Subject Classifications in the Scientific and Overall Digital World

In the present work we discuss opportunities, problems, tools and techniques encountered when interconnecting discipline-specific subject classifications, primarily organized as search devices in bibliographic databases, with general classifications originally devised for book shelving in public libraries.We first state the fundamental distinction between topical (or subject) classifications and object classifications. Then we trace the structural limitations that have constrained subject classifications since their library origins, and the devices that were used to overcome the gap with genuine knowledge representation.After recalling some general notions on structure, dynamics and interferences of subject classifications and of the objects they refer to, we sketch a synthetic overview on discipline-specific classifications in Mathematics, Computing and Physics, on one hand, and on general classifications on the other.In this setting we present The Scientific Classifications Page, which collects groups of Web pages produced by a pool of software tools for developing hypertextual presentations of single or paired subject classifications from sequential source files, as well as facilities for gathering information from KWIC lists of classification descriptions.Further we propose a concept-oriented methodology for interconnecting subject classifications, with the concrete support of a relational analysis of the whole Mathematics Subject Classification through its evolution since 1959.Finally, we recall a very basic method for interconnection provided by coreference in bibliographic records among index elements from different systems, and point out the advantages of establishing the conditions of a more widespread application of such a method.

Source: Subject Classifications in the Scientific and Overall Digital World

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