The Organization of Human Knowedge:
Systems for Interdisciplinary Research

Rama Hoetzlein

Master's Thesis, University of California Santa Barbara, June 2007
  Sample Chapters
  Preliminary. Contents, Tables, Figures and Abstract.
  Ch 2. Background and Context - Covers the history of knowledge organization, challenges and goals
Dear Reader,

Development of Quanta is continuing. We hope to offer a new version of Quanta shortly, with new videos and demos. Please email Rama Hoetzlein at rama@rchoetzlein.com if you are interested in Quanta. Whether you represent an individual, academic group, or business interest, contact me and I will add you to our mailing list for upcoming news and releases.

Rama Hoetzlein, 2013



Knowledge organization is the problem of arranging and classifying what we collectively know as a society in ways that can be easily understood and communicated to others. The issues addressed in this thesis include the representation and storage of knowledge, semiotics, ontology, classification, systems for knowledge organization, and the visualization and aesthetics of knowledge systems. The Quanta software system is presented as a generic framework for the integrated storage, organization and visualization of human knowledge in interdisciplinary contexts.

Novel contributions are made to both technical and conceptual aspects of knowledge organization. Technical contributions include a hypergraph structure for the storage and efficient representation of knowledge, comparative zoomable timelines for the visualization of events in time, circle packing with dynamic loading to visualize trees, and a distributed architecture and protocol for social knowledge systems. Conceptual contributions include a new measure of meaning in data systems, the data-semantic ratio, an analysis of the relationship between the semiotic triangle and the datainformation-knowledge triangle, and motivations for knowledge visualization as a field of study.

Topics on the philosophical, social and technical aspects of knowledge organization are considered in historical context with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity.