March 1972 | Draft

Relationship Between Elements of Knowledge

Use of computer systems to facilitate construction, comprehension and comparison
of the concept thesauri of different schools of thought

- / -

Originally distributed as Working Paper 3 of the Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis
of the International Political Science Association based on an earlier version (Design of an information system to facilitate the production of concept thesauri by different schools of thought, 1971). The original document is available in a single searchable PDF version (8mb).
That PDF contains the sections below, but also includes the Appendices (also accessible as separate PDFs).
See also abridged version: Toward a Concept Inventory: suggestions for a computerized procedure (1973)
The proposal outlined was the basis for development of the computer facility for the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential



Quotes indicative of strategic relevance

Stafford Beer: Managing modern complexity. In: The Management of Information and Knowledge: a compilation of papers prepared for the 11th. Meeting of the Panel on Science and Technology of the Committee on Science and Astronautics (US House of Representatives, 1970):

Handling complexity seems to be the major problem of the age 1 in the way that handling material substance offered challenge to our forefathers. Computers are the t.ools we have to use, and their effective use must be directed by a science competent to handle the organization of large, complex probabilistic systems.

Georges Mounin: Discours inaugural du Colloque sur le mot structure sous las auspices de l 'UNESCO (In: Roger Bastide (Ed.). Sens et usages du terme structure dans les sciences humaines et sociales, 1962, 165 p.) .

Des mots aussi courants que "groups", "classe"; "pouvoir:" ou "structure ... comptent actuellement non pas deux, ou trois, ou quatre significations fondamentales -- ce qui est normal -- mais autant d'acceptions que d'auteurs, acceptions parfaitement irreducibles a un commun denominateur, et meme totalement autonomiques.

John M. Ziman: Information, communication and knowledge (Nature, 224,. 25 October 1969, p. 323):

I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of this activity of intellectual synthesis. Any notion that we may have about the nature of science includes the belief that something like an overall pattern is to yet discovered and described.. What we need is scientific knowledge -- not more and more miscellaneous and unrelated information.

René Maheu: Allocution du Directeur General de l'UNESCO au Colloque international de l'UNESCO sur le theme ''Science et Synthese", 1967):

Face a la spécialisation croissante de la pensée et de l'action par la diversification de la recherche et la division du travail (UNESCO) se doit de favoriser les recherches et les confrontations interdisciplinaires, d'encouragor les réflexions de 1'ensemble, bref de souligner l'importance vitale de l'esprit de synthèse pour l'équilibre de notre civilisation. Je dis bien vitale, car l'homme -- j'entends l'essentiel, a savoir son jugement, sa liberté -- peut aussi bien etre asphyxié par son savoir que paralysé par son ignorance, et il pout tout autant se perdre dans la complexité du comportement social dévorant que s'attrophier dans la simplicité élémentaire d'une condition dite de sous-développement.

René Maheu: Director General of UNESCO (Main Trends of Research in the Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, 1970, p. xiv-xv):

The practical manifestation of this interdependence... ( the social sciences and the human sciences) is interdisciplinary co-operation, which culminates in multidisciplinary research and is embodied in teamwork: an indispensable basis for the knowledge of man, but at the same time an idea which, in general, abstract terms, has a dangerous fascination, and which might remain no more than an empty and unproductive slogan if its foundations and mechanisms were not clearly identified by contact with specific problems propounded to research, and with due regard to the various institutional, financial, technical. and human factors on which its development, fruitfulness and capacity for renewal and creation in fact depend.

Peter Drucker: The Age of' Discontinuity: guidelines to our changing society (1969):

The most probable assumption is that every single one of the old demarcations; disciplines, and faculties is going to become obsolete and a barrier to learning as well as to understanding. The fact that we are shifting from a Cartesian view of the universe, in. which the accent has been on parts and elements, to a configuration view, with the emphasis on wholes and patterns, challenges every single. dividing line between areas of study and knowledge.

