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Dissertation Information for Melanie Feinberg

NAME:
- Melanie Feinberg

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of Washington, Seattle (USA) (2008)

ADVISORS:
- Allyson Carlyle

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Stuart Allen Sutton
- Jens-Erik Mai
- David Hendry

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Classification as communication: Properties and design

Abstract: Within information science, we typically describe the purpose of classification as information retrieval: we organize to find resources quickly and efficiently. In this dissertation, however, I explore an alternate purpose for such activities: communication. Through the way that we group, label, arrange, and relate our resources, we might also understand the resources and their subject matter differently, facilitate intellectual exploration, and better appreciate our collections. A classification that emphasizes the communicative function facilitates this intellectual discovery and exploration by asserting a particular interpretation of the domain that it organizes.

Under this perspective, a classification's point of view, and the way in which it articulates and presents an effective case for that point of view, are key elements of the classification's usefulness and interest. To better understand these features of classification, and to investigate how to emphasize these features through systematic design, the dissertation asks these questions: (1) What are the characteristics of classifications with a communicative purpose, or more explicitly, what makes a classification's interpretation of a subject persuasive? (2) How can such classifications be systematically designed?

These questions encompass two goals: the description and interpretation of a class of artifacts, and a means to create those artifacts methodically and well. I achieve these goals by combining methods drawn from the humanities and from design. In the first part of the dissertation, I adopt a humanities approach to excavate the persuasive strategies appropriate for classifications through the close analysis of selected examples. In conducting this analysis, I synthesize concepts from rhetoric, composition studies, and genre theory, among other disciplines. In the second part of the dissertation, I use a design research approach to explore how to integrate the identified persuasive strategies into classification design. The research mechanism for this aspect of the work involves the creation of two complementary prototype classifications that each take a different perspective on a single subject area. As a result of these two investigations, I have produced a critical vocabulary with which to describe and analyze the rhetorical effects of classification, and I have proposed a classification design process to take advantage of these effects.

MPACT Scores for Melanie Feinberg

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2009-05-18 10:09:21

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Students under Melanie Feinberg

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None