Executive Secretary, the Bodleian Libraries
Clarendon Building, Bodleian Library, Oxford UK
you for this interesting comparative mapping of classification schemes.
I don’t know how easy it would be to quantify the differences
between them to indicate the relative distances between each pair
(10PK:LCC, LCC: DDC etc six binary oppositions)." (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: We did not quantify the differences among the 4 systems. This was a qualitative comparative analysis. It was not easy.
Michael Heaney: But
what concerns me more is the imposition, on top of the assessment of
difference, of an evaluative layer which presumes a priori that 10PK is
superior to the others. (May 9, 2011)
We selected 10PK as an evaluative model for the study since, to the
best of our knowledge, it is a systematic and comprehensive map of
contemporary human knowledge. It meets the three conditions of the
ideal knowledge map:
ideal knowledge map should meet three conditions. First, its categories
are mutually exclusive, meaning they do not overlap. Second, the
categories are collectively exhaustive, meaning that together they
compose all the relevant categories. Third, the map can represent all
the relevant items without exception. This means that the ideal map of
human knowledge can represent all fields of knowledge; that is, every
field of knowledge belongs to at least one category of the map. (from
my coming book)
As we proved in the paper LCC, DDC, and UDC fail to meet the three conditions.
Michael Heaney: Relativistically,
one could equally say that 10PK fails to match up to the standard of
UDC (or whichever you choose). (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: No.
An ideal map of human knowledge needs to meet the 3 conditions. Since
UDC fails to meet the 3 conditions it should be revised.The same with
LCC, and DDC.
Michael Heaney: As an example of the potential lack of rigour in 10PK, its analysis of ‘Religions’ seems to me to be very ad hoc:
3.2 Monotheism (sc. Monotheistic)
This mixes geographic, chronological and typological analysis.
Is Mormonism ‘Monotheistic’ or ‘Modern’? And whatever the answer, why should
that be so? (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: The
mapping of the supernatural phenomena was not easy. Scholars in
religious studies disagree on the definition of "religion" and on the
classification of world religions (I related to these issues in my
The classification of the world
religions (cat. 2.3) is based on an empirical study. Consequently the 5
categories (2.3.1-5) are by definition a taxonomy (not a typology) of
world religions (what you call "ad hoc"). Note that taxonomies are
usually ad hoc since they are usually based on ad hoc collections of
the classified items.
Even if you are right and the
ad hoc taxonomy (cat. 2.3.1-5) is incomplete and unsystematic it would
not refute our findings and conclusions regarding LCC, DDC, and UDC.
it will show that one of the 10PK's third level hierarchical
classifications (out of 9) needs to be revised. It will not prove
that 10PK's first level classification (i.e. the 10 pillars), and the
second level classification (i.e., cat. 2.1-2.3) are problematic.
I claim that the classification of world religions (cat. 2.3.1-5) meets
the 3 conditions. The 5 categories represent 5 characteristics of
religions rather than 5 different models for classifying religions. The
misinterpretation is understandable and lies in the ambiguity of the
I identified 5 main groups of religions. The terminology is aimed to represent the main characteristics of these groups:
* "Ancient" = religions that were practiced in the past (and not to religions of the ancient era).
* "Modern" = new religions that were recently created (not religions of the modern era)
* "Asian" = religions that were originated in Asia, and are practiced mainly in Asia (not to religions practiced in Asia).
"Monotheism" = the 3 historic monotheistic religions (Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam) Note that I first used the adjective
"monotheistic", but 2 English editors suggested using the noun. What do
* "Ethnic" - This is a descriptive (as opposed to
evaluative) politically correct terminology. Do you have a better PC
Your analysis of the 5 terms is highly
important. Thanks. I will consider revising the terminology in the next
version of the map.
Michael Heaney: Where does the Mayan religion fit? And who among us is not ‘Ethnic’?" (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: The
Mayan religion is not part of the 10PK map. It is being mapped by the
10PK map. As long as you can place it in at least one of the 5
categories the 10PK's taxonomy of world religions (i.e. cat. 2.3.1-5)
meets the third condition. The same goes with any of the hundreds (or
thousands) world religions.
May I refer you to the theoretical foundations of the 10PK project.
Michael Heaney: The
only basis for promoting 10PK ahead of the others is that it CLAIMS to
be a theory of knowledge while the others only CLAIM to be library
classification schemes (based more or less explicitly on literary
warrant). (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: 10PK
is a map of human knowledge. It can be developed into a library
classification scheme. LCC, DDC, and UDC are "officially" aimed at
classifying bibliographic items. Nevertheless, I adopt the broad
definition of "knowledge map"; accordingly 10PK, LCC, DDC, and UDC are
Michael Heaney: But
the mere claim is not enough to justify its promotion as an absolute
measure, let alone to then add value judgements to the assessment
(‘they failed to adequately and systematically present contemporary
human knowledge’). (May 9, 2011)
10PK has solid theoretical foundations (see bellow). We justifiably
selected it as an evaluative model. Based on this methodological
decision we based the comparative analysis. By no means we do not
claim that 10PK is the only possible model for evaluating LCC, DDC, and
UDC. Still, our findings and conclusions are valid.
