Foundational, First-Order, and Second-Order Classification Theory
Both basic and applied research on the construction, implementation, maintenance, and evaluation of classification schemes is called classification theory. If we employ Ritzer’s metatheoretical method of analysis on the over one-hundred year-old body of literature, we can see categories of theory emerge. This paper looks at one particular part of knowledge organization work, namely classification theory, and asks 1) what are the contours of this intellectual space, and, 2) what have we produced in the theoretical reflection on con- structing, implementing, and evaluating classification schemes? The preliminary findings from this work are that classification theory can be separated into three kinds: foundational classification theory, first-order classification theory, and second-order classification theory, each with its own concerns and objects of study.
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