Benjamin Lee Whorf: Language, Thought and Reality (1956, p. 84):

The possibilities open to thinking are the possibilities of recognizing relationships and the discovery of techniques of operating with relationships on the mental or intellectual plane, such as will in turn lead to ever wider and more penetratingly significant systems of relationships.

René Maheu: Preface (Main Trends of Research in the Social and Human Sciences. UNESCO, 1970, p. xxv):

One of the most significant results that should naturally emerge from a study such as this, is the presentation of a chart -- admittedly provisional and subject to constant revision -- of the strong points and weak points of interdisciplinary cooperation and of their substrates, and the identification of priority areas to which research scientists should direct their thinking and. institutions their activities.

Geoffrey Vickers: Value Systems and Social Process. (1970):

Like the life form's of the physical world, the dreams of men spread and colonize their inner world, clash, excite, modify and destroy each other, or preserve their stability by making strange accommodations with their rivals. So I regard it as a legitimate analogy, though not, of course, an exact one, to speak of our interpretative system -- I call it on appreciative system -- as an ecological system, even though the laws which order and develop a population of ideas (conflicting, competing, and mutually supporting) in communicating minds are different from those which order and develop a population of monkeys in a rain forest or of insects under a paving stone.

Every field of activity, politics, law, and not least science, like every society, has its own stability to guard. (p. 182)

René Maheu: Directeur Général da 1'UNESCO, 15e Conférence Générale, Comptes rendus des débats (1968):

L'uniformité croissante de la terminologie éthique que l'on remarque dans les réunions internationales, où elle facilite assurément les communications formelles et les ententes apparentes, ne doit pas nous abuser, Derrière le mur de brouillard des mots, la diversité, voire l'opposition des interprétations, des motivations et des utilisations divisent profondément les esprits et, a la faveur de cette confusion, les droits universels sont bien plus souvent invoqués comme une armes offensive ou défensive contre autrui que reconnus et pratiqués comme la route royale de l'union de soi et d'autrui en une fraternité objective.

Chuang Tzu (4th century B.C.): From Chuang Tzu: Genius of the Absurd, arranged from the work of James Legge, by C Waltham. Ace Books, page 50 and 72.)

Thus is affirmed now life and now death, now death and now life; now the admissibility of a thing and now its inadmissibility, now its inadmissibility and now its admissibility. The disputants now affirm and now deny, now deny and now affirm. Therefore the sagely man does not pursue this method but views things in the light of his heavenly nature, and hence forms his judgment of what is right... Words are like the waves acted on by the wind: the real point of the matters discussed by them is lost. The wind and waves are easily set in motion; the success of the matter of which the real point is lost is easily put in peril. Hence quarrels are occasioned by nothing so much as by artful words and one-sided speeches.

Preface: This report has been prepared for the Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (COCTA) of the International Political Science Association. It constitute a much-expanded version of' a set of notes which were discussed in relation to proposals in COCTA Working Paper No. 1 (prepared by Fred Riggs, Secretary of' COCTA), and in the COCTA Manifesto (prepared by Giovanni Sartori, Chairman of COCTA and Fred Riggs) at a meeting sponsored by the international Studies Association and held, on the invitation of the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Villa Serbelloni (Bellagio, Italy, 1-5 September 1971).

Although COCTA currently derives its main support from the political science field, it is intended that its approach should if possible be made relevant to a broad range of social sciences. This report has therefore been written in such a way as to make the design useful to a variety. of disciplines and users.

In order to achieve this, a very simple approach has bean. adopted which results, from a computer-level perspective, in a means of handling any entities or relationships. In this report, the stress has been placed on concepts, theoretical constructs, etc. It could equally well handle (i) organizations, and other social system entities and relationships, (ii) real "world problems" and their relationships, or possibly (iii) personal belief's and their interrelationships.

