Katerina Lynn Stanton, Rachel Ivy Clarke, The Design Domain is Divided: Issues in Interdisciplinary Library Classification in:

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

Knowledge Organization at the Interface, page 564 - 565

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
Katerina Lynn Stanton – Syracuse University, USA Rachel Ivy Clarke – Syracuse University, USA The Design Domain is Divided Issues in Interdisciplinary Library Classification Abstract: This work explores how the two dominant library classification systems in the United States, Dewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress Classifications portray the ontological positioning of design. Both classifications reveal design has no classification schedule of its own in either system, and is instead divided largely between Fine Art and Technology/Engineering as subclasses. This subsummation isolates design into ontological siloes, with significant implications for research and practice. 1.0 Introduction An ever-expanding volume of knowledge organization research shows that classification systems express viewpoints. Bowker and Star (1999) show how systems express particular views about labor and identity, with significant implications from healthcare billing to racial segregation. Additional scholars have shown how library subject headings, classification, and controlled vocabularies express normative views about race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and class (e.g., Olson 2002; Furner 2007; Adler, Huber, and Mix 2017; Howard and Knowlton 2018). As these knowledge organization system express perspectives, they establish an ontological worldview of the domain they describe. How do the two dominant library classification systems in the United States, Dewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress Classification, portray the ontological positioning of design, and what does each classification reveal regarding perceptions of design as a domain? 1.1 Design as a domain Design is a complex domain with competing views regarding its status. Simon (1996) considers design to be an applied scientific field. Others, such as Cross (2011), argue that design is a unique discipline, distinct from sciences or arts. Epistemological and ontological perspectives on design have changed dramatically in the past century: have library classification schemes kept pace? 2.0 The method Hjørland (2002) lists examination of tools like classification schemes as one of eleven methods for domain analysis, suggesting that information professionals can better understand a conceptual space, such as a field of study or discipline, through examination of the knowledge organization systems used to describe and index documents in that space. This poster will report on a close reading and critical analysis of these two major library classification systems to reveal an overarching domain analysis of design. 565 3.0 Discussion of findings Preliminary findings reveal that design has no classification schedule of its own in either system, and is instead divided largely between Fine Art and Technology/Engineering as subclasses. Moreover, the relegation of design to multiple levels of subclasses within various topics reifies the notion that design is a process or activity within other disciplines or domains, rather than its own discipline. Thus, design theories and practices--unique aspects that delineate design as a distinct epistemology--are systematically classified subordinate to the objects that design produces. Instead of supporting diverse repertoire-building within the broader design domain, this subsummation isolates design research into ontological siloes, minimizing exposure to additional alternate knowledge. Potential implications include a lack of interdisciplinary research and outside-the-box innovation, rendering design less visible as a domain of its own. References Adler, Melissa, Jeffrey T. Huber, and A. Tyler Nix. 2017. “Stigmatizing Disability: Library Classifications and the Marking and Marginalization of Books about People with Disabilities.” The Library Quarterly 87, no. 2: 117-135. Bowker, Geoffrey C. and Susan Leigh Star. 2011. Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press Cross, Nigel. 2011. Design Thinking. Oxford; New York: Berg. Furner, Jonathan. 2007. “Dewey Deracialized: A Critical Race-Theoretic Perspective.” Knowledge Organization 34: 144-168. Hjørland, Birger. 2002. “Domain Analysis in Information Science: Eleven Approaches – Traditional as Well as Innovative.” Journal of Documentation 58: 422–462. Howard, Sara A. and Steven A. Knowlton. 2018. “Browsing Through Bias: The Library Of Congress Classification And Subject Headings For African American Studies And LGBTQIA Studies.” Library Trends 67: 74-88. Olson, Hope A. 2002. The Power to Name: Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Simon, Herbert A. 1996. The Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge: MIT Press.

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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.