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Taxonomy Definition

For the purpose of the project it is important to find a suitable classification scheme that will enhance the ability to correctly and reliably classify datasets to aid their discovery. Classification schemes such as the Dewey Decimal Classification, Universal Decimal Classification, and the Library of Congress Classification, while universal, do have a library bias which is also to do with correctly shelving and finding items in a library.

Other systems such as UNESCO-SPINES or Frascati have the benefit of being more information and information retrieval oriented as opposed to having a library focus. This is good in principle but in terms of scientific disciplines and sub-disciplines and fields of research they do not provide the right level of  granularity to classify large collections of datasets in a way where interested parties can drill down to classify datasets for later discovery and reliably find relevant datasets for a given task.

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) and HEFCE have a shared commitment to maintaining and improving the capacity of the UK research base and to ensuring that significant outputs from this activity are made available as widely as possible both within and beyond the research community.

As far as current practice in the research councils is concerned there are two important developments that are in use not just for datasets but also for other areas including publications and grants and grant applications which are:

  • the RCUK Subject Classification Scheme (and the Research Output System (ROS))
  • the JACS subject coding system (HESA)

The RCUK categories present a good level of detail with regard to research outputs and could provide the fine detail that will be needed for the C4D subject demonstrator. Given the aim of C4D to manage metadata of datasets for a variety of disciplines and in particular to support the discovery of them in terms of search based retrieval or explorative browsing the  RCUK categories set seems to be a better fit.

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