Thiago Henrique Bragato Barros, Touching from a Distance: Concept Theory and Archival Hierarchical Classification in:

International Society for Knowledge Organziation (ISKO), Marianne Lykke, Tanja Svarre, Mette Skov, Daniel Martínez-Ávila (Ed.)

Knowledge Organization at the Interface, page 465 - 469

Proceedings of the Sixteenth International ISKO Conference, 2020 Aalborg, Denmark

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-95650-775-5, ISBN online: 978-3-95650-776-2,

Series: Advances in Knowledge Organization, vol. 17

Bibliographic information
Thiago Henrique Bragato Barros – Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Touching from a Distance Concept Theory and Archival Hierarchical Classification Abstract: This paper discusses the aspects and points of contact between the principle of archival provenance and concept theory to help to build better hierarchical classification schemes in archival theory and practice. Knowledge Organization, especially concerning classification, can help to construct better ways to represent and access archival materials. The aim is to systematize the relations between archival provenance and concept theory-based within KO and archival science. With these two fields, we can construct a methodological parallel and argued where and how concept theory KOS could help in the construction of better concepts to represent a given archival domain. We learned that yes, thinking about the terms - concepts - relating two approaches bring a more scientific background to the construction of classification, reducing in some sense, subjectivity, and bias in its development. 1.0 Introduction This study aimed to discuss the possible relationships between archival theory and Knowledge organization in the spectrum of concept theory, especially concerning archival classification, which are constructed based in a functional-hierarchal classification. We also seek, from the parallel, how one can help the other because we have a lot of complicated issues when we design archival classification schemes; we have concepts, principals, and approaches. However, we have difficulties when it comes to build, use, and reuse this scheme, so there is a need to develop better systems. More critical in light of newer digital records production systems. 2.0 The method We aimed to construct a parallel and analyses between archival classification and concept theory. Considering that this is a short paper essay, we compared in a summarized manner how archival classification works in Hurley (1993), Sabourin (2001), ISO15489-1 (2016), Orr (2005), Foscarini (2006). Also, how archival classification theory relate to concepts and terms based on Dahlberg (1978; 1993) Hjørland (2008), among others, bringing concept theory to the archival classification discussion, we see significant methodological contributions for both KO and Archival Science. 3.0 Knowledge Organization and Concept theory The field of Knowledge Organization can be understood as an area of studies, which encompasses the research, practice, and theory of a subdomain of Information Science historically focusing on bibliographic representation, constructing and evaluating semantic tools for information retrieval (IR). More specifically, KO is concerned with such activities as indexing, abstracting, and classifying bibliographical items within. According to Hjørland (2016), this field relates to “description, representation, registration, organization of documents, subjects, and concepts.” For that, some tools such as classification systems, lists of subject headings, and thesaurus are necessary. 466 We also can point out that KO investigates the nature and quality of knowledge organization processes (KOP) and the structure and function of knowledge organization systems (KOS). The role of (KOS) is to organize documents, representations of documents, and concepts (Hjørland 2008). KO thus includes a wide array of research interests, including the theoretical basis of KOS, the history of KOS, terminological issues, domain studies, genre studies, and the social organization of the sciences, KOS are a sound basis for the development of information retrieval. We think there is a role that these systems can play concerning archival science, especially in archival classification were the Archival Knowledge Organization System can be built (Barros and Sousa 2019) but for most of the Archival Science history was not viewed as such (or even presented). KOS can be universal as Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) or as specialized as a taxonomy for a specific purpose, these specialized systems, and we can understand archival organization as a specialized system and provenance as a basis for the construction for classification schemes that intellectually reflect institutional domains. For the development of KOS, concepts and terms are a basis for the construction of taxonomies, ontologies, or other systems. Concepts and terms are also the basis for archival classification; however, the final objective is different, one is to represent a scientific knowledge domain, the other is to represent an institution, business, and State records, all specifics knowledge domains. With that in mind, we think, Dahlberg offered the foundation of the term “concept.” Dahlberg proposes a concept system that consists of a triangular representation made up of reference, characteristic, and verbal form is a functional one. (Dahlberg 1978) The creation of reference occurs through three activities: prediction, denotation, and designation. The term “denotation” is synonymous with the reference step, while the term “predication,” represents the postulation of the reference. The term “designation” is the actual transformation of the reference and the characteristics of the concept to a verbal form. (Dahlberg 1978). We think this triangular relationship of terms and concepts building KOS, can help as secondary tools for archival classification. 4.0 Touching from a distance: Archival Classification and Concept theory Classification is traditionally defended as a fundamental for the organization of archival materials. When we talk about archival classification, we are relating provenance or the origin of the record in linking with its contexts. When we compare these things, we are talking about function as a form to look for records, in a juridic administrative body. This classification delineates management processes, organization, and representation, and in the context of the archives, that is, the classification must have extreme representative power. (Barros and Sousa 2019). Besides the fact that it is a system of the organization deeply formalized and hierarchical by nature, it also has semantic aspects in its structuring and standardization possibilities. It is part of an interchanged process, but archival science hardly acknowledged that in its history or practice, and here is where concept theory and KOS enters, they are semantic tools as their bibliographical counterparts. 