Education and Research


Kim H. Veltman

Knowledge Packages

The 12th E.C.O.O. and the 8th I.C.T.E. Joint Conference, Toronto, (May 1991), pp.757-759.


The lecture, which corresponds to this paper, gives a demonstration of a databank on perspective on an IBM compatible Personal Computer using DBaseIII Plus. This paper gives reasons for the concept of knowledge packages, outlines their structure and explores implications thereof for new approaches to knowledge.

1. Introduction
2. Points of Entry
3. Kinds of Access (Hierarchy and Alphabet)
4. Screens of Access
5. Conclusions

1. Introduction

Knowledge has traditionally been scattered. This remains the case even in great libraries. The Robarts Library in Toronto offers an excellent case in point. With seven million books it ranks among the major libraries of the world. Even so, if one is interested in classification systems other than Library of Congress one needs to go to the thirteenth floor. If one wants definitions, most of the dictionaries are on the fourth floor. Encyclopaedias are found elsewhere on the fourth floor. If one is interested in books on a topic such as perspective, one learns that these are classed under four different headings by the Library of Congress system, namely, two in the arts section in connection with architectural drawing (NA 2710), and artistic drawing (NC 749), which are on the twelfth floor of Robarts; one in the science section, in connection with descriptive geometry (QA 515) and one in the technology section in connection with drawing instruments (T369), which are in the Sigmund Samuel Library several hundred yards away.

If one wishes to study secondary literature on perspective one goes to the periodicals section of the fourth floor in Robarts for arts journals and to the periodicals section of the Sigmund Samuel Library for current technical and mathematical journals, and to various basements for earlier issues. Some specialized journals are only in the Engineering Library, The Computer Sciences Library, the Royal Ontario Museum Library, the School of Architecture Library etc. Hence even a preliminary attempt to read the materials on a single subject will require walking over a mile while moving between at least a half dozen libraries. Even so, when one consults books in these places there is no indication how representative they are, namely, what subset of all books on the subject that they constitute. The concept of a knowledge package arose from a desire to have access to this scattered knowledge in a single databank arranged with multiple points of entry: namely, basic, classification, definition, explanation, bibliography, contents, texts, analysis and indexes. Each of these will be considered in turn.

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