Patent Classification as Indicators of Cognitive Structures

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Fri Mar 23 13:10:24 EDT 2007


It suggests that in typical cases there will be many useful ways to
systematically organize or classify a given body of information. If so then
there is probably no single way that will be generally useful or
representative. A working instance of this principle is the NASA taxonomy
system, with 11 independent taxonomies. However, many of the underlying
structures are not taxonomies, nor even tree-structures. Many are networks
with convergence as well as tree-like divergence.

Dear David: I fully agree. A taxonomy reduces the complexity with at least
one dimension. It creates a window with a perspective. Nevertheless, one can
study the quality of the representation of the multi-dimensional structure
which is represented. For example, ISI once launched the Atlas of Science
(in the late 1980s) which was based on single linkage clustering of
co-citations. That went wrong. However, cocitation analysis itself is an
important tool.
Best wishes,  Loet
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