One of the things I am trying to learn is Faceted Classification (FC) for my part of the group paper that is due in 2 weeks to present but needs to be done by next week. I need to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of faceted classification and compare it to hierarchical classification. For starters, I’ve thought that FC was like the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). It’s not. I have to see FC as an overlay, on top of, an existing classification much like a glove fitting over a hand (except you can’t use your damn iPhone with gloves on.)
There was a Powerpoint presentation from the 8th International ISKO Conference on July 13-16, 2004 in London. (Adventures in faceted classification: A brave new world or a world of confusion – Kathryn La Barre). I read this quote and then a flash of insight came my way when she later mentioned about Buildings.
If I wanted to look up information about a building, I have a broad subject. What if I was looking for a specific type of building(s), in a certain region of the country at a specific time in the past. If I was to used hierarchical classification LCC, I can start with Class N – Fine Arts and then Subclass NA – Architecture.
As you can see, I have some information within the Subclass NA. While I think, this will point me in the right direction with still a great deal of physical search one will have to do in this section. And there is Class T – Technology and then Subclass TH – Building Construction that can come into play.
Again, I’m getting information that are related but still needs to be weeded through before I can find what I am looking for. So, what does faceted classification do in this situation? Let’s look at WorldCat.Org and see how information is display for Buildings.
Rather than having the search box/engine just look up information by keyword(s), the faceted classification allows one to refine and narrow the search even more. As you can see on the left, I can breakdown the search into a specific format or search by region with all the while without losing focus on the subject. Not seen, I can sort by Year, Language, Content, Audience, and Topic. Hence, as Rosenfeld was quoted, “Faceted Classification serves up multiple ‘pure’ classification schemes.” In any advantage, there has to be a disadvantage. That will be for my next blog entry.