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On the Construction of Selection Systems

Michael K. Buckland
Christian Plaunt

School of Library and Information Studies
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600

In: Library Hi Tech, 12:4:15--28, 1994


An examination of the structure and components of information storage and retrieval systems and information filtering systems. Analysis of the tasks performed in such selection systems leads to the identification of thirteen components. Of these components, eight are necessarily present in all such systems, mechanized or not; the others may, but need not be, present. We argue that all selection systems can be represented in terms of combinations of these components. The components are of only two types: representations of data objects and functions that operate on them. Further, the functional components, or rules, reduce to two basic types: (i) Transformation, making or modifying the members of a set of representations and (ii) Sorting or partitioning. The representational transformations may be in the form of copies, excerpts, descriptions, abstractions, or mere identifying references. By partitioning, we mean dividing a set of objects by using matching, sorting, ranking, selecting, and other logically equivalent operations. The typical multiplicity of knowledge sources and of system vocabularies are noted. Some of the implications for the study, use and design of information storage and retrieval systems are discussed.

Next: 1 Introduction