From Medieval Philosophy to the Virtual Library: a descriptive framework for scientific knowledge and documentation as basis for document retrieval
Keywords:philosophy, library, communication, conceptualism
AbstractThis paper examines the conceptual basis of document retrieval systems for the Virtual Library in science and technology. It does so through analysing some cognitive models for scientific knowledge, drawing on philosophy, sociology and linguistics. It is important to consider improvements in search/ retrieval functionalities for scientific documents because knowledge creation and transfer are integral to the functioning of scientific communities, and on a larger scale, science and technology are central to the knowledge economy. This paper proposes four new and innovative understandings. Firstly, it is proposed that formal scientific communication constitutes the documentation and dissemination of concepts, and that conceptualism is a useful philosophical basis for study. Second, it is proposed that the scientific document is a dyadic con-struct, being both the physical manifestation as an encoded medium, and also being the associated knowledge, or intangible ideation, that is carried within the document. Third, it is shown that major philosophers of science divide science into three main activities, dealing with data, derived or inferred laws, and the axioms or the paradigm. Fourth, it is demonstrated that the data, information and conceptual frameworks carried by a scientific document, as different levels of signification or semiotic systems, can each be characterised in ways assisting in search and retrieval functionalities for the Virtual Library.
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