Likeness and Likeliness: Exploring Multidimensional Classification for the Multiverse of Information


  • Charles van den Heuvel Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Richard P. Smiraglia School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee



Classification theory, Universe of Knowledge metaphor, Multi dimensional classification, Non semantic information retrieval, Transdisciplinarity


In previous studies grouped under the common denominator “Idea Collider,” the CERN Hadron-Collider was used as a metaphor to explore the meaning of breaking down existing structured and less-structured clusters of information into the finest particles to get a better understanding of the laws and nature of the universe of knowledge (Heuvel and Smiraglia, 2010). Moreover we compared past conceptualizations and visualizations of multidimensional classifications, in particular of faceted systems, and tried to assess their potential for future information retrieval (Heuvel 2011; Heuvel and Akdag Salah, 2011). Where most classification theories focused on knowledge integration in a single universe of knowledge, we outlined the framework of an elementary theory of knowledge interaction in a multiverse of knowledge (Smiraglia, Heuvel and Dousa 2011). We believe that similar to the real universe, not only matter, but also energy and gravitational forces are of importance for understanding the multiverse of information better. For that reason we want to elaborate on the question of how one perceives and interacts with knowledge production.