Michael Heaney: I
would advise looking at the work of the Classification Research Group
and people like Barbara Kyle back in the 1960s, and/or its grandchild
the revised Bliss Classification Scheme.
theoretical weaknesses of schemes are well acknowledged but are rooted
in their historical development. It will be interesting to see how 10PK
fares over a hundred-year timescale. (May 9, 2011)
Chaim Zins: I definitely agree with you. (May 11, 2011)
Michael Heaney: Thank you for this.
only further comment is that my remarks about the classification of
religion were intended to demonstrate that 10PK does not meet these two
categories are mutually exclusive, meaning they do not overlap. (Mormonism is both modern and monotheistic)
are collectively exhaustive, meaning that together they compose all the
relevant categories (Mayan is neither Ancient, Asian or ‘Ethnic’ (where
‘Ethnic’ seems to be defined, by example, as primitive/animistic)
could add moderm Paganism, which is demonstrably Modern (we have the
documentary evidence) but is also ‘Ethnic’ in that it is
primitive/animistic. (May 11, 2011)
An anonymous responder:
"I wonder how did you come to the conclusion that you can
compare subject coverage of any knowledge field by taking three top levels of
three biggest aspect classifications systems (the smallest of which Dewey has
40,000 classes, the biggest has 300,000 classes and the one of them which has 68,000
is completely synthetic and creates subjects by combinations of
concepts)." (March 2011)
Chaim Zins: This
is a very important argument. We explicitly responded to this argument
in the article (see methodological considerations):
who are familiar with the three systems have raised two arguments about
the methodology of the study and, consequently, its findings and
first argument questions the focus on the top levels of the
hierarchical structures. The library schemes may not address the topics
outlined in the 10 Pillars of Knowledge at the top levels of each
scheme, but nearly all are covered by deeper levels of the schemes.
fact, at the beginning of the study, we delved into the hierarchical
structures and mapped the relevant topics wherever they appeared in
each library scheme. However, we decided to leave this practice and
focus on the first two levels of the hierarchical structures. We
realized that if we go all the way down the hierarchical structures,
then each of the systems covers all the topics. Because LCC, DDC, and
UDC are aimed at classifying publications, they have to provide a
practical solution for every publication. Practically, this means that
the three systems cover all topics and all fields. However, very often
the practical solutions seem strange. For example, as noted above,
veterinary medicine is presented in LCC by the SF (animal culture)
subclass, which is a subclass of S (agriculture). Obviously, veterinary
medicine is not a subfield of agriculture. Apparently, librarians and
users need practical guides to LCC, DDC, and UDC. But developing such
guides was not the goal of this study.
hierarchical classification should meet three conditions. First, the
categories are mutually exclusive, meaning they do not overlap one
another. Second, the categories are collectively exhaustive, meaning
together they comprise all the relevant categories. Third, the
classification can represent all the relevant items without exception.
This means that every field of knowledge is represented (i.e., can be
placed) by at least one category. LCC, DDC, and UDC may meet the third
condition and cover all fields of knowledge, but do they meet the first
decided to focus on the first two levels of the hierarchical structures
because these levels embody the essence of the classification system.
Each level is viewed as an independent classification unit and needs to
meet the three conditions. The main classes of each classification
(i.e., the first level) need to be mutually exclusive, meaning they do
not overlap one another, collectively exhaustive, meaning together they
comprise all the relevant classes, and represent all the relevant
fields without exception. This means that every field of knowledge is
represented by at least one of the main classes.
of the main classes establishes an independent classification unit,
which comprises main subclasses (i.e., the second level). The main
subclasses need to be mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive, and
represent all the relevant fields without exception. This means that
every relevant field is represented by at least one of the main
retrospect, this theoretical-based, methodological decision to focus on
the top levels of the hierarchical structures is justified by the
findings of the study. The top levels, in many cases, are not
second argument questions the focus on the terminology of the
hierarchical tree (i.e., classes and subclasses) while ignoring
auxiliary tables and application guides. The library systems include
auxiliary tables and guiding tools that may refer to all fields of
knowledge. Ignoring them affects the findings and conclusions of the
fact, at the beginning of the study, we related to auxiliary tables and
tools, but we decided to leave this practice and focus on the
terminology of the hierarchical structures. A classification system is
a structured network of concepts. The structure is essential as it
represents the logical relations among the linked concepts. The
terminology is a fundamental element and comprises the structure’s
building blocks. It needs to be self-explanatory: “What you see is what
you get.” The auxiliary tools are not part of the structure, but rather
explain it. In retrospect, this theoretical-based, methodological
decision to focus on the terminology of the systems is justified by the
findings of the study. The terminology, in several cases, is biased and
An anonymous responder: I found literature supporting this article unacceptably poor. (March 2011)
The findings and the conclusions of the article are based on a thorough
and critical analysis that took us more than two years to accomplish.
They are not based on sheer literature review.
could list literature that support our conclusions but we do not think
that it is relevant for substantiating the findings and conclusions.
While conducting the study we checked hundreds of references but we decided not to list them for three main reasons:
We did not find any particular reference that systematically and
comprehensively critically analyzed and compared the three systems. In
this respect our study is unique.
(2) We did not find
any particular reference that validate or weaken our findings that are
exclusively based on critical analysis.
(3) As a
matter of principle, we do not cite any reference that we can not check
with our eyes. If by no means you find relevant references please send
me a copy and I will respond.
Finally, in our paper we
could not list all of our findings. Our conclusions are solid. Our
paper is important because we have succeeded to systematically validate
what scholars in the field of knowledge organization know for years.