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Faceted music: towards a model of music classification

The organization of music is a subject that has fascinated classification researchers and librarians alike for over a hundred years. This paper identifies five key methodological approaches undertaken by commentators on music knowledge organization, which demonstrate different interdependent relationships between musicology and classification.

Five significant themes form the main body of this paper, and these themes underpin the corpus of music classification literature. The first theme concerns the question of whether classification should divide music materials into their constituent formats. This division sets conceptual against practical. The second theme looks at facets in music classification. ‘Medium’ and ‘form’ are considered to be the most important facets for music scores; ‘composers’ are an important facet for music literature. The third theme considers the poor treatment of ‘other’ musics in knowledge organization, and notes some possible explanations. The fourth theme investigates the relationship between the classification and retrieval of music materials. This section highlights the differing needs of users and suggests how the classification of music materials is adapted accordingly. The fifth theme discusses pre-existing music classification schemes, with the large number of home-grown and special schemes highlighted.

The paper concludes that the five identified themes point towards a model of music classification. However, the model is not just concerned with facets, musics and formats; it is also based upon the relationships between various sets of protagonists, such as the librarian and the musicologist, the musicologist and the performer. Through studying these protagonists, the traditional boundaries of musicology, music librarianship and knowledge organization will be crossed.

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Classification and visualization of knowledge; light from a forgotten past

This paper is based on an ongoing project to investigate how knowledge has been visualized in different times and places. Its focus is on how, over the fourth to the sixteenth centuries in Europe, literate societies used mental images to support memory in visualizing and classifying the knowledge embodied in texts, in order to make it part of their own knowledge store, to organize it for retrieval, and finally to create and communicate new knowledge.

In this paper I:

  • define information and knowledge and their visualization, and propose a model of their relationship and the processes involved;
  • identify critical stages in the interaction between humans and technologies to support these activities;
  • note close analogies between earlier practice and what would today be termed information design;
  • suggest the relevance of these ideas and practices to today’s problems of organizing and communicating knowledge, and propose some practical approaches to making use of them.
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Vickery's late ideas on classification by phenomena and activities

Classification was always a major interest for Brian Vickery. In his last years he contributed to the theoretical debate on classification with original ideas that are not well known yet, as some of them were consigned to ephemeral Web pages or private discussion. This paper attempts to report them and to discuss their implications for the current theory of knowledge organization. Vickery’s proposals especially concern: application of the theory of integrative levels to classification as recommended by the Classification Research Group; the various dimensions of knowledge that are involved in the steps ‘from the world to the classifier’; progressive identification by science of phenomena within reality; interplay between the phenomena studied and the human activities providing the context and purpose for studying them; identification of facets of activities as well as facets of phenomena. It is concluded that these ideas offer a substantial contribution to the theory of knowledge organization, and thus should be known, discussed and further developed.

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Developing information architectures through records management classification techniques

Context and purpose of the work - This work draws attention to information retrieval philosophies and techniques allied to the records management profession, advocating a wider professional consideration of a functional approach to information management, in this instance in the development of information architectures. Methodology - This paper draws from a hypothesis originally presented by the author (Milne, 2007a) that advocated a viewpoint whereby the application of records management techniques traditionally applied to develop business classification schemes was offered as an additional solution to organising information resources and services (within a university intranet), where earlier approaches notably subject and administrative based arrangements were found to be lacking. The hypothesis was tested via work-based action learning and is presented here as an extended case study. This paper also draws upon evidence submitted to the Joint Information Systems Committee in support of the University of Abertay Dundee's application for consideration of the JISC award for innovation in records and information management (University of Abertay Dundee, 2007). Findings - The original hypothesis has been tested in the workplace. Information retrieval techniques allied to records management (functional classification) were the main influence in the development of pre and post-coordinate information retrieval systems to support a wider information architecture, where the subject approach was found to be lacking. Their use within the workplace has since been extended. Originality/value - The paper advocates the development of information retrieval as a discipline, should include a wider consideration of functional classification, as this alternative to the subject approach is largely ignored in mainstream IR works.

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