Knowledge space vectors in multi-dimensional classifications

Charles van den Heuvel, Huygens ING (Netherlands)
Richard P. Smiraglia, DANS KNAW (Netherlands)

Abstract | Artificial intelligence produces large quantities of morsels of knowledge that require multi-dimensional classification. Library and information science has a long history of representations of multidimensional classification of such morsels. Spatial metaphors were used to classify ‘things’ (Richardson), ‘facts’ (Otlet) and ‘concepts’ (Beghtol) successively in universes of knowledge and of concepts. The gradual change from a philosophical perception of classification toward a more pragmatic one in support of information retrieval also changed the representation of multi-dimensional classifications. Imaginary space travel in planetary systems of knowledge gradually made place for queries for information following vectors in rigid geometrical knowledge spaces such as cubes. By comparing geometrical knowledge spaces of Otlet, Dahlberg and Meincke & Atherton, this paper discusses the transition in the conceptualization of concepts (from more static toward evolutionary and interactive) and the implications hereof for the representation of multidimensional classification. For this comparison we will use both contemporary visualizations and digital reconstructions of multidimensional knowledge representations to analyze in particular problems in bringing in multiple dimensions of concepts in the transition from two- to multidimensional knowledge spaces and the retrieval hereof. In particular, we will zoom in on discussions between philosophical and computational approaches (Dahlberg and Bowker) in the multidimensional classifications and claim that these are still relevant for getting a grip on graphs as knowledge representations.

Bio | Charles Van Den Heuvel is Head Research of History of Science and Scholarship at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Furthermore, he holds the chair: “Digital Methods and Historical Disciplines” at the University of Amsterdam.  He has a background in history of art and worked in several cultural heritage institutions such as librarian of the Dutch Interuniversitary Institute of History of Art in Florence, as Inspector of Cultural Heritage of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences and as a map curator of the cartographical collections of Leiden University Library. Recent research interests are digital humanities, history of knowledge (in particular of knowledge circulation of the Republic of Letters) and history of library and information sciences (in particular the life and works of Paul Otlet and the history of classification). He is the p.i. of the large research infrastructure project Golden Agents. Creative Industries and the making of the Dutch Golden Age that combines Semantic Web and Multi-Agents technologies supported by ontologies to analyze interactions between the production, consumption and very branches of the cultural industries of the Dutch Golden Age.

Bio | Richard P. Smiraglia is Professor Emeritus of the iSchools at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Long Island University, USA. Prof. Smiraglia was the Fourth KNAW Visiting Professor at DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services), The Hague, The Netherlands, where he remains a Visiting Research Fellow. He is Senior Fellow of the Institute for Knowledge Organization and Structure, Inc. He was the recipient of the 2018 Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology. He is the author of more than 300 publications in information science and knowledge organization. His work explores ontology extraction and evolution of knowledge in domains, the representation of concepts in knowledge organization systems, and the phenomenon of instantiation among information objects. He is principal investigator of the project Digging Into the Knowledge Graph (Di4KG), part of the fourth round of the T-AP Digging into Data Challenge. Di4KG interweaves Linked Open Data (LOD) about cultural artefacts in the Humanities and Social Sciences (SSH) with existing content in the Semantic Web, by mapping clusters of similar meaning onto Knowledge Organization Systems..

Event Timeslots (1)

Day 2 | Friday, June 21
Charles van den Heuvel, Huygens ING (Netherlands) & Richard Smiraglia, DANS KNAW (Netherlands)