Isfahan Arabics Subject Classification (ISASC)

Isfahan International Association of Arabic Language (IAL)

Topic Description

1.1. Defining the research question

One of the features of science in the current era is thetechnicality and diversity in interdisciplinary fields, and the over-abundance of literature related to them. This has made it difficult for scholars of particular subject areas to expand their knowledge of more detailed subordinatesof such subject areas. This calls for a classification of sciences, as it identifies the similarities and differences of general subjects, and in other words, provides the basis for a deeper and broaderunderstandingfor expert of a subject area.

The fundamentals ofclassification is to group facts and phenomena – referred to assubjects herein – based on their similarities and differences in order to realize a particular goal. In classification of subjects, which is thecurrentdesired aim, all members of a group or category created by classification must share at least one common property that is non-existent in others. In classification of any object or subject similar to another, they are grouped according to their most frequent and most predominantcommon attributes. Thus, the first step to any classification is to group objects or subjects based on their characteristics, aspects, or common features (Hayati, Jokar, and Barhemand, 2008).

Since the time of Aristotle, various subject-based classification methodshave been proposed in order to achieve classification objectives. Most of today’s classification schemes are based on dividing general subjects into some subordinatesthrough observing and maintaining their hierarchical relationships and the intra/inter-subject connections. The most applicable and most recognized classifications are Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), Library of Congress Classification (LCC), and Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) or Brussels Classification, all of which, as needed, undergo changes, and are subsequently used and modeled in various subject areas, includingclassification of specific subjectssuch as mathematics, physics, astronomy, and even humanities.

One of the most successful classification methods belongs to the American Mathematical Society, which follows a subjective structure based on a series of hierarchies, and assigns a code to each subject. This method has also been employed as the basis for other subject-based classifications, including the Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS). Among themain objectives of this classification scheme isproviding a coherent structure of subject areas in mathematics in order to help researchers identify issues and understand the connectionsin-between them, as well as offeringanoptimized indexing approach for research resources and establishing links between works of research.

In pure sciences and engineering, classification is somewhat easier, assuch fields are less influenced by other subject areas, and if they are, the influence is clearer.In humanities and social sciences this isa much more difficultissue to deal with. This is due to the nature and featuresof the fields, where different subject areas can influence or even have a connection with any given subject.

Arabic language and literature is one of such areas, and has not been addressed in this regard. No special classification schemes have been developed for this subject. For the first time in a human sciences discipline, the present research is attempting to code the subordinating subjects within Arabic language and literature.Considering the importance and application of subject classification schemes, and the lack of a specific classification scheme in this subject area and even human sciences, this effort is thought to be groundbreaking.

1.2. Researchobjectives

  • Primary objective:
  • Compiling a subject-based classification schemefor Arabic language and literature
  • Secondary Objectives
  • Determining the general and specific relationsin-between subjects in Arabic language and literature
  • Determining the alignment relationship of subdisciplinesinArabic language and literature

1.3. Necessity of the research

It goes without saying that classification schemes in library resources and research databases are of high importance. As a result, associations and universities in various subject areas have been keen on presenting topic-mapping projects. Arabic language and literature, as a specialized field taught in many countries, requires researchers to recognize its subordinating subject areas and the relationship between them to identify specific areas and to adjust their interests accordingly. This subject categorization also enables policy makers to observe the amount of research, influential universities in the field, authors and researchers, their connections and relationships, active countries in the field, and most importantly, consistency and coherence in categorizationsand groupings of research, and the development of each of them.

In addition to all above, in the absence of a clear and precise model for the subdisciplines ofany given discipline, confusion arises both in the educational system and in the associated research approaches. Avoiding such confusion will prove extremely helpful.

1.4. Research background (in Iran and abroad)

The classification of science has received considerable attention from some of the most renowned intellectuals of the Islamic world,throughout the history of Islamic civilization.The oldest scientific work belongs to Hakim Abunasr al-Farabi – known as ‘The Second Teacher’ – titled Statistical Science(إحصاء العلوم).With the advent of modern civilizations, however,a renovated version of this idea,initiated by the American Mathematical Society,has been fully developed in mathematics, and, to a lesser extent, in physics.

1.5. Innovative aspects of the research

Not only has such a classification never been implemented in the field of Arabic language and literature, this is the first of such in any human sciences discipline.

1.6. Application ofresearch results

  • Compiling and identifyingsubject structure andinter-subject relationships in the field of Arabic language and literature
  • Maximizing consistency in educational and research activities within Arabic language and literature
  • Changing the old-fashioned way of classifying library resources to allow users to access relevant topics in a single place
  • Paving the way for the compilation of adictionary of technical terminology for Arabic language and literature
  • Easing the compilation of the subject headingsin Arabic language and literature
  • Enabling users to search by subject
  • Accessinga network of same-subject authors
  • Identifying major universities in subordinating subjects in the field of Arabic language and literature
  • Possibility of identifying articles and works of research in subordinating subjects
  • Identifying subject areas with the least amount of research
  • Possibility of a coherent and efficient indexing approach for research resources in the field
  • Helping to effectivelyorganize electronic and online resources

2. Implementationmethod (research method, population and statistical sample (if needed), data collection tool (if needed), method ofdata analysis)

The first step to providing a classification scheme for Arabic language and literature, is to identify its more general areas and the relationships between them.Subsequently, subordinating subjectsare determined in three levels, and by assigningprimary and secondary codes, relationships and hierarchiesamong subjects areclarified.

The following principles apply to this scheme:

  • Modeling the Mathematics Subject Classification
  • Hierarchical in 3 levels
  • Choice of assigning several categories to one work according to the main subject

3. Scientific references used in the research

The following models will be used in the presentresearch

  1. Mathematics Subject Classification

Database for the current research:

An instance of the MSC model

  1. Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS)

  1. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) or Dewey Decimal System
  2. Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
  3. Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) or Brussels Classification

4. Research outcomes

In conducting the present research, two levels were assumed:

  1. Compilation of the subject-based classification of Arabic language and literature in one volume and its publication bearing the logo of the University of Isfahan and the logo of the International Conference of heads of Arabic departments.
  2. Designing and launching an exclusivewebsite in Arabic and English including the following features:
  • A collection of all the works of this field
  • Searchable by subject, author, magazine, etc.
  • Able to display connections between authors, institutes, journals, etc.