Knowledge structures and the vocabulary of engineering novices. Presented at the Eighth International ISKO Conference, London, July 13-16, 2004.
AuthorColeman, Anita Sundaram
Local subject classificationcontrolled vocabularies
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CitationKnowledge structures and the vocabulary of engineering novices. Presented at the Eighth International ISKO Conference, London, July 13-16, 2004. 2004-07,
AbstractThis presentation is based on the refereed paper published in the ISKO 8 proceedings (see References for citation). It describes a study of the language used by undergraduate engineering students engaged in a civil engineering laboratory. Learnerâ s concepts and relationships in the area of soil consolidation were elicited in order to provide an understanding of the structural knowledge of novices and compare it with the knowledge structures of a human expert and a thesaurus tool. Concept maps and pathfinder networks were used to visualize and analyze the resultant knowledge structures of novice learners, expert, and tool. Results show that there is little similarity between the knowledge structures of the novice, the expert, and the tool. There is preliminary evidence that students with complex knowledge structures earn better grades thereby, encouraging collaborative research between instructional evaluation and knowledge organization in order to measure the educational impact of digital libraries (DL); for example, cause-effect relationships could be studied between the vocabularies used in browsing and other navigational systems in a DL and the educational outcomes achieved.
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Deliberate bias in Knowledge Organization? Advances in Knowledge Organization, vol. 11, 2008, pp. 256-261.Hjørland, Birger (ERGON Verlag, 2008)"Bias" is normally understood as a negatively loaded word, as something to be avoided or minimized, for example, in statistics or in knowledge organization. Recently Melanie Feinberg suggested, however, that "if we cannot eliminate bias, then we should instead attempt to be more responsible about it and explicitly decide on and defend the perspectives represented in information systems". This view is linked to related views: That knowledge organization is too much concerned with information retrieval and too much described in the mode of scientific discovery, as opposed to the mode of artifact design: "From the literary warrant of Hulme to the terminological warrant of the Classification Research Group (CRG), to Hjørland’s domain analysis, the classificationist seems like one who documents and compiles, and not one who actively shapes design." This paper examines these claims, which may be understood as questions about subjectivity and objectivity in classification and about positivism versus pragmatism in research. Is KO an objective and neutral activity? Can it be? Should it be? A dominant view has been that knowledge and KO should be understood as a passive reflection of an external order. This has been termed the mirror metaphor of knowledge and is related to empiricism and positivism. The opposite view - which is in accordance with both Feinberg and Hjørland - states that knowledge organization should be functional and thus reflecting given goals, purposes and values. It is related to pragmatism in philosophy.
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