S.R. Ranganthan's General Theory of Knowledge Classification in Designing, Indexing, and Retrieving from Specialised Databases


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Information Systems, Database Design, Ranganathan S.R., Normative Principles, Knowledge Organization, Analytico Synthetic Methodology.


The principles and postulates of S.R.Ranganathan's General theory of Knowledge Classification, and the implied freely-faceted analytico-synthetic methodology provided a firm foundation for the design, development and application of subject classification, indexing, preparation of vocabulary control tools, and search and retrieval of information in conformity with his Five Laws of information service. This paper summarizes some of our experiences of the use of these normative principles in the design, development, retrieval of information from machine-readable databases, specially object-oriented specialised databases, including the design of user-interfaces and hypertext links. Enumerates some of the earlier instances of the facet method in machine-based systems beginning with Hollerith's punched card system for the U.S. Census data processing. Elaborates on Ranganathan's holistic approach to information systems and services provided by his normative principles. Mentions several of the similarities in the concepts and approach to database design and those of faceted classification system design. Examples from working systems are given to demonstrate the usefulness of selected canons and principles of classification and the analytico-synthetic methodology in database design.


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How to Cite

Neelameghan, A. (1997). S.R. Ranganthan’s General Theory of Knowledge Classification in Designing, Indexing, and Retrieving from Specialised Databases. Journal of Information and Knowledge, 34(1), 3–50. https://doi.org/10.17821/srels/1997/v34i1/48738



Received 2014-05-17
Accepted 2014-05-17
Published 1997-01-01

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