Archive for the ‘knowledge’ tag

Iconic Knowledge, Iconic KO*   no comments

“Iconic .…” According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online the word means “Of or pertaining to an icon, image, figure, or representation; of the nature of a portrait.” The first usage reported there was in 1656. OED also has variant definitions for “use in worship” and Semiotics. Ah, there we are: … “pertaining to or resembling an icon” (first usage reported in 1939. And finally: “designating a person or thing regarded as representative of a culture or movement; important or influential in a particular (cultural) context.” WordNet has: “relating to or having the characteristics of an icon.”

We all know, I hope, what an icon is. I have many that I have collected on my travels to Crete. In Orthodox spirituality, these icons are pathways to prayer. It is a bit difficult to explain, but the idea is that in praying with an icon (by focusing on the figures in meditative prayer) the saint in the icon is able to enter your consciousness and become a vector for your prayer.

The word has become ubiquitous in the news these days, to mean “emblematic.” I have to laugh, because once not so long ago when I used the word “iconic” in a manuscript I was told it would not be understood by LIS readers (people, mostly, with PhDs). At the same time I was writing regularly for the Philadelphia Gay News with instructions to write at a fourth grade reading level, and of course, the word “iconic” was part of that vocabulary. Well, we hear the word constantly these days. Unfortunately, that means it has lost a lot of its meaning as it has become colloquially “iconic.” It should mean “stands for a gate to spirituality.” Too often instead it just means “looks familiar.”

In KO what does the word mean? In KO it preserves aspects of its original connotation: something precious that is a gateway to better understanding, particularly with regard to visualization of culturally representative entities.

How do we at IKOS turn our own work into iconic work? We are rooted in empirical methods. Our work is eminently replicable. We report our references impeccably. For us, references are the evidence that what we describe is truly representative of a concept. Dahlberg implied and other since have written that the concept was the “atomic” element of knowledge organization (Dahlberg 2006; Smiraglia and Van den Heuvel 2013). This means that concepts paint pictures in people’s brains, those pictures are shared culturally, and from the very tiniest impression (what Peirce (1991, 181) might have called a “representamen”), the shared conception grows. There is “cultural synergy” (Smiraglia 2014)—the concept enters a knowledge organization system (KOS) that is itself a cultural disseminator and thus the concept becomes part of the cultural consciousness. This is then the iconic status of a concept.

At IKOS we are dedicated to sorting out the particularities of concepts, including the concept of “iconic.” We invite you to help us reclaim this critical term from public incoherence.

References

Dahlberg, Ingetraut. 2006. “Knowledge Organization: A New Science?” Knowledge Organization 33: 11-19.

Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.v. “Iconic,” accessed 12 October 2019. https://www-oed-com.ezproxy.lib.uwm.edu/view/Entry/90882?rskey=ZPEl2n&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid

Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1991. Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic, ed. by James Hoopes. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Pr.

Smiraglia, Richard P. and Charles van den Heuvel. 2013. “Classifications and Concepts: Towards an Elementary Theory of Knowledge Interaction.” Journal of Documentation 69: 360-83.

WordNet. Search 3.1, s.v. “Iconic.”accessed 12 October 2019. https://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/

*Published in print as: Smiraglia, Richard P. 2019. “Iconic Knowledge, Iconic KO.” IKOS Bulletin 1, no.1 : 6-7.

Written by admin on October 10th, 2022

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Zins’ Pillars (originally posted 1-25-2009)   no comments

Posted at 8:42 pm in domain analysis

In Spring of 2008 there was a lively discussion on ISKO-L concerning Zins’ method for creating the pillars in his worldmap of human knowledge, which is a sort of classification/encyclopedia KOS. Sort of. Here are the comments as I archived them at the time.bh_cz-pillars

Written by lazykoblog on November 17th, 2010

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