The computer approach suggested here is in fact the simplification and modification of one developed by the author for the Union of International Associations with a view to creating a data bank of entities significant to the international system, based initially on the contents of the Yearbook of International Organizations. The problems of concept-handling arose in the treatment of organization program concerns.

This work also suggested a more systemic approach to education about the interrelationships between fields of knowledge and activity as well as the profitability of handling and analyzing information on interlinking "world problems", in conjunction with the production of a Yearbook of World Problems (What is a World Problem?, International Associations, 1971; Jere W. Clark and Anthony Judge, Development of Trans-disciplinary Conceptual Aids, 1970)).

The possibilities of this computer approach may in fact be most quickly recognized and funded in studies of entities in natural environment systems where the representation of complex interlinking ''food chains and "food webs" has to date, posed an insurmountable problem (O. Pimentel, Complexity of ecological systems and problems in their study and management. In: Systems Analysis in Ecology, 1966). The use of the interactive graphics techniques suggested here, and for which a demonstration film has been prepared, may constitute a breakthrough in handling organized complexity (Anthony Judge, Visualization of Organization,16mm film, 1970). Hopefully it will be possible for groups interested in the different uses of the same type of network analysis computer program to work together in building up a case for funding -- particularly in the case of the graphics display programs,

This report makes reference to activities and. techniques in a wide spread of domains, Clearly the author can claim no special competence in all these domains. It is nevertheless important to juxtapose material from such different sources rather than simply provide a bibliographical citation, particularly as much of it is relatively inaccessible. A number of the Appendices are therefore summaries, partial extracts, or commented extracts from published material. It is hoped that this approach will facilitate the reader 's task of appreciating the many facets of this project.

Introduction: This report addresses itself to the practical problems of developing a means of filing concepts and other theoretical constructs in a data bank. Such concepts u1ould be filed in terms of their meaning and not in terms of the word by which they happen to be represented in a particular school of thought. The reason for this approach is that many of the words on u1hich most reliance is placed in the social sciences (e.g. "group", .class", "power", or "structure") have acquired a multiplicity of overlapping meanings (Fred W, Riggs, Concepts, Words and Terminology, University of Hawaii, Social Science Research Institute, 1971, COCTA Working Paper #1; Giovanni Sartori, Concept Misinformation in Comparative Politics, American Political Science Review, 64, December 1970, 4, pp.1033-1053).

The concept file so created would be used to generate lists, to facilitate classification and interrelation of concepts to produce concept thesauri, and, finally, to facilitate the allocation of "authoritative" terms to permit the production of terminological thesauri.

The object of this project would be to ensure that any qualified person -- with a few safeguards -- would be free to register entities in the file which would then become available for secondary analysis at any interested research centre,

One form such analysis might take would be the construction and comparison of various models or classification schemes for theoretical entities. At a tertiary level, efforts could be made to link such entities with each other, cutting across the boundaries of disciplines, ideologies, epistemological approaches, paradigms or problems. This activity would provide new alternative means of approaching the entities held on the file but would not affect their use for more restricted purposes.

In this report particular attention has been paid to some of the techniques available to analyze complex entity networks or structures. Because of this complexity and the problems of comprehending it, the use of interactive computer graphics has been examined as a powerful means of simplifying the task and making the project more widely significant.

Appendices [only available as separate searchable PDF documents, as noted below, or in the complete PDF version]

A. Project organization (Appendix A)

  • Organization of project A1
  • Classification and modelling A2
  • Types of model A3
  • Types of entity included A4
  • Types of relationship included A5
  • Data to be included on each entity A6
  • Limitation of scope A7
  • Concept notation in documents A8

B. Computer techniques (Appendix B)

  • Computer record handling software B1
  • The ADMINS computer system B2
  • Use of interactive graphic display techniques B3
  • Online specification of possible graphics demonstration programs B4

