Seminars & Workshops


25th Annual SIG/CR Workshop:  Universal Classification in the 21st Century

This workshop brings the latest developments in information science research to bear on the history, development and future prospects of general classification schemes (GCSs). In so doing, it explores emerging new roles for GCSs as means of harmonizing the growing diversity of taxonomies, functionalities, visualizations, affordances and discourses that characterize the global information environment.

As our global information environment moves further into the 21st century, historic tensions continue to challenge us: the tensions between universal standards and local variations; between empirical and critical-discursive approaches; between an infrastructure that pushes us towards homogeneity and communities that insist on their specificity and individuals who insist upon their rights to privacy. In particular, recent trends in the areas of both linked data and big data suggest that much of our information environment will be shaped by the need for an underlying infrastructure of classification that will enable us to harmonize data collected from different sources and for different purposes. Some argue for crowd-sourced folksonomies; others argue for algorithmic analysis of large datasets; still others argue for networks of linked data. Nonetheless, all agree that our future information environment will be shaped by processes of harmonization: developing the means to reconcile diversity into a coherent structure that facilitates the development of information systems and information communities that do tangible good for their users.

With such a pressing need for harmonization, the time is ripe to revisit general classification schemes: the Dewey Decimal Classification, the Library of Congress Classification and the Universal Decimal Classification. As instances of universal classificatory synthesis, these systems, in their rich history and active maintenance, stand on the threshold of an intriguing but as yet undefined future role in the 21st century. They could serve as exemplars and prototypes of future systems; they could be adapted into universal ontologies in their own right; they could exist in a dialogic and contrapuntal relationship with systems designed on different principles.

The workshop will consist of a combination of research papers, position papers and lightning talks presented by established classification researchers as well as young scholars and researchers outside the classification community. 

The workshop will bring general classification schemes, in all their history and complexity, into a fresh relationship with emerging information infrastructures and use the synergy of the workshop and the conference to articulate new and exciting roles for these schemes to play in the years to come.

Workshop proceedings will be published as Advances in Classification Research Online: 25th Annual SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop.

Jonathan Furner, University of California, Los Angeles
Grant Campbell, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Melissa Adler, University of Kentucky


Early-bird:  SIG/CR Members $190, Members $200, Non-members $220
Regular:  SIG/CR Members $210, Members $220, Non-members $240