Anachronism in global information systems: The cases of Catalogue of Life and Unicode

The Catalogue of Life (CoL) and the Unicode Standard are examples of information systems that aim toward universals: the goal of the CoL is to provide a “single integrated species checklist and taxonomic hierarchy”; the goal of Unicode is to be a “universal character set” covering the world’s writing systems. In this preliminary research paper we present anachronism as a key obstacle in the design, expansion, and evolution of such systems. We highlight the preservation of concepts (of species and of writing systems) through their inclusion in these systems as an example of how such anachronisms materialize. The goal in this piece is to present a more nuanced understanding of how information and documentary systems (viz- á-viz, indexes, taxonomies, knowledge organization systems, etc.) create new, multiplicitous temporal spaces as part of their construction—knowledge that can then be applied as information professionals build these systems and subsequently evaluate their functionality and efficacy.

Date Submitted:
Nov 21 2018
iConference 2017 Proceedings

 Record created 2018-11-21, last modified 2019-04-03

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)