This post is the third in a series about the UDC consortium international seminar in The Hague, 19-20 September, 2011.

Approaches to providing context in knowledge representation structures

Barbara Kwasnik, Syracuse University (USA), talked about ways that context can be used as a disambiguation tool, and described different kinds of contexts: warrant, scientific, educational, cultural, etc. However, interdisciplinary approaches can be difficult. It is easy to have different ontological commitments, but you need a mapping to know when and which bits need to work across domains. Ontologies will need updating as the world and world views shift and change, so we need ways of defining their scope, as well as provenance and mappings. There are also difficulties in establishing the neutrality of ontologies.

Interaction between elementary structures in universes of knowledge

Richard P. Smiraglia, University of Wisconsin (USA),
talked about how people want to turn the multidimensional world into a unidimensional top-down model. He pointed out that people tend to assume UDC is like Dewey, but it actually works far more like Ranganathan’s Colon Classification. He called for new theories of organizing knowledge in shifting contexts and theories about how to mediate between concepts and structures like UDC.

Demystifying ontology

Emad Khazraee, Drexel University (USA), talked about how ontological approaches are as old as literature itself, showing a picture of what I think was the ancient Sumerian king list. He talked about boundary objects and the overlap between different academic areas that are interested in knowledge organisation and learning. He also discussed the differences between ontology-as-categorial-analysis and ontology-as-technology.