Extracted from: Arie A Hanten. A suggested growth model of science and implications for information transfer. Journal of Research Communication. Studies, 1, 1978, pp. 83-98.
Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension
In the field of information processing, documentation and classification there is an almost universal bias towards text and terms, since publications have titles and normally contain text. This is a very persuasive argument in favour of word oriented computers and classification schemes. It is associated with the generation of a plethora of costly bibliographical tools, abstracts, directories and encyclopaedias (39).
A. Quantitative aspects
It is understandable that there is a very large amount of "scientific and technological" information which may be considered relevant to "development". Even if it is only (say) 1 % of the literature, this would amount to (4) :
Outline proposal for a data collection project on "world problems"
Report prepared for the Science Adviser to the Commonwealth Secretary General. In partial fulfillment of a consultancy assignment under Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC/APL/13.3, CFTC/CSC/8, 19 May 1978). Presented to the 6th Conference of the World Future Studies Federation (Cairo, 1978) with the kind permission of Christiande Laet, Secretary, Commonwealth Science Council.
Sections of this Article (accessed via the links on the right)
- Mapping Possibilities in Response to Information Needs of Science Policy-making for Development (1978)
- Interrelating Viewpoints in Complex Meetings: the Horus wall-display technique (1978)
- Mapping World Problems (1972)
- Use of Interactive Graphic Display Techniques (1976)
1. Anthony Judge. Presentation of GPID integration through functional classification of international organizations. (Paper represented to 5th Network Meeting of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development project of the United Nations University, Montreal, 1980).
2. Paul Otlet. Tableau de l'Organisation Internationale; organismes internationaux et activits internationales (2ème partie du Rapport général à la Conférence des associations internationales, Genève, 1924). Bruxelles, Union des Associations Internationales, 1924, 37 pages, UAI Publ Nr 114.
It is too soon to assess the merit of this approach in terms of its more experimental aims. Hopefully their implications have however been related to the organization of the categories in such a way as not to affect its value as a practical tool. As such the result is an interesting compromise between theory and practice with the merit of emphasizing the dimensions of innovative change and the value-related experiences in the name of which it is advocated.
1. Classification as a political act
1. The construction of a thesaurus or classification scheme is not a neutral process but a political act, as was well demonstrated by the encyclopaedists in the 18th century. A thesaurus which treats "homelessness" as an aspect of "sociology", and "war" as an aspect of "political science" is taking a strong political position. This is also true of an encyclopedia which omits any entry on "torture" (37).
As indicated above, it is highly probable that improvements will be made to the procedure for coding words, to the classification schemes used, and to the various computer programmes used in selecting organizations for allocation to one or more categories. It is also expected that greater use will be made of "manual" coding methods to handle the more subtly defined subjects as well as categories of organizations. This will permit better treatment of subjects denoted by compound words.
Part of the original intention was to experiment, with patterns which highlight and clarify functional relationships. Ideally the matrix should help to show how different functional concerns are related to, or distant from, one another. In its present form it offers a healthier approach to the insidious problems created by the "pecking order" in the sciences. This is reflected in university departments and the perceptions of intergovernmental agencies (or their divisions) of the relative "relevance" of certain functions.