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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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Talk
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English
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