Taxonomy is the science of classification – a basic means of understanding the world around us. It is also key in the act of identifying and archiving, as well as classifying. This interesting topic came to us from Reflector in their article, “Anthropology students help reclaim history of local cemeteries.”

East Carolina University students in the Department of Anthropology are helping recover and catalog abandoned cemeteries across eastern North Carolina. Along with their professor, the students worked with the town of Ayden to reclaim the gravesites — clearing the overgrowth, documenting the gravestones and unmarked grave depressions and preparing an accurate map of the cemetery. The students learned to use the department’s total station surveying machine, identify subtle differences in the landscape and record key features.

Some anthropological perspectives on classification systems have been extensively studied by cognitive anthropologists; the area of work is often referred to as ethnoscience. The conclusions and generalizations from this work are relevant to the design and use of classification systems to support information retrieval applications.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.