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Classification

"the heart of analysis"

Classification :: 1 of 4

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Briefly

Classification is the action or process of categorising things on the basis of their qualities or characteristics.

Synonyms

Categorisation; folksonomy; ontology; taxonomy

Elaboration

The father of the modern practice and science of classification - qua taxonomy - was the Swedish botanist and physician Carolus Linnaeus (1707 - 1778).

Still the most important aspect of the method of classifying living things that Linnaeus devised - Linnaean taxonomy, which is accordingly named after him - is the general use of binomial nomenclature, the combination of a genus name and a single specific epithet to uniquely identify each species of organism, e.g. Homo sapiens.

A Linnaean taxonomy, as in any taxonomic scheme, is composed of taxonomic units known as taxa arranged in a hierarchical network structure, typically related by parent-child relationships: sitemaps are classic examples of (content) taxonomies of course.

Mathematically, a hierarchical taxonomy - also called a containment hierarchy - is a tree structure of classifications for a given set of objects. At the top of this structure is a single classification, the root node, that applies to all objects. Nodes below this root are more specific classifications that apply to subsets of the total set of classified objects.

One of the most prevalent - and perhaps least appreciated - applications of classification is to the field of library classification, to which the majority of modern web practice owes a huge (and often unacknowledged) debt.

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