Published July 25, 2023 | Version v2
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Knowledge Organisation in Two-dimensional Space: Exploring Visualisation Within Classification Schemes


  • 1. UCL, London


Classification schemes are a critical part of helping users to discover knowledge. Despite text being the base of most traditional bibliographic classification schemes, there are also visualised elements in operation too, which are often subliminal and are rarely discussed. So, this paper analyses the visual and graphical elements of classification schemes. The paper starts with a discussion about what “users” and “user experience” means in relation to classification schemes, considering the direct users of classification schemes (such as librarians) , as well as the indirect users (often the library users). Then, there will be an analysis of the mechanics of visualisation, such as how classification schemes use the horizontal plane to represent the vertical idea of hierarchy. This will also explore how visualisation fits into ideas about the aesthetics of KOSs. The paper then considers the transmutation of printed schemes to digital systems, and the impact this has had on graphical representation of classification schemes. This also asks pertinent questions about versions versus visualisations. Finally, the impact of visualising classification schemes on their critique and evaluation will be contemplated, asking whether these often subliminal visual aspects have an impact on the schemes’ usage. Ultimately, exploring this hitherto unexplored aspect of classification schemes, will ask important questions about users, aesthetics, and much more, helping us to build a richer understanding of the classification scheme, and potentially, other KOSs. 



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