Archive for the ‘UDC’ tag

Doubly thrilled   no comments

Posted at 6:00 pm in classification

Classification interaction is empirically demonstrated, and I’m thrilled about that. For the “Big Data” workshop at SIG/CR I proposed a preliminary survey research project in which a sample of the nine million UDC numbers in the WorldCat would be used to match deconstructed components of the UDC expressions to content-designated components of the respective bibliographic records. The purpose was to learn about the interrelationship between a faceted classification and the artifacts it represents. All of the variables (except age of work) were nominal-level, so I used Chi-squared to look for statistically-significant correlations. It was thrilling to find correlations all through the study. Results (and definitions of all of these terms!) are in the paper “Big Classification: Using the Empirical Power of Classification Interaction” in the 2013 SIG/CR Proceedings (or will be). The outcome is preliminary but exciting nonetheless.

But just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I took one more look at the largest results table and realized it was revealing a network among the correlations. I was therefore doubly thrilled (with some coaching from Laura Ridenour) to be able to create a visualization of that network structure using Gephi 0.8.2. Here is an early version (not the one that appears in the paper):bigudc

Written by lazykoblog on December 8th, 2013

Tagged with , , , ,

More Otlet … a lot more!   no comments

Posted at 6:03 pm in facets,interdisciplinarity,KO

It was recently my great honor to participate as an examiner in defense of a new Ph.D. dissertation by Wouter Van Acker, at the University of Ghent in Belgium. Interestingly enough, the dissertation was produced in the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. The title of the work is Universalism as Utopia: A Historical Study of the Schemes and Schemas of Paul Otlet (1868-1944).

I want to draw attention to the work in a couple of ways. First, I think the dissertation is not to be made public through deposit, so we should make all conscious efforts to urge the author to publish the work. It is an immense synthesis of Otlet’s career, and includes many illustrations from his papers at the Mundaneum and elsewhere. There is immense value in both the compilation and the sensitive synthesis. So, keep an eye peeled for dissemination of this work. I won’t even attempt to review the work here, but I do want to draw attention to it.

I was interested as a participant to see how wide-ranging a discussion we had about the disciplinary roots of this research. Of course, many of Otlet’s “schemes and schemas” were systems for knowledge organization. As I read the dissertation, and as I pondered how to participate in the conversation, I kept reminding myself that the document was not produced in an iSchool division of knowledge organization, because it might well have been. Certainly much of the work of Otlet, even that explicitly directed at the founding of a world-city, was essentially an extension of knowledge organization. What I take, then, from the conversation, is a renewed sense of the critical importance of knowledge organization as substrate for everything else.

I also was quite specifically interested in the physical specifications of space for knowledge repositories. That is, Otlet’s ideas about how to organize everything, from a seaside resort to a movable museum, reflected a sense of the human in the physical space surrounded by knowledge, and thus the organization of the knowledge was more than just an abstraction, it was also structure in which human activity could take place. That was a pretty common idea, I think, at the turn of the 20th century. We see it in Martel’s 7 Points for the Library of Congress Classification, for instance. And there are many other examples of classifications designed to fit specific physical spaces. KOS as architecture, literally, in other words. I think there is a fascinating set of historical hypotheses in there somewhere.

Questions also arose about the UDC, and based on my work with the Knowledge Space Lab (tracing the growth and evolution of the UDC over time;, I found myself wondering about dimensionality and facets. That is, if faceted KOS have the possibility of facilitating multidimensional knowledge representation, and I’m certain they do, then why do we get the usual list of suspects in the UDC (space, time, language, and so forth). I think my question is too ill-formed as of yet, so I’ll have to beg your indulgence while I ponder what it is I really mean to say here. My colleague Charles van den Heuvel suggested the mutildimensionality was there, not in the specific elements of the facets but rather in their potential for multiple combination. We’ll see where this leads us.

Perhaps on a more humorous note, I was quite impressed with the process. There were two defenses (2!), one private and one public. The public defense was quite formal, and I might add I enjoyed it immensely. Here are some photos of the event:

Finally (for now), congratulations to Wouter Van Acker for a brilliant defense of a magnificent piece of research.

Written by lazykoblog on November 29th, 2011

Tagged with , , , ,

UDC (originally posted 1-2-2010)   no comments

Posted at 10:23 pm in classification

This post is courtesy of Aida Slavic (“Aida Slavic”<>)


The UDC Summary of around 2,000 classes has been online since October 2009 and can now be browsed in ten languages at (English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Croatian, Slovenian, Finnish)

The UDC summary is fully aligned with the UDC MRF 2009 which is going to be released in the following months.This set is made available for free
use under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA).

The work is very much ‘in progress’. We are adding language data and updates as we speak and changes will be visible on a daily basis.
Captions in all languages appear first and then scope notes, application notes and example of combinations are added as updates progress.

The effort put into the UDC Summary is entirely voluntary including the programming support, the work of our language editors and translators
for which we are most grateful. Read more at the UDC blog <> or at the UDC Summary webpage.

Contributions and feedback are invited

Kind regards

Of course, Otlet saw the UDC as the classification that would underpin all of his other ideas. Where some utopians saw brilliant cities shining on hilltops Otlet saw the interweaving of the structure of knowledge and this mechanism that could approach its explanation and yield further insight. And here it comes now.

Written by lazykoblog on November 17th, 2010

Tagged with