Re: [TaxoCoP] A question for everybody. How easy is it to create a faceted Taxonomy?
- At 10:15 03/10/2008 -0400, Eric Erickson wrote:
>Library items are only classified once, but digital resources andMay I de-lurk for a moment, please, to try to clarify something? My
>items in the catalogue may have multiple tags.
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.