Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: An RSS categorization proposal

Author:David A. Mundie
Posted:9/9/1999; 5:00:12 PM
Topic:rss channels via email
Msg #:10839 (In response to 10830)
Prev/Next:10838 / 10840

You write: "of two approaches -- Dewey decimal and DMOZ -- ... neither of these feels like the right thing."

I can see why you don't think that DMOZ is "the right thing" - it's just one more ad-hoc classification system made up by amateurs to fit what were perceived as the needs of the moment. But I'd be interested in why you think Dewey Decimal (DDC) is not the right thing: (a) it has an 85% market share in libraries world-wide; (b) it incorporates the collective experience of a century of classification specialists; (c) it has far and away the best on-line support, international availability, subject neutrality, and comprehensiveness of any classification system among 17 recently surveyed [reference available upon request]; (d) it is an international standard; (e) it is a faceted, expansible system suited to both broad and narrow classification [unanimously considered the optimal approach by classification experts].

I think that unless we learn to leverage the lessons that a hundred years of library science have taught, and that are embodied in standard classification systems like DDC or UDC, we will just be condemning ourselves to re-discover the well-known rules [e.g. the Rule of Application and the Rule of Three] of classification science.

I think that James Carlyle’s work at has shown that DDC can be a practical, standardized approach to web categorization. It’s time to stop re-inventing the wheel.

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