C. Methods of representation and analysis (Appendix C)

  • Representation of concept networks using graph theory C1
  • Relationship to artificial intelligence projects C2
  • Relationship to personal construct evaluation techniques C3
  • Semantic matrices C4
  • Use of input/output analysis C5

D. Earlier initiatives and sources of concepts (Appendix D)

  • Related and earlier attempts at concept coding D1
  • Conceptual dictionaries D2
  • Relationship to citation indexing method D3
  • Relationship to the U.D.C./ Dewey classification schemes D4
  • Relationship to the UN/OECD Aligned List of Descriptors D5
  • Relationship to the UNISIST proposals for a World Science Information System D6
  • The Shepherd's Citator Coding Technique D7
  • Use of the International Standard Book Numbering technique D8
  • Sources for social science concepts D9
  • International organizations possibly interested D10
  • Relationship to the SATCOM recommendations D11
  • International Center for the Terminology of the Social Sciences D12

E. Language and knowledge considerations (Appendix E)

  • The Concept of semantic fields E1
  • Use of several languages and translation problems E2
  • A discipline's model as a "language" E3
  • Knowledge, information, and documentation E4
  • Knowledge dynamics E5

F. Future possibilities (Appendix F)

  • Future prospects: an ideal knowledge-representation system F1


1. Project Objectives: A project to handle, structure, and analyze theoretical constructs is proposed which would be operated as three distinct phases: a concept-filing phase leading to the creation and maintenance of concept inventories; a concept classification phase, leading to the production of concept thesauri; a term-allocation phase, leading to the production of standardized terminological thesauri. A translation phase, to make the project more widely relevant, would run in parallel with the above three. Each succeeding phase builds on the previous one, but need not necessarily follow it immediately in time for the project as a whole to be of value.

  1. Concept Inventory Phase: A computer-based concept registration or tagging system should be set up which would allocate sequence numbers to concepts on a continuing basis. The criteria for concept registration should be kept to a minimum to ensure that the system remains "open" to a wide variety of users and contributors. This approach permits rapid inclusion and organization of the data and rapid production of updated concept lists. These would facilitate the scrutiny of the data in various phases and in terms of the perceptions of different need groups.

  2. Concept Classification Phase: Evaluation, classification and identification of concept interrelationships would be made independently by a limited number of contributing groups, possibly associated organizationally with the international academic bodies. These groups would be primarily concerned with allocating codes to be fed back to the computer system so that ordered and refined concept thesauri could be produced to reflect the perceptions and needs of the contributing groups. An important aspect of this coding function by groups would be the rejection of those conceptions registered which are considered to be of little value to the group's perspective

    From the computer data handling point of view, each contributing group would be building, refining, and maintaining its own "model". Each such model would be handled as an independent optional qualifier on the sequentially-ordered concept list.

    From the point of view of any such group. group, the computer system would be viewed as holding the concepts in which it is interested in the order of its own preferred classification scheme.

    There would of course be the opportunity at any time to look at the same concept list through the classification scheme of any other contributing school of' thought. Concepts would be identified by their sequential number plus a number which would identify the model employed.

  3. Term Allocation Phase: At a later stage users of one model might find it useful to produce an ."authoritative" list of terms to be used for those concepts of interest to them. This could also be incorporated into the computer system. Such terms could then be used to produce standard terminological thesauri for the users of one model.

2. Project Organization

  1. The general organization of the project is outlined in Appendix A1.

  2. The problems of classification or modelling of conceptual entities and the advantages of a sequence number are examined in Appendix A2. The project is conceived aa being or use in a variety of domains. A summary is given of the range of possible conceptual entities (Appendix A4), relationships between entities (Appendix A5), types of entity classification scheme or model (Appendix A3), and data to be incorporated on each entity (Appendix A6). Priorities are suggested in order to limit the scope of the project (Appendix A7). A standard form of concept notation for use in print, but independent of the operation of the system, is suggested (Appendix A8).

