Critical description and evaluation of classification schemes
We encounter classification schemes in all areas of human endeavor. How do we assess whether a classification is effective, ethical, and useful? Barbara Kwasnik gave an overview, through examples, of some criteria one could apply to evaluating a classification -- any classification. These are:
Assessing a classification’s warrant: What is the origin of the classification? Who designed it and why? What is the conceptual framework or theory that determines the choice of concepts, the rules of division and the relationships? What are the assumptions both hidden and explicit? Is this classification extensible? Can it be repurposed?
How to identify useful qualities (or lack of them) of any classification: Hospitality, expressiveness, and requisite variety; the heuristic capability to stimulate insight and understanding; fertility in stimulating new knowledge; the advantages of a classification being memorable, parsimonious and elegant.
The class was delivered via Zoom and was attended by 90 participants from 28 countries. Presentation slides are available to all participants via the KO-ED forum on the ISKO UK website.
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