- The German Classification Society “Gesellschaft für Klassifikation” (GfKl) (founded in the year 1977) is a transdisciplinary compounded, scientific society with – at present – more than 300 members.Their request is the promotion of methods of the classification and data analysis in theory and application. Their effective range covers a multiplicity of sciences and many application fields from administration, archeology, biology, economics, linguistics and music sciences to zoology.
Production, processing and switching of knowledge are substantial conditions for a rational and accumulative science process. Information and knowledge result from data, which seize today in nearly difficult-to-understand quantity in science, technology, enterprise or administration, to be stored and e.g. offered in the internet.
A general goal of the GfKl is the promotion of all activities, which are concerned with the problems of arranging, classifying and analyzing data and developed suitable methods or used such methods in practice for their solution.
Both data-analytic and information-theoretical and qualitative methods are used, presently with main interest on data-analytic methods.
Contrary to societies, which concentrate on certain specialist areas, the GfKl is spreading transdisciplinary. On the one hand the user profits from the procedures of the theoretician, on the other hand its theoretical procedures put straight into applications must work satisfactorily. In addition, the know-how of one party can help with the solution of practical problems of the other one.
Here the society produces important synergies, which do not develop without interdisciplinary co-operation. To that extent applications of data-analytic methods play a large role in the self understanding of the society.
The field of activity characterized by the term “classification” is broadly diversified. The spectrum of methods, applications and criteria, which are represented by the members and discussed within the conferences of the GfKl, are accordingly comprehensive:
Conceptual-contentwise structural principles lead within all knowledge ranges to the production and application of classifying order systems, e.g. from thesaurus, systematic terminologies and numerous other forms and procedures of the knowledge representation. They are often based on general principles of conceptual thinking and knowledge. Thus also for the critical analysis of classificatory activity and a discussion of its conceptual ontologic conditions a surrounding field is created.
The mathematical formulation of classification and order problems permits the list of models and the development of algorithms for their solution. The recognition and construction of an order or a class structure in a given volume of data and thus in the associated object quantity can take place frequently with general methods of the data analysis. Thus, in particular the optimization criteria and solution algorithms developed there can be used.
Statistical and quantitative methods make possible an optimal adjustment of models to empirical data with the goal of structuring and classifying the associated objects. The evaluation of characteristics of these procedures, like e.g. fault tolerance and reliability, allows statements about the quality of the obtained results, and in particular, results in an abstract representation of the information contained in the data.
Likewise, graphic visualization permits to uncover and represent the structures and dependences contained in the data. This application of classificatory and data-analytic methods in sciences, economy and administration, e.g. in the archaeology, biology, chemistry, geology, computer science, linguistics, medicine, music, psychology, law, sociology and in the library sciences represents a substantial emphasis of the GfKl.
In individual disciplines own terminologies are developed. Thus the biologist speaks gladly of taxonomy, while the engineer uses supervised and unsupervised classification and pattern recognition and, more recently, in computer science and economics, especially one uses the phrase data mining.
Classification and structuring problems arise in particular also with the information storage, the indexation and information retrieval. A further promising area of application of large practical relevance today is also the internet with the applications in e-commerce.