ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Toward a General Approach to Information Organization

Francis Miksa, William Moen, Joseph Tennis, Frank, Little Bear, Exner

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


One of the assumptions of the present era in information organization, where the latter stands as a rubric for the various processes that underlie making informational objects effectively and efficiently accessible, is that the idea of information organization can be generalized to include various approaches that have arisen over the years and which are present in the various agencies that come under the umbrella of ASIS&T, or, as a corollary, that there is a basic set of principles that apply to all such information organization efforts. For example, both A. G. Taylor (2005) and E. Svenonius (2000) provide recent attempts that argue or imply the latter notion.

One basic issue that arises with this assumption is that it has not been examined closely, although over the yearsvarious original thinkers (e.g., S. R. Ranganathan) have made the quest for a singular all-encompassing approach to information organization a hallmark of their work.. Now, as more and more information organization efforts have been brought into the digital realm, there would appear to be a convergence of different approaches to information organization into one.

The purpose of this panel is to explore the idea of a general approach to information organization in order to identify so far as is possible its implications and its possible components. Miksa’s offering will set the general scene for this inquiry by drawing attention to traditions of information organization as socio-historical sets of practices and how they impact on a general approach. Moen will present a case for informational object representation as one of the prime components of a general approach. Exner will explore Fugmann’s axioms of indexing and information supply in order to see if they have broader implications, applying them to library cataloging bibliographic databases as a case study. And Tennis will investigate the idea of a framework that information organization approaches involve (focusing on their purposes, functions, and contexts) and apply it to several current approaches (the latter including open-access scholarly indexing, personal information management protocols, and social tagging). Jonathan Furner, who is an active teacher in knowledge organization and information systems, will moderate the panel.

Each presentation has listed questions for discussion but they all converge on the questions raised in this statement of scope—Can past approaches to information organization be brought under a common general approach to the task? and, as a corollary, Does a basic set of principles that apply to all such approaches exist, and if it does, of what might it consist?


Svenonius, E. 2000. The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization. Cambridge, MA.: MIT. Taylor, A. G. 2003. The Organization of Information. 2nd. ed. Westport, CN: Libraries Unlimited.

START Conference Manager (V2.52.6)