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facet analysis

Modeling a folksonomy with the postulational approach to facet analysis

An in-depth study of faceted classification theory, as presented by Ranganathan and further developed by Brian Vickery and the Classification Research Group, led to the creation of a methodology based on the Postulate of Fundamental Categories, the Postulate of Basic Facet and the Postulate of Isolate Facet. This methodology was then used to analyze the facets of a dataset consisting of over 107,000 instances of 1,275 unique tags representing 76 popular non-fiction history books collected from the LibraryThing folksonomy (see http://www.librarything.com/). Preliminary results of the facet analysis show the manually-produced, two-faceted classification models in the dataset, one representing the universe of books, and the other representing the universe of subjects within the universe of books. The model representing the universe of books is considered to be complete, whereas the model representing the universe of subjects is incomplete. These differences are discussed in the light of theoretical differences between special and universal faceted classifications. The model representing the universe of books is then compared to other models of books, including the BIBO ontology and the FRBR model. Finally, the models are discussed in terms of their confirmation or violation of Ranganathan’s seven Canons of Classification, upon which the postulates are based.

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Facet analysis as the theoretical basis of vocabulary tool construction

Facet analysis remains virtually alone as a rational intellectual method for the construction of subject terminologies. Developed for the linear arrangement of items in libraries, the rigour of its analytical approach, and the clear delineation of relationships between concepts in a subject domain make it an excellent contender for the management of subject content in a digital environment. The robustness of the methodology is revealed in the way in which a compatible classification and thesaurus can be derived from the same source data where the structure of the terminology is marked up for machine manipulation. Experience with the Bliss Bibliographic Classification 2nd edition (BC2) shows how the underlying structure of these different formats is semantically similar, and that all the structural components of the terminology can be expressed in a machine readable manner. The systematic conceptual structure suitable for document categorization can be translated relatively easily to a language based metadata tool more appropriate for document description and tagging. To a large extent software can also affect the (human) readable output of the different types of tool, and the conversion between them. Vocabulary control in the narrower sense does, however, present some problems for a process developed for the conceptual representation of knowledge, and needs addressing. Insofar as the faceted terminology is a surrogate for the subject domain itself, a faceted system supports a very wide range of inter-concept relationships and provides an effective tool for browsing and navigation as well as query formulation and modification. However, not all of these potential relationships are currently expressible in the standards for subject representation, either those for bibliographic use, or for web representation. Current work on BC2 is examining the way in which mark-up languages can be used not only to create a version of the classification for dissemination on the web, but also to represent the potential complexity of its semantic structure. Candidate systems such as SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) are not presently able to handle more than the simplest structures in a faceted terminology, and ways in which the range of relationships can be extended offers a substantial challenge. Co-operative work with scholars in the area of humanities computing suggests that existing techniques for the mark-up of texts, to support internal analysis and content representation, have much in common with facet analysis as an approach to the comparable structuring of metadata. In combination these methods may offer a solution to improving the usability of metadata tools and providing more subtle and sophisticated means of subject representation.

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Talk
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English
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