Big Classification: Using the Empirical Power of Classification Interaction

Richard P. Smiraglia


Classification as a cultural artifact serves an epistemological role as disseminator of the culture it embodies. A theory of classification interaction has been proposed that would combine empirical iterations of bibliographic characteristics as factors interacting with traditional conceptual elements in classifications. Nine million UDC numbers extracted from the OCLC WorldCat are sampled and deconstructed, to look for correlations with content-designated components of the associated bibliographic records. Chi-squared is used to locate statistically-significant correlations among nominal-level variables. Results demonstrate a series of footprints of predictable associations. A complex network of associations is revealed and visualized. The results are promising and point to a series of more complex investigations.

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