Presentation on theme: "Universal and Domain-specific Classifications from an Interdisciplinary Perspective Rick Szostak University of Alberta, Canada."— Presentation transcript:
Universal and Domain-specific Classifications from an Interdisciplinary Perspective Rick Szostak University of Alberta, Canada
Two Views: A view (see the Leon Manifesto) which urges the development of a superior universal classification that would facilitate the access of especially interdisciplinary scholars to insights generated by all communities of scholars. A view that concepts are ambiguous and thus it is best to classify documents only within particular domains and in terms of concepts understood inductively as scholars within the community in question understand these.
My key argument: These seemingly conflicting views are in fact complementary. The KO community can and should work toward both goals collaboratively. Interdisciplinary orientation guides a both/and rather than either/or perspective (though I was slow to appreciate the complementarity).
Pragmatic Approach It is useful to first ask what users need and then pursue this to the extent possible. Note that philosophers increasingly accept the need to combine philosophical and empirical analyses.
Interdisciplinary research is: Critical to scholarship (Undiscovered public knowledge) Of increasing importance More dependent on information science than is specialized research Information science should guide scholars to relevant research they would not have looked for, by facilitating searches by phenomena and relationships. [Note that most research investigates some sort of relationship.]
Ambiguity of Language Often used as an argument for domain-specific analysis Is a question of degree Can be reduced by a universal classification grounded in a hierarchy of phenomena and relationships rather than disciplines Indeed, the way to reduce ambiguity is to reduce complex concepts to a set of universal phenomena and relationships.
One Big Question To what extent are complex concepts: Only understandable in terms of other complex concepts Comprehensible in terms of a set of basic concepts that we might achieve consensus on across domains (phenomena and relationships) [Domain analysis can be invaluable here.]
Conversion Since scholars will wish to communicate across domains, some form of translation is essential. The best form of translation is a universal classification. [Moreover, domain-specific classifications may find it useful to compare concept meanings with other communities.]
Complementarities Induction and Deduction Ontology and Epistemology
The (Empirical) Way Forward Universal classification of basic phenomena and relationships; use of linked notation for complex concepts. Domain-specific analysis of complex concepts in terms of basic concepts (not theories) Evaluate ontological and epistemological differences across domains Strive to reduce ambiguity