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ISCH COST Action A31
Stability and adaptation of classification systems in a cross-cultural perspective

The main objective of this Action is to gain a deeper understanding of human

categorisation as it is reflected in different types of classification systems. More

specifically, increased knowledge should be achieved concerning the following

aspects of classification systems:

(1) Types of classification systems and their main distinctive features

(2) Universal as well as culture/context dependent features of classification systems

(3) Domain specificity and internal domain structure

(4) The comparative development of classification systems

(5) The interrelation between stabilization and adaptative potential

(6) The relation between individual level and cultural level categories

Working towards this main objective, the Action aims to improve

interdisciplinary communication on the topic of classification systems. The main

focus will be on intensifying the dialogue between theory and description, making

easy to grasp information about new models and theories available.

A second focus will be on creating an exchange between researchers working on

different cultures and periods and establish a joint basis for communication in the

form of clear, compatible definitions and the clarification of terminologies. This will

bring a broader perspective to the researchers involved.

A third focus is to enhance the exploitation of new computer tools for data

collection and analysis by making information on these tools available to the network

and beyond, comparing their usefulness for certain purposes and increase the dialogue

between computer scientists and users from the humanities to cooperate in the

development oft software tools.

This interdisciplinary exchange between otherwise often isolated or loosely

connected scientific communities from different parts of Europe will substantially

improve the quality and effectiveness of researchers working on related topics.

Better knowledge about human categorization and classification systems is centrally

relevant in the wider social context of the information age. The mastering of

knowledge systems and understanding of knowledge representation is an essential

skill for obtaining information as well as for exploiting information in different

information systems. This can be seen in the Semantic Data Mining projects but also

in everyday tasks such as arranging products in a supermarket, automatic translation

or designing a Web Portal.

The understanding of stabilizing forces and adaptative mechanisms of classification

is a precondition for effectively dealing with the consequences of globalization.

Processes such as the integration of new EU countries and the harmonization and

standardisation of basic systems of society, e.g. educational systems, require an

unprecedented rapidity of adaptation of concepts and categories on an individual level

as well as in official classification systems. The intensive economic interaction

between Europe and Asia, for example, entails the integration of hardly compatible

management and computer systems from different countries or enterprises. The

obtained knowledge about factors facilitating or inhibiting changes in classification

systems will contribute to raising awareness of cognitive factors affecting culture

contact and global integration, and to design more adequate tools and policies.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:


Vice Chair of the Action:


Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:



Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Progress Report

Download Progress Report as PDF


Action website:

* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page