Alana Mohamed Week 6 Response

I was really grateful for the Tunkelang piece on facets.  Last week, I think I ended up overthinking the concept of ontology v vocabulary based on its philosophical definition.  It was helpful to me that Tunkelang drew the connection between the philosophical definition of ontology and its usage in LIS, and specified how a taxonomy related to an ontology.  For some reason, Tunkelang’s piece on facets best conveyed the structure of a taxonomy, even though they used pretty much the same metaphor all of our other readings did (root, branch, leaf).

I found the readings about Ranganathan’s Colon Classification particularly interesting as well.   Stackel’s description of Ranganathan’s issue with most classification systems was confusing to me at first.  He said, “For Ranganathan, the problem with the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems is that they used indexing terms that had to be thought out before the object being described could fit into the system.”  I had a general understanding that these indexing terms were not intuitive, but I couldn’t really think of a solid example.  However, reading Tunkelang’s piece made this idea more concrete to me, especially when they begin to talk about the way the DDC classifies literature on cats.  From there I could somewhat better understand how Ranganathan’s Colon Classification allowed for “hospitality at many points.”  I’m still not sure I understand it enough to criticize it, but the language Ranganathan uses to describe his theory was also impressive to me.  By using words like “hospitality” and “extrapolation,” he seemed to look at information as dimensional and flexible beings instead of just books or objects.  His language renders the idea of information occupying and traveling through space in a way similar to matter, which is an idea that the Loc and DDC systems don’t seem to echo.  Instead of building a home or a space around this information, the LoC and DDC seem more invested in herding information into predetermined categories, which how we end up with books about cats being classified under technology.


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