New Series for 2013: Classification as a Tool of Thought


Clas­si­fi­ca­tion and tax­on­omy has always inter­ested me and this year I’d like to exam­ine how clas­si­fi­ca­tion and group­ing impacts analy­sis. Group­ing data in var­i­ous tax­onomies can have a vari­ety of results: dis­as­ter, if the cat­e­go­riza­tion scheme hides or sug­gests arbi­trary things when there is no nec­es­sary con­nec­tion or if the con­nec­tion is biased, or deeply insight­ful, if the group­ing dis­closes a hid­den insight in the data. In 2012, I blogged about clas­si­fi­ca­tion and tax­on­omy as follows:

Clas­si­fy­ing Sporks, Spives and Knorks

Clas­si­fy­ing Chevy El Camino

Clas­si­fy­ing Ancient Musi­cal Instruments

On Par­tial Clas­si­fi­ca­tion and Miscellanies

This year I plan to look at addi­tional clas­si­fi­ca­tion schemes, the think­ing behind clas­si­fi­ca­tion, and also dia­grams like Venn Dia­grams and Treemaps as a way to visu­al­ize categories.

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