Herb Simon, the pioneer cognitive scientist, computer scientist, economist, and Nobel prize winner, wrote that design is the core of all professional activity (Simon, 1996). The natural sciences are concerned with how things are; the science of design is concerned with how things ought to be â with devising artifacts to attain goalsâ (Schon, 1990, p. 110). In other words, according to Simon, what professionals do is to â transform an existing state of affairs, a problem, into a preferred state, a solution â (Schon, p. 111). A key area of professional design in library and information science is the creation of systems for the organization of knowledge. The purpose of this research project is to examine the design process in knowledge organization using design theory which originated in other fields. There is a rich literature based on research in the fields of architecture, engineering, software design, clinical psychology, city planning, and other professions. I used the themes originating in this literature to explore design in LIS. In LIS, design work related to knowledge organization is carried out simultaneously at multiple levels in the devising of national standards for design such as the NISO Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri, in the maintenance of major vocabularies such as the Library of Congressâ s Thesaurus for Graphic Materials, in the design of vocabularies intended to be diffused widely such as the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, and at the local level in the creation of descriptors and classification systems for individual collections of materials. The specific focus of this research project is design of vocabularies â in which I include subject headings, descriptors, keywords, captions, and classification systems -- for local collections of images.
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