracted notion of a cognitive act of ‘information processing’ deflects attention from fruitful directions of research.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2002

Clare Beghtol

New technologies have made the increased globalization of information resources and services possible. In this situation, it is ethically and intellectually beneficial to…

Abstract

New technologies have made the increased globalization of information resources and services possible. In this situation, it is ethically and intellectually beneficial to protect cultural and information diversity. This paper analyzes the problems of creating ethically based globally accessible and culturally acceptable knowledge representation and organization systems, and foundation principles for the ethical treatment of different cultures are established on the basis of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The concept of “cultural hospitality”, which can act as a theoretical framework for the ethical warrant of knowledge representation and organization systems, is described. This broad discussion is grounded with an extended example of one cultural universal, the concept of time and its expression in calendars. Methods of achieving cultural and user hospitality in information systems are discussed for their potential for creating ethically based systems. It is concluded that cultural hospitality is a promising concept for assessing the ethical foundations of new knowledge representation and organization systems and for planning revisions to existing systems.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 58 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1986

CLARE BEGHTOL

A strong definition of aboutness and a theory of its role in information retrieval systems have not been developed. Such a definition and theory may be extracted from the…

Abstract

A strong definition of aboutness and a theory of its role in information retrieval systems have not been developed. Such a definition and theory may be extracted from the work of T. A. van Dijk. This paper discusses some of the implications of van Dijk's work for bibliographic classification theory. Two kinds of intertextuality are identified: that between documents classified in the same class of the same classification system; and that between the classification system as a text in its own right and the documents that are classified by it. Consideration of the two kinds of intertextuality leads to an investigation of the linguistic/cognitive processes that have been called the ‘translation’ of a document topic into a classificatory language. A descriptive model of the cognitive process of classifying documents is presented. The general design of an empirical study to test this model is suggested, and some problems of implementing such a study are briefly identified. It is concluded that further investigation of the relationships between text linguistics and classification theory and practice might reveal other fruitful intersections between the two fields.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

CLARE BEGHTOL

Undiscovered public knowledge is a relatively unstudied phenomenon, and the few extended examples that have been published are intradisciplinary. This paper presents the…

Abstract

Undiscovered public knowledge is a relatively unstudied phenomenon, and the few extended examples that have been published are intradisciplinary. This paper presents the concept of ‘facet’ as an example of interdisciplinary undiscovered public knowledge. ‘Facets’ were central to the bibliographic classification theory of S.R. Ranganathan in India and to the behavioural research of L. Guttman in Israel. The term had the same meaning in both fields, and the concept was developed and exploited at about the same time in both, but two separate, unconnected literatures grew up around the term and its associated concepts. This paper examines the origins and parallel uses of the concept and the term in both fields as a case study of interdisciplinary knowledge that could have been, but was apparently not, discovered any time between the early 1950s and the present using simple, readily available information retrieval techniques.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 51 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Book part
Publication date: 20 July 2017

José Augusto Chaves Guimarães

The purpose of this chapter is to characterize knowledge organization (KO) as a field that is affected by geographic and diachronic variations in such a way that the…

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to characterize knowledge organization (KO) as a field that is affected by geographic and diachronic variations in such a way that the recognition of a slanted KO could be considered an ethical option in the KO theory and practice. KO can be considered a dynamic social product that reflects a construction that is altered in space and time. Slants are inherent to any organization of knowledge and are manifested in multiple dimensions. There is a need to find a balance between the respect for the local specificities and the necessity of global access to information. Conceptual and terminological time and space slants in KO are presented. Examples of possible day-by-day searches are analyzed in order to evidence the different cultures that are involved in the different social-linguistic characteristics. The recognition of time and space as operational axes for an ethical approach to a slanted KO is important because: (a) it tries to intervene in represented and possibly disseminated biases that are practiced so far; (b) it recognizes the coexistence of diverse groups and communities, with local characteristics, meanings, and idiosyncrasies, that will need to communicate with each other in global information systems of information; and (c) it can promote an intercultural ethics of mediation, culturally warranted, in order to avoid cultural damages and to guarantee that descriptions can reflect the past while keeping an eye in the future, based on KOS whose functionality remains over time.