467 Eastwood (1994) and Duranti (1997) argue that only records together are archival records and evidence of the activities carried out by an institution, i.e., any document that is not organized by its function/activities, establishing a relationship with its origin (provenance) and its original order cannot be understood as an archival record. As RAD (Rules for Archival Description 2008, xxiii) dilates, “the principle of provenance means that the records created, accumulated or maintained by an individual or organization must be represented together, distinguishable from the records of any other creator.” When we think about this, we can say yes, we understand, based on recordkeeping tradition, that provenance and contexts are the fundaments for organizing organic records. However, the way we do it is conceptual and semantic, but we lack tools and studies for acknowledging that. So, the system concerning its design is incomplete; there is room to work with ontologies or taxonomies, thinking of how we name things, not only why we it call based on provenance and relate these instruments to who might use the record in any contexts. Basic methodology for archival management and classification—the functional analysis— began in the 1940s with Brooks (1940), Posner (1964), and it was systematized in a more “complete” way in Schellenberg (2003). Concerning the process, Foscarini (2006, 41) established that we could define it as a preliminary investigation, followed by top-down functional analysis and analysis of combined bottom-up processes. Functional classification is due to administrative standardization and the development of bureaucracy since the end of World War II, leading to rationalization and, at the same time, an exponential increase in the complexity of production and use of legal-administrative documents. This change gives us the foundation to go beyond and think about KO's possible contributions to archival science. Having provenance as a system premise and functional analysis as a constituent element of the representation system has limitations, especially to users who do not search for information this way. So, is necessary to go beyond the contextual and allows a deepening learn towards the content and the decrease of subjectivity, as we see in Sousa and Araújo Jr. (2013; 2017) when they approach the taxonomies, and in Barros and Gomes (2018) and Gomes et al. (2020) when approaching the ontologies. A critical factor that makes it possible to apply a KOS in the context of public archives is that most organizational activities are repetitive; they are instances of processes that run frequently. So, here is where Dahlberg’s triangular concept theory can help us delineate how we name things in archival systems and based on the relationships between terms and concepts in a given juridical-administrative domain, can help construct KOS as a complementary tool to archival classification. Some authors point out the problem that occurs in relation not only to classification but to a recurrent problem in archival science that can be aided by concept theory and the development of KOS: the naming of classes in research tools and classification schemes. Orr (2005, 111) established that “There is no common rule-based classification model, either in the number of elements or in the levels or the naming of the classes.” Another recurring problem is the lack of deepening theories concerning methodologies of the field; according to Hurley (1993, 11), “The science and methodology of functional 468 analysis have not yet been written.” Since the mid-1980s, studies have focused on conceptual questions but with few fundamentally methodological reflections. Shepherd and Yeo (2003, 73) write that “Classification schemes are based on an analysis of functions, processes, and activities” ISO15489-1 (2016, 14), which is a records management standard, states: “Classification systems reflect the business of the organization from which they derive and are normally based on an analysis of the organization’s business activities,” and that has been the primary concern in archival theory over time. Nevertheless, when we look to the hclassification system itself as stated by Foscarini (2006, 191), “the number of classification systems that claim to be function-based, at a deeper glance turns out to be just a mirror of the agency’s internal structure” not reflecting the business functions. What we argued here is that we can build a process, a flux of activities that help to develop better classification schemes. The first thing is to construct a policy that established a basis for the whole process, the intellectual work developed by archivists to design the classification scheme, then build a terns-concepts relation with a KOS(i.e., taxonomy) of the institutional domain based on the connection between concepts, terms, and users in a top-down, bottom-up process, then with this cross-reference study the actual construction of the classification with its notations relating concepts, in its triangular Dahlberg idea and the terms they represent in the institutional domain. With this description seems the job is easy but is not; it is a complex process that, in this manner, has a more balanced approach than the traditional one. We did this across some theoretical-methodological articles such as Barros and Gomes (2018) and Gomes et al. (2020), and the process did work. We urge to build better systems, and this is a possible way to do it. 5.0 Conclusion In this work, we started from the relation between KOS and concept theory and how these systems and theory can help build better archival classification systems. We argued that it is possible to use KOS and concept theory as part of the traditional classification approach to records. It is a significant issue when we relate how classification is used by non-archivists, which are the ones that produce the records and that have the right to access then. As said in the beginning, this the first time to bring these subjects close in this matter, we will, in the future, stay in this path bring KO closer and closer to archival science theory. References Barros, Thiago Henrique Bragato and Daniel Libonati Gomes. 2018. “Classification, Knowledge Organization Systems: Ontologies and Archival Classification.” In Challenges and Opportunities for Knowledge Organization in the Digital Age: Proceedings of the Fifteenth International ISKO Conference 9-11 July 2018 Porto, Portugal, edited by Fernanda Ribeiro and Maria Elisa Cerveira. Advances in knowledge organization 16. Baden-Baden: Ergon, 103-111. Barros, Thiago Henrique Bragato and Renato Tarciso Barbosa de Sousa. 2019. “Archival Science and Knowledge Organization: Mapping Methodological Relationships.” Knowledge Organization 46: 493-501 Brooks, Philip C. 1940. “The Selection of Records for Preservation.” American Archivist 3: 221- 34 469 Dahlberg, Ingetraut. 1978. “A Referent-Oriented, Analytical Concept Theory for INTERCONCEPT.” International Classification 5: 142-51. Dahlberg, Ingetraut. 1993. “Knowledge Organization: Its Scope and Possibilities.” Knowledge Organization 20: 211-22 Duranti, Luciana. 1997. “The Archival Bond.” Archives and Museum Informatics 11: 213–218. Eastwood, Terry. 1994. “What Is Archival Theory and Why Is It Important?” Archivaria 37: 122- 130. Foscarini, Fiorella. 2006. “Records Classification and Functions: An Archival Perspective.” Knowledge Organization 33: 188–98. Gomes, Daniel Libonati, Thiago Henrique Bragato Barros, Renato Tarciso Barbosa de Sousa, and Roberto Lopes dos Santos Junior. 2020. “Proposta de uma Ferramenta para Classificação Arquivística com Base em Ontologias.” Em Questão 26, n. 1, p. 351-374 Hjørland, Birger. 2008. “What Is Knowledge Organization (KO)?” Knowledge Organization 35: 86-101, Hjørland, Birger. 2016 “Knowledge Organization (KO).” Knowledge Organization 43: 475-84. Hurley, Chris. 1993 “What, if Anything, Is a Function?” Archives and Manuscripts 21, no. 2: 208- 220 International Organization for Standardization. 2016. Information and Documentation: Records Management; Part 1 General. PD ISO/TR 15489-1: 2016. Geneva: ISO. Orr, Stuart Anthony. 2005. Functional-Based Classification of Records: Is It Functional? Master’s thesis. Newcastle: Northumbria University. Posner, Ernst. 1964. American State Archives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rules for Archival Description. 2008. Revised version. Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists. http://www.cdncoun Sabourin, Paul. 2001 “Constructing a Function-Based Records Classification System: Business Activity Structure Classification System.” Archivaria 51: 137-154. Schellenberg, Theodore R. 2003. Modern Archives: Principles and Techniques. Chicago: Society of American Archivists. Shepherd, Elizabeth and Geoffrey Yeo. 2003. Managing Records: A Handbook of Principles and Practice. London: Facet. Sousa, Renato Tarciso Barbosa de and Rogério Henrique de Araújo Júnior. 2013 “A Classificação e a Taxonomia como Instrumentos Efetivos para a Recuperação da Informação Arquivística.” Ciência da Informação 42, no. 1: 131-144. Sousa, Renato Tarciso Barbosa de and Rogério Henrique de Araújo Junior. 2017 “A Indexação e Criação de Taxonomias para Documentos de Arquivo: Proposta para a Expansão do Acesso e Integração das Fontes de Informação.” Brazilian Journal of Information Science: Research Trends 11, no. 4: 47-56.

