This lit­tle gem is not for the faint of heart. I wish “A Sim­pli­fied Mod­el for Facet Clas­si­fi­ca­tion” had been around when I was strug­gling with Ran­ganathan’s colon clas­si­fi­ca­tion scheme in library school. I, and I believe many oth­er LIS stu­dents of my time, were entire­ly put off the idea of faceted clas­si­fi­ca­tion by the expe­ri­ence. A shame real­ly because facets are one of the most use­ful tools for wran­gling mas­sive amounts of stuff that has too many things in com­mon to make full text based search­ing useful.

Dr. Spi­ter­i’s overview (and meld­ing) of Ran­ganathan’s work and the lat­er work of the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Research Group takes a bit of the sting out the mem­o­ries of all those Canons, Pos­tu­lates, and Prin­ci­ples. (Not to men­tion the den­si­ty of R’s language.)

If you need refresh­er on the basic tenets of faceted clas­si­fi­ca­tion this is a good place to get it. But is you don’t already have some back­ground in clas­si­fi­ca­tion you’ll be lost in minutes.

I’m still look­ing for exam­ples of using facets to describe sys­tems (rather than retrieve infor­ma­tion.) Opaque request, huh? I guess I’ll just have to go and build one of my own.