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The Organization of Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-531-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1997

Andrew MacEwan

If library users are expected to reserve, renew, issue and return books without the intervention of library staff, they must surely be expected to select the items…

Abstract

If library users are expected to reserve, renew, issue and return books without the intervention of library staff, they must surely be expected to select the items themselves as well. Andrew MacEwan describes how a new fiction indexing initiative by the British Library will offer subject‐based access to fiction, to allow users to use subject matter as the basis of choice in the same way as non‐fiction.

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VINE, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Mike Freeman

Abstract

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New Library World, vol. 107 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

BIRGER HJØRLAND

This article presents a theoretical investigation of the concept of ‘subject’ or ‘subject matter’ in library and information science. Most conceptions of ‘subject’ in the…

Abstract

This article presents a theoretical investigation of the concept of ‘subject’ or ‘subject matter’ in library and information science. Most conceptions of ‘subject’ in the literature are not explicit but implicit. Various indexing and classification theories, including automatic indexing and citation indexing, have their own more or less implicit concepts of subject. This fact puts the emphasis on making the implicit theories of ‘subject matter’ explicit as the first step. A very close connection exists between what subjects are, and how we are to know them. Those researchers who place the subjects in the minds of the users have a conception of ‘subject’ different to that possessed by those who regard the subject as a fixed property of the documents. The key to the definition of the concept of ‘subject’ lies in the epistemological investigation of how we are going to know what we need to know about documents in order to describe them in a way which facilitates information retrieval. The second step therefore is an analysis of the implicit epistemological conceptions in the major existing conceptions of ‘subject’. The different conceptions of ‘subject’ can therefore be classified into epistemological positions, e.g. ‘subjective idealism’ (or the empiric/positivistic viewpoint), ‘objective idealism’ (the rationalistic viewpoint), ‘pragmatism’ and ‘materialism/ realism’. The third and final step is to propose a new theory of subject matter based on an explicit theory of knowledge. In this article this is done from the point of view of a realistic/materialistic epistemology. From this standpoint the subject of a document is defined as the epistemological potentials of that document.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 48 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1988

ROY RADA, HAFEDH MILI, GARY LETOURNEAU and DOUG JOHNSTON

An indexing language is made more accessible to searchers and indexers by the presence of entry terms or near‐synonyms. This paper first presents an evaluation of existing…

Abstract

An indexing language is made more accessible to searchers and indexers by the presence of entry terms or near‐synonyms. This paper first presents an evaluation of existing entry terms and then presents and tests a strategy for creating entry terms. The key tools in the evaluation of the entry terms are documents already indexed into the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and an automatic indexer. If the automatic indexer can better map the title to the index terms with the use of entry terms than without entry terms, then the entry terms have helped. Sensitive assessment of the automatic indexer requires the introduction of measures of conceptual closeness between the computer and human output. With the tools described in this paper, one can systematically demonstrate that certain entry terms have ambiguous meanings. In the selection of new entry terms another controlled vocabulary or thesaurus, called the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED), was consulted. An algorithm for mapping terms from SNOMED to MeSH was implemented and evaluated with the automatic indexer. The new SNOMED‐based entry terms did not help indexing but did show how new concepts might be identified which would constitute meaningful amendments to MeSH. Finally, an improved algorithm for combining two thesauri was applied to the Computing Reviews Classification Structure (CRCS) and MeSH. CRCS plus MeSH supported better indexing than did MeSH alone.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 44 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Lynnsey Weissenberger

– The purpose of this paper is to present a new framework for representing music for information retrieval that emphasizes socio-cultural aspects of music.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a new framework for representing music for information retrieval that emphasizes socio-cultural aspects of music.

Design/methodology/approach

Philosophical and theoretical concepts related to the nature of music, aboutness, musical works are explored as they inform how music is represented. Multidisciplinary perspectives on music information representation, classification, and retrieval provide insight into how information science can better accommodate music information within its disciplinary boundaries.

Findings

A new term, music information object (MIO), is presented and defined. Downie’s (2003) theoretical statements are reconceptualized into a theory of representational incompleteness and three meta-classes for music information object representation.

Practical implications

This new framework incorporates more dimensions of music representation than existing frameworks allow and can facilitate comparisons between classifications of MIO representations by music practitioners, scholars, and system developers.

Originality/value

The meta-classes form a much-needed theoretical framework for classifying and defining MIOs from any musical tradition for retrieval. This fills a gap in music information retrieval research, which lacks a theoretical framework that can accommodate musics from all traditions without attempting to organize them according to a western-centered understanding.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 71 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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