Dispatches from ASIS&T – Panel on the Temporal Dimension of Knowledge Bases

“The Temporal Dimension in the Study of Knowledge Bases: Approaches to Understanding Knowledge Creation and Representation Over Time”

Melissa Adler, University of Kentucky
Corinne Rogers, University of British Columbia
Stasa Milojevic, University of Bloomington
Jevin West, University of Washington

This panel addressed means of exploring change over time in information repositories. The participants all demonstrated different problems and techniques; since their presentations were all so different, we’ll summarize them below:

  • Melissa Adler focused on the changing ways that LCSH has classified the term “homosexuality” over time, from a sub-category of sexual deviance to a sub-category of human sexual behavior. As she pointed out, this has led to some resources being mis-classified through automated processes; at the same time, using modern terminology is sometimes a mischaracterization of historical works.
  • Corinne Rogers discussed the ethical problems involved in keeping metadata about different points in the life of a document, especially pertaining to legal cases.
  • Stasa Milojevic discussed different methods (hierarchical, linear, matrix, etc.) that can be used to visualize knowledge domains over time. She pointed out that you can actually visualize the degree to which social sciences adopt vocabularies and struggle to maintain a core set of terms over the years.
  • Jevin West demoed some of his visualizations from eigenfactor.org, using scholarly citation analysis to track the emergence and cross communication of academic disciplines.

All in all, an interesting session! Get in touch with us if you want more information about the papers presented.