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ISKO UK 2011, London. Vickery’s late ideas on classification by phenomena and activities Claudio Gnoli (University of Pavia. Science and Technology Library ) (ISKO Italy). Dear Brian, . Facet analysis. photo by Chris Overfield. “Ranga” and the CRG. S.R. Ranganathan B.I. Palmer.

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isko uk 2011 london
ISKO UK 2011, London

Vickery’s late ideas on

classification by

phenomena and activities

Claudio Gnoli

(University of Pavia. Science and Technology Library)

(ISKO Italy)

ranga and the crg
“Ranga” and the CRG

S.R. RanganathanB.I. Palmer

source: DRTC

facets vs operators
Facets vs. operators

“[Farradane] was never a whole-hearted “faceteer”. [...] Foskett and I used to say, that the more Jason expounded his ideas on his “operators”, the more we disagreed

with him, and the more we liked him.”

[BCV, email, 2007]

An interesting minority in the CRG [Kawamura pers. comm.]

supporting free over faceted classification [Gardin 1965]:

facet: free (phase) relationship:

A has property BA is related to B

(Vickery, Foskett, Mills...) (Farradane, Coates, Austin...)


a scientific approach
A scientific approach

J. D. Bernal


Joseph Needham

J.E.L. Farradane (CRG):

“I want to list the wind where it bloweth”

i.e. place of unique definition

integrative levels1
Integrative levels

“Any transition may seem mysterious when we understand very little about it.” [BCV, email, 2007]

“the concept of levels of phenomena is today well beyond a philosophical idea: [... it] may be accepted as a “reliable” fact.” [BCV, email, 2009]

phenomena vs disciplines
Phenomena vs. disciplines
  • Subject Classification (Brown, 1906)
  • CRG NATO classification (esp. Foskett, Austin, 1969)
  • BC2 classes 4/6 (Mills & Broughton, 1977)
  • BSO class 088 (Coates et al., 1978)
  • ICC (“objects of being”, Dahlberg, 1982)
  • other proposals (Bonner, Scheele, Shpackov, 1980s)
  • ILC project (Gnoli, Hong, Cousson, Pullman et al., 2004-)
  • León Manifesto (Szostak, López-Huertas, Gnoli et al., 2007)
the le n manifesto
The León Manifesto
  • interdisciplinarity
  • requires some new KOS
  • based on phenomena
  • allowing to shift between perspectives
  • by analytico-synthetic techniques
from the world to the classifier
“From the world to the classifier”
  • “The world = Phenomena
  • People’s activities = Disciplines, fields of activity
  • Reports of activities
  • Subjects of reports
  • Classification of subjects”
  • [BCV commenting on León Manifesto, 2007]
dimensions of knowledge
Dimensions of knowledge

 reality, “noumena”

 phenomena

 perspectives

 carriers


( ) activities

fields of activity
Fields of activity
  • ”Economic (production, commerce, finance)
  • Technological (innovation)
  • ·Welfare (medical, social benefits, charities, information)
  • Cultural (arts, sport, entertainment, the media, hobbies)
  • ·State (government, law, police, military)
  • ·Political (to change aspects of society, the struggle for power)
  • Religious activities
  • ·Educational activities (general, and within any of the above)
  • ·Specialist intellectual (theoretical studies of any of the above)
  • ·General intellectual (e.g. philosophy, mathematics, sciences)
  • ·Consumption (everyday use of the products or services of the others)”
  • [BCV, 2007]
problem of the border
Problem of the border


phenomena planets plants

 mining


activities research




phenomena P, M, E, S, T

activities ?

activity theory1
Activity theory

USSR psychology

A.N. Leontev (1903-1979)

S.L. Rubinshtein (1889-1960)

activity theory2
Activity theory

basic notions:

motivation, goal, activity, tools, object,

outcome, rules, community,division...

“all directly applicable to the conduct of

information behaviour research” [Wilson 2006]


phenomena P, M, E, S, T

activities Motivation, Goal, Tool, Outcome, Rule, ...

open problems
Open problems
  • Is dimension α (noumena) necessary in KO models?
  • Should the perspective/activities dimension also include such classes like agriculture and the arts?
  • How could disciplines be treated in the framework of activity theory?...
  • Late BCV was very active in theoretical KO debate
  • He supported non-standard or new ideas, like abandoning disciplines as main division
  • Original contributions not widely known yet
  • worth to be considered and possibly developed
thank you
Thank you...

source: BCV’s website