    Each contributing group may wish to distinguish 'differently between, or interrelate, the "entities" tagged in the computer sequential register. There is no reason why "concepts", "propositions", "relationships", "problems", etc . should not all be treated as entities and appropriately distinguished and interrelated (or ignored and rejected) at the modelling phase. It might, for example, be particularly valuable to include "theories", ''frameworks of inquiry", etc by first giving each a sequential number (as indicated above} and then (in the modelling phase) relating them to the major variables considered significant and necessary to define the frame of discourse associated with that theoretical viewpoint. This would permit the same system to handle concept thesauri, inventories of propositions, inventories of problems, etc.

  3. Once the concept, registration system is running smoothly and the professional groups are interacting effectively with the system to feedback their classification of the concepts within their own models, other groups of different levels of "multi-disciplinarity" may constitute themselves to work on the integration into "meta-models" of two or more of the models already produced (e,g for political science and sociology into a social science model).

  4. There is no reason why, for example, a copy (on computer magnetic tape) of the concept list and various models should not be made available to universities for comparative research on the models or as a tool in the educational process. Alternative models could be constructed which could be made generally available. With respect to research, it is clearly important to enable the user to examine the thesauri at different levels of abstraction by introducing filters. In addition there is the possibility of comparative study of the manner in which different disciplines perceive and interrelate phenomena.

    With respect to education, it is possible to develop educational meta-models which would permit selection of concepts by filters corresponding to different educational levels (e.g. an "atom" may be viewed as a billiard-ball type structure in the elementary stages, a miniature solar system, a system of electrically-charged potential clouds or, in the final stage, as something which can only be described with mathematical symbols), At each level a precise definition in the appropriate terms could be provided. In addition the approach could permit individual students to create their own concept thesaurus and to learn from the differences between their own and those of particular disciplines

3. Computer Techniques

  1. The outline. of the design of a suitable computer record is given in Appendix A6. Suitable record~handling software is discussed in Appendix B1. Particular attention should be paid to the approach used by the team at the M.I.T. Center for International Studies (Appendix B2).

  2. The graph theory techniques mentioned in the next section (4) suggest the need for more powerful ways of displaying and interacting with the network of theoretical constructs represented in computer memory -- in order to avoid the necessity to generate long, indigestible, and impenetrable lists (however ordered). The use of the interactive computer graphics technique for this purpose is examined in Appendix B3. Suggestions for the design of suitable graphics demonstration programs are made in Appendix B4.

  3. It should be stressed that the basic programs required to operate the filing and listing functions are very simple and could be produced without making use of any sophisticated techniques or computers. Some of these more sophisticated techniques have been discussed to give some idea of the analytical possibilities. In fact there is no reason why some institutes should not use the file in its simple form whilst others convert it into a more complex form.

4. Methods of Representation and Analysis

  1. Particular attention has been given to the use of' graph theoretical methods to handle the complex theoretical constructs (Appendix C1 )

  2. Graph theory and related techniques have been used in the fields of artificial intelligence (Appendix C2), personal constructs (Appendix C3), input/output analysis (Appendix C5), and semantic matrices (Appendix C4), These particular uses are closely related to those possible in connection with this project and represent areas from which analytical techniques and computer programs may be obtained and adapted.

5. Earlier Initiatives and Sources of Concepts

  1. There have of' course been many previous initiatives in this field. Some of these are discussed in Appendix D1. Efforts to develop conceptual dictionaries are discussed in Appendix D2.

  2. A number of different techniques and proposals are discussed to establish the special focus of this project in relation to them -- citation indexing (Appendix D3, D7), the Universal Decimal Classification and Dewey systems (Appendix D4), the Aligned List of Descriptors (Appendix D5), the UNISIST World Science Information System (Appendix D6), the International Standard. Book Numbering Technique (Appendix D8), and the SATCOM recommendations (Appendix D11).

  3. Sources for the social science concepts required for this project are suggested in Appendix D9. A list of organizations, mainly international, which might be interested in one or more aspects of this project is given in Appendix D10.

