Modeling the Aesthetic Axis of Information Organization Frameworks, Part 2: Case Studies
Tennis, Joseph T.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework, based on contemporary philosophical aesthetics, from which principled assessments of the aesthetic value of information organization frameworks may be conducted.Design/methodology/approach – This paper identifies appropriate discourses within the field of philosophical aesthetics, constructs from them a framework for assessing aesthetic properties of information organization frameworks. This framework is then applied in two case studies examining the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), and Sexual Nomenclature: A Thesaurus. Findings – In both information organization frameworks studied, the aesthetic analysis was useful in identifying judgments of the frameworks as aesthetic judgments, in promoting discovery of further areas of aesthetic judgments, and in prompting reflection on the nature of these aesthetic judgments. Research limitations/implications – This study provides proof-of-concept for the aesthetic evaluation of information organization frameworks. Areas of future research are identified as the role of cultural relativism in such aesthetic evaluation and identification of appropriate aesthetic properties of information organization frameworks.Practical implications – By identifying a subset of judgments of information organization frameworks as aesthetic judgments, aesthetic evaluation of such frameworks can be made explicit and principled. Aesthetic judgments can be separated from questions of economic feasibility, functional requirements, and user-orientation. Design and maintenance of information organization frameworks can be based on these principles.Originality/value – This study introduces a new evaluative axis for information organization frameworks based on philosophical aesthetics. By improving the evaluation of such novel frameworks, design and maintenance can be guided by these principles.Keywords Evaluation, Analysis, Bibliographic systems, Indexes, Retrieval languages, Philosophy
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