Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web

Source: Denton, William. "How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web" Nov. 2003.

I too like to think about things in terms of many facets, each of which reveals some aspects of those things, and which must be used together to get a good idea of that which is observed. Here is the definition from the papet:
What are facets? Consider a common example, wine. Each wine has a certain colour. It comes from a certain place. It is made from a particular kind (or blend) of grape. Its year of vintage is known. It has been guaranteed to be of a certain quality by its country's wine authorities. It comes in a container of a given volume. It has a price. A list could be made of all wines, but it would be enormously long and unwieldy. On the web, it would mean scrolling through screen after screen of endless subdivisions— hard to use, and hard to search. With facets, we can set up a handful of categories that will combine to fully describe the wines: colour, origin, grape, year, appellation, volume, price. Each category is populated with the right terms and organized in an appropriate way. Then each bottle of wine is classified by picking and choosing the right terms from each category. This is a faceted classification: a set of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive categories, each made by isolating one perspective on the items (a facet), that combine to completely describe all the objects in question, and which users can use, by searching and browsing, to find what they need.

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