Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Brisa Pozzi de Sousa, Cristina Dotta Ortega

Last modified: 2018-06-19


Congress subtheme: 1 – Foundations and methods for Knowledge Organization

Understanding the subject and its dimension for the records in catalogs or database is the object of this work to delineate the theoretical path in the brazilian context. It is conceived that a keyword, term or descriptor used to represent the subject reflects a name that will be in place of what the document thematically entails. Thus, the subject is an element of representation and its function predisposes the application of documentary instruments.

In order to recover the records represented by documentary processes[1], catalogs and databases, as well as other means of retrieving information such as repositories and portals of electronic publications, require an organization that allows recovery even by thematic aspect.

It is interesting to note that catalogs in paper cards are considered to be prominent in the access to registered information solution and the method was of great importance. The cards, necessarily, were made one by one, according to the number of headings and the possible unfoldings. In relation to the aspect of the representation of the subject, the transition from the manual catalog to the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) aligns in the form of thematic availability of the documents and has adherence to the foundations recommended in the 19th and 20th century, such as the structure syndetic announced by Cutter in 1876, since the systematic set of relating the subjects by the references can be considered an indicator of the relationships that structure the representation of the documentary information in the conceptual model, for exemple, the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD), of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

Still in the US context, in 1901, it is known that the Library of Congress begins the commercialization of cards cataloging  establishing standardization criteria for book representation. Imbued with practical concern, rather than theoretical, structure standards for preserving chip uniformity. By the end of the 19th century, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine at the International Institute of Bibliography (IIB), in Belgium, produced around 16 million chips which were also sold on demand in a decentralized fashion. They used the Universal Decimal Classification system, worrying about aspects of the representation of registered knowledge.

The examples cited above are understood as part of the course that characterizes research in the context of the Knowledge Organization, whose works - Henry Evelyn's The Organization of Knowledge and the System of Science (1929) and The Organization of Knowledge in Libraries (1933) - are referenced as milestones of the indicated area. Considering the impact of the results concerning the organization of knowledge, we have the conception of concept elaboration (DAHLBERG, 1993), a fact that involves knowledge that can be organized through the representation of the information record. However, the theoretical and methodological framework for this representation needs to consider the reflexive exercise of the notion of subject. Thus, whether in the catalytic record or in the OPAC, the notion of subject goes beyond the fact that it is simply a name chosen to represent a document.

In this context, it is understood that the notion of subject must be worked from different perspectives, with the purpose of establishing scientific parameters that contribute to demonstrate thematic representation as a reasoned construction. This action is a priority for the exploration of the methods and methodological bases of this scientific area.

Thus, this work has as its objective the theoretical basis that supports the notion of subject in the thematic representation, crossing the scope of the Subject Cataloging, Indexing and Document Analysis (Analyse Documentaire) lines that “[. ..] today find important space for dialogue within the framework of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO)” (GUIMARÃES, 2008, p.79).

In search of grounding on the notion of subject are different theoretical references that refer to the thematic treatment and its landmark in the process of documentary representation. There are also advances in the foundations of documentary languages; however, for the proposal of this project the mentioned languages are not object of analysis, but its theoretical conception corroborates with the thematic field.

In order to reach the foundation for the notion of subject, it is sought from authors of said lines to structure how these theoretical influences took place in Brazil.

For this purpose, authors such as Pinto Molina (1993, p.78) indicate that there is “extreme conceptual anarchy” related to the operations of Documentary Analysis (AD) and points out that problems of ambiguity and lack of precision occur in address a domain that lacks precise definitions.

For Izquierdo Alonso (2000), the Documentary Content Analysis (ADC) refers to Documentary Linguistics (LD)/Documentary Semiotics (SD) responsible for covering the Documentary Content Treatment (TDC)[2] which, in turn, uses as a frame of reference linguistic models ranging from structuralism to generationalism, as well as pragmatic currents, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. It can be seen that this theoretical scenario is influenced by teacher José María Izquierdo Arroyo.

Mann (1962) understands cataloging and classification from what the Library of Congress introduces as a means to represent and make books accessible, catalog preparation and other records being a major part of the cataloger's work. For the said author, the classification consists of the way of organizing the books and avoiding the useless examination of several titles in the shelves. Shera and Egan (1969, p.5) point out that in the twentieth century the systematic catalog was the mechanism adopted to satisfy the modern requirements of bibliographic research, since “the increase of specialization made the subject feasible and attractive […]”.

Foskett (1973) works on specific aspects of the thematic approach to information and Guimarães (2003, 2008, 2009) indicates the author as responsible for the foundation of the epistemological universe called Information Thematic Treatment (TTI).

Thus, the aspects that cross and resize the theoretical lines involve the conceptual construction that justifies the confrontation of the notion of subject.





[1] The adjective documentary is contemplated by the document (original French documentary) object resulting from the documentary activity. Documentation, documentary process, documentary product, documentary product, documentary analysis (ORTEGA, 2017) are structured by the processes derived from the document and documentation, and thus will be the terminological standards adopted for the present research.

[2] Análisis Documental de Contenido (ADC), Lingüística Documental (LD), Semiótica Documental (SD) e Tratamiento Documental de Contenido (TDC).