6. General Considerations

Most earlier initiatives and proposals examined seem to fall foul on one or more of the following difficulties:

  1. The simple and unambiguous administrative task of filing entities is merged into the complex intellectual task of coding and classifying them. This makes the whole project lengthy, costly, and complex.

    In this project the identification of entities to be included in a thesaurus, and the practical problems of incorporating these entities into an information system, are distinguished from the theoretical problems of classifying and interrelating such entities. . The first is a relatively fast and unskilled operation and the second is a relatively slow arid skilled one. The technique of denitrifying the entity within the system by a numerical tag derived from a classification scheme is avoided. The savings in labor associated with this technique are only significant .in a system in which all operations are manual. Where computers can be used, the two types of operation can be distinguished in order to save resources, speed up operations and increase the flexibility of reconceptualization of any classification scheme.

  2. The classification of theoretical constructs may be associated with an intellectual and material investment in a document physical-location system. This opposes any . flexibility or major reconceptualization of' relationships between entities. In this project there is no direct relationship between the classification scheme(s) and the physical problem of locating source documents.

  3. The classification scheme may be rigid and "final", based upon a high commitment to a particular set of theoretical assumptions of limited comprehensiveness, and therefore unable to adapt to new types of interrelationships. In this project both rigid and rapidly evolving classification schemes can be used to interrelate the entities handled.

  4. The classification scheme may be exclusive .or "inhospitable" and therefore of limited use. In this project both exclusive and hospitable schemes may be used. This gives it a wide range of uses.

  5. Some systems are specifically designed with the special problems of a particular field of knowledge in mind. This makes them difficult to use in other areas. In this project specialized and general overdesigning of the information handling system to meet immediately perceived needs would reduce its usefulness and relevance to others and therefore increase the difficulty of ensuring adequate funds over a long period. (The degree of "hygiene" introduced may be inversely proportional to the utility of relevance of the system to potential users.)

  6. Exclusive or rigid schemes, once created, are viewed and defended as unique and "universally applicable" by their proposers, thus eliminating any possibility of more comprehensiveness, better-funded, joint efforts. In this project, every effort has been made to ensure that it does not become associated with particular schools of thought, organizations or personalities who might resent criticism of their perspective and alienate potential collaborators. All such individualism is contained within the model building activity which does not jeopardize other models or the project as a whole.

  7. Even adequate universal schemes may become viewed as authoritarian and a vehicle for some form of conceptual imperialism. Unfortunately the organization of relations between entities is equated with the imposition of a new set of relations. The organizers are perceived as acquiring power. Such systems may give rise to a proliferation of competing alternatives for groups of users with slightly different perspectives on subject areas (e.g. UDC, Dewey and UN/OECD Aligned List of Descriptors) who need a tool with slightly different properties. (see 6.6).

  8. The actual procedures for incorporating new entities into any "approved" list within the system may appear bureaucratic and stultifying unless the system is user-oriented, There is therefore the old problem of minimizing the bureaucratic desire for due process and order and maximizing user participation. In this project suggestions have been made concerning means of maximizing user participation.

  9. The system may be designed with only one type of user in mind, e.g. scholars or students. New systems, which compete for the same resources, then have to be created for other users of the same data. In this project some consideration has been given to methods of introducing "filters" in conjunction with special modals in order to show special relationships between entities in a manner significant to other types of user. Some of the needs of users not immersed in the Western cultural perspective have also been considered.

  10. The notation used to indicate the position of an entity in a classification scheme may be very complex. This may make data handling very difficult. In this project it is not necessary to use a notation in order to file the entity. Only a simple sequence number is required. To indicate its position in a given model, cross-references are inserted which again take the form of simple sequence numbers. In some models the entity may to defined by its relationship context, rather that by any special notation which users are free to add. A standard notation for use in print, but independent of the organization of the system, is suggested in Appendix A8.

