Kaiser's "systematic indexing"

Julius Otto Kaiser (1868–1927), a special librarian and indexer of technical literature, developed a method of knowledge organization (KO) known as systematic indexing. Certain elements of the method have long been recognized as precursors to key principles of the theory of faceted classification.

According to Dousa (2007) may other less well-known elements of the method prove no less interesting to practitioners of KO. In particular, two aspects of systematic indexing seem, he writes, to prefigure current trends in KO: (1) a perspectivist outlook that rejects universal classifications in favor of information organization systems customized to reflect local needs and (2) the incorporation of index terms extracted from source documents into a polyhierarchical taxonomical structure. Kaiser’s perspectivism anticipates postmodern theories of KO, while his principled use of polyhierarchy to organize terms derived from the language of source documents provides a potentially fruitful model that can inform current discussions about harvesting natural-language terms, such as tags, and incorporating them into a flexibly structured controlled vocabulary.



Dousa, Thomas (2007) Everything Old is New Again: Perspectivism and Polyhierarchy in Julius O. Kaiser’s Theory of Systematic Indexing . In Lussky, Joan, Eds. Proceedings 18th Workshop of the American Society for Information Science and Technology Special Interest Group in Classification Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/2062/01/Dousa%5FSIG-CR-07%5Fdraft%5Fwith%5Ffigs.doc



Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 26-10-2007