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Turning Text into Gold: Taxonomies and Textual Analytics by Bill Inmon

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1: Brief History of Taxonomies

The earliest references to the study and creation of taxonomies (then called “classifications”) come from the Greek philosophers. In particular, Aristotle was said to have used taxonomies to understand the world. Indeed the very origins of what we call science today hark back to Aristotle’s practice of classifying objects.

It is said that Aristotle sorted animals into three basic classes: land animals, ocean animals, and air animals. Today we classify animals genetically, but does this mean that Aristotle got it wrong? Not at all. The classification used by Aristotle and the genetic classifications used today merely illustrate that there are different ways to classify things. Depending on the objective, there ...

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