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The proceedings explore knowledge organization systems and their role in knowledge organization, knowledge sharing, and information searching.

The papers cover a wide range of topics related to knowledge transfer, representation, concepts and conceptualization, social tagging, domain analysis, music classification, fiction genres, museum organization. The papers discuss theoretical issues related to knowledge organization and the design, development and implementation of knowledge organizing systems as well as practical considerations and solutions in the application of knowledge organization theory. Covered is a range of knowledge organization systems from classification systems, thesauri, metadata schemas to ontologies and taxonomies.


Der Tagungsband untersucht Wissensorganisationssysteme und ihre Rolle bei der Wissensorganisation, dem Wissensaustausch und der Informationssuche. Die Beiträge decken ein breites Spektrum von Themen ab, die mit Wissenstransfer, Repräsentation, Konzeptualisierung, Social Tagging, Domänenanalyse, Musikklassifizierung, Fiktionsgenres und Museumsorganisation zu tun haben. In den Beiträgen werden theoretische Fragen der Wissensorganisation und des Designs, der Entwicklung und Implementierung von Systemen zur Wissensorganisation sowie praktische Überlegungen und Lösungen bei der Anwendung der Theorie der Wissensorganisation diskutiert. Es wird eine Reihe von Wissensorganisationssystemen behandelt, von Klassifikationssystemen, Thesauri, Metadatenschemata bis hin zu Ontologien und Taxonomien.