[3]Classification of Information

[3]Classification of Information - Module 3: Classification...

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Module 3: Classification of Information Classification of Information For most students this will be the driest and least interesting module. Yet, most students use the services of catalogers and indexers for most of their academic work and for much personal information seeking as well. Cataloging is the process of classifying information and objects containing information, into recognizable and easily searched systems. Catalogers are faced with the task of creating databases (catalogs, online catalogs, search engines, etc.) where users can locate desired items by a variety of methods. Easily determined descriptors such as author's name or title of a piece are simple enough, but there are also subjects, sub-topics and content description to address. Most catalogers of the past operated independently, creating plans for their own collection and no other. But as computing technology and online communication evolve, cooperative cataloging has become the norm. Members of cooperatives contribute cataloging entries but are no longer solely responsible for classifying entire collections. Central pools of cataloging have replaced the lonely cataloger, greatly improving the efficiency of information searching and retrieval. Why should non-catalogers care about cataloging? Most students use cataloging products every day. When users search for a book or periodical and can locate needed items by consulting a standardized organization system (such as UTNetCat ), they are making use of cataloging. When users can locate a Web site by using a search engine, that too is an example of cataloging. From physical library layout to searchable databases, organization of information is central to the information science field. In this section we will examine the principles of cataloging and indexing and look at the most widely used methods of cataloging, the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress system. There are eight brief sections and several reference sites online. You do not need to read these sites in depth - just scan them to gain an overview of how their classification systems are organized. ____________________________________________________________________________ ________ Indexing Indexing began as a quick and easy way to offer access to particular information in text materials. A good index can save users time and frustration in locating needed information by
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directing them to specific pages in a book or in a collection of journals. As more data moves online, indexes also become electronic. Indexes have been in existence since the late Middle Ages, although their creation and use did not become extensive until much later. Some handwritten manuscripts included primitive indexes, more similar to a table of contents than what we see today. It was not until after Gutenberg's movable type printing method spread throughout Europe, making books affordable and plentiful, that scholars and academics began to develop standardized methods of indexing. As with other aspects of the written word, indexes began in libraries. Individual librarians often
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2009 for the course INF 304w taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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[3]Classification of Information - Module 3: Classification...

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