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Re: [TaxoCoP] A question for everybody. How easy is it to create a faceted Taxonomy?

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  • Linda Sutherland
    ... May I de-lurk for a moment, please, to try to clarify something? My comments aren t directed at you specifically, Eric - yours isn t the only post (on this
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 5, 2008
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      At 10:15 03/10/2008 -0400, Eric Erickson wrote:
      >Library items are only classified once, but digital resources and
      >items in the catalogue may have multiple tags.

      May I de-lurk for a moment, please, to try to clarify something? My
      comments aren't directed at you specifically, Eric - yours isn't the
      only post (on this and other lists) to give me the impression that
      the functions of traditional library classifications aren't well

      The point that so often seems to be missed is that library
      classifications were designed to do two things at once - identify the
      subject matter contained within a physical item, and identify the
      location of each item on the shelves. Taxonomies for electronic
      resources are concerned only with the first function - information
      retrieval. To compare them to library methods of *item* retrieval is
      inevitably going to cause confusion.

      "Library items are only classified once" is true if:

      a) the classification is hierarchical (to librarians that means ones
      like Dewey and LOC);

      b) the classification is viewed purely as a device for item

      It's true, in those circumstances, because of the obvious fact that
      each *physical* item can have only one location in a classified

      In the case of faceted classifications, the statement is partly true.
      These classifications do allow you to 'tag' an item with multiple
      descriptors, but in non-digital libraries the codes for these 'tags'
      are then combined in a specified order to produce a single code
      identifying the location of the physical item on the shelves.

      In both cases, the statement is not true for the library function of
      information retrieval. The *content* of a library item can, as Paula
      says, be given multiple access points within the catalogue, and these
      access points may be sorted in any order thought useful. True, those
      'tags' are attached to a surrogate (the catalogue entry) rather than
      directly to the physical item itself, but that doesn't stop them from
      fulfilling a similar role in content retrieval.

      Linda Sutherland
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