Classification Principles for Information Systems Analysis and Design

Lay Summary 

Classification is vital to most human activities, and “good” classification schemes enable humans to survive and adapt. As a result, it is not surprising classes play a key role in databases and software systems. A key problem in computer-based classification is the difficulty of organizing data in ways that are useful and acceptable to different users of the data. This research suggests that the variety of relationships that occur in natural and artificial systems (including organizations) necessitates the development of different classification schemes for different purposes. The result is more flexibility in organizing information and a greater ability to retrieve information from databases.

In addition, these classification principles have broader implications. Using the examples of the reclassification of Pluto to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union, and the discovery, originally controversial, that the most common cause of peptic ulcers is the bacterium H. pylori, the authors argue that scientific disagreements over the correct way to classify phenomena can be understood and resolved by applying classification principles.

Related Publications:
“Using Cognitive Principles to Guide Classification in Information Systems Modeling,” MIS Quarterly, 32(4), December 2008, 839-868.
“Understanding Classification Controversies in Science,” Nature, 455(7216), October 23, 2008, 1040-1041.

Faculty of Business Administration
Computer Science
Natural Sciences And Engineering Research Council Of Canada (NSERC)
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Management Information Systems
Computer Science
Industry Sectors 
Scientific Research and Development Services
Start date 
1 Jan 2008