The Basic Concepts Classification [chapter]

Rick Szostak
2012 Categories, Contexts and Relations in Knowledge Organization  
This paper describes the Basic Concepts Classification. It discusses its motivation, advantages, novel structure, and feasibility. This paper summarizes the Basic Concepts Classification (hereafter BCC), and describes its advantages. Though I have provided a philosophical justification for this classification elsewhere (2003a, 2008, 2011a) and outlined key aspects of it elsewhere (2003b, 2011a, 2012), I have not previously outlined the classification in its entirety. The Basic Concepts
more » ... ation takes its name from an argument that complex concepts which convey quite different meanings across disciplines and cultures can be broken into basic concepts for which the degree of shared understanding across groups is (at least potentially) great enough to support a universal classification of documents. Critically, basic concepts are most feasible with respect to the phenomena of the natural and social worlds and the relationships that exist among them (Szostak 2011a). Justification Why a new classification? Simply put, scholars, and especially interdisciplinary scholars, are poorly served by existing classifications. As the Leon Manifesto (see ilc/leon.htm) has noted, scholars want to search by causal relationship (that is, X is alleged to influence Y), theory applied, and method applied. The first is difficult at present, the second and third virtually impossible. The proposed classification will facilitate recovery by both scholars and general users. Uses Though designed as a stand-alone classification, the BCC might also be used as a supplement to an existing scheme. Empirical work reported in Szostak (2011a and 2011b) shows how entries in the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) can be readily translated into BCC, and their meaning clarified in the process. The BCC could provide a logical structure on which to make additions to the DDC or other classifications. Structure The essence of the classification is: 1. Classification in terms of phenomena and relationships rather than disciplines 2. Phenomena are disaggregated usually by "type of," but occasionally also/instead by "elements of" 3. The disaggregation follows a logical deductive format -grounded in an ontological understanding of the world -but this is supplemented by an inductive "literary warrant" approach -itself informed by an epistemological appreciation of the academy -that ensures that all topics are represented. 4. A universal classification of "properties (qualities)" has also been developed to clarify phenomena and relationships. Compounding can thus be employed for "red house." Space can be saved in the schedules also by compounding "talk" plus "loudly" for "shout". 5. Classification of most works as relationships between phenomena. That is, linked notation is used to a much greater extent than in any other classification. This reflects
doi:10.5771/9783956504402-24 fatcat:urvdesg3zzagrjyzcwdgqfymoy