  11. The system may be viewed as a "one-shot" job using all the appropriate specialists. This is the case with some conceptual directories. Even so, non-participants criticize the position taken by the participants, thus suggesting the need for new projects. In this project it is not necessary to limit classification to the views of one specialist. A number of competing specialists can participate together or separately without jeopardizing the ability of the system to adapt and respond to new proposals

  12. Shysters may be slow (up to decades) in responding to proposals for change, to the point of acting as a constraint on innovation to those dependent upon them. In this project modifications and alternatives can be handled without difficulty.

  13. A system proposal may raise problems of standardization for purposes of handling bibliographical or other data. The system design may then become a pawn in the debate between the different schools of standardization and information handling. In this project there are no features which could become a major issue in the ongoing debate, since it is not a conventional documentation system and does not have major bibliographical concerns.

  14. A system proposal may become a pawn in the debate between different schools of classification. -In this project alternative classification systems may be handled.

  15. A system proposal may constitute a threat to other systems competing for the same resources -- particularly if major changes are proposed for existing systems. This project does not appear to compete with other systems. It can be considered complementary to some documentation systems.

  16. A system may demand, or be designed for, complex computer systems to the point of being unuseable in less-richly-endowed environments. This project is based on a very simple filing system for entities and and relationships between them. The resulting file may however then be subjected to ;analyses of varying power depending on the computer environment available.

  17. A system design may raise fundamental theoretical issues, and therefore alienate important potantia1 supporters. In this project the accent is. on providing a simple .for filing entities and relationships in a way which permits a number of general analytical and display techniques to be used. Every effort has been mode to avoid giving a final and exclusive definition of what ia incorporated.. Such theoretical debates are carefully confined to the activities of modelling groups which are each free to ignore or accept entities and relationships filed by other modelling groups.

  18. A system may raise difficulties concerning the status of the entities handled as "knowledge" or in relation to language and semantics. The description of this project -- but not its operation-- is paradoxically subject to many of the terminological problems it is intended to solve. An attempt has therefore been. made to discuss semantic fields (Appendix E1), problems of language. and translation (Appendix E2), the status of a discipline as a language (Appendix E3), the relationship between knowledge and information (Appendix E4), and knowledge as a evolving structure (Appendix E5). The problems of natural language information processing have been avoided.

7. Future significance: This report attempts to lay great stress on the distinction between a document-oriented information system and what has been termed a knowledge-representation system. This project is considered to be a step to words more effective knowledge~representation. To clarify the distinction even further, and to show the possible future significance of this effort, an attempt has been Appendix F1 to compare an ideal document system with an ideal knowledge-representation system.

8. Next step and funding required: The phasing of the project is discussed in Appendix A1. The next step is to obtain critical comments on the various proposals put forward and to undertake pilot projects in some cf the following areas:

  • file organization and computer program development or adaptation
  • operational and logical problems of classification with models in a few test areas
  • computer simulation of file movement, modelling activity and behavioral complications in a decentralized, minimum-organization environment
  • computer simulation of different strategies to keep the system "open" without it becoming uncontrollable
  • preparation of a graphics demonstration program as means of generating further interest and showing the power of this technique.

Exactly how much pilot project activity is required will depend upon the speed with which it is desired that the project as a whole should move forward and the range of interests that it is desired that the project should serve. These must be decided.

No comments have been made on the funding required since cost estimation depends on decisions taken for the next. stage. The computer programs envisaged for the filing of entities and relationships and generation of lists and thesauri are however fairly simple to prepare and cheap to run. The other major costs would be collection of conceptual entitles (unless done voluntarily by a team using existing material), administration (unless incorporated within the budget of some existing institute), and travel costs of those concerned with modelling (unless it was decided to switch immediately to the postal modelling concept outlined in Appendix A1).

A list. of organizations, mainly international, through which further support might be obtained for this project, is given in Appendix D10.

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