Instant electronic access to digital information is the single most distinguishing
attribute of the information age. The elaborate retrieval mechanisms that support such access are a
product of technology. But technology is not enough. The effectiveness of a system for accessing
information is a direct function of the intelligence put into organizing it. Just as the practical
field of engineering has theoretical physics as its underlying base, the design of systems for
organizing information rests on an intellectual foundation. The subject of this book is the
systematized body of knowledge that constitutes this foundation.Integrating the disparate
disciplines of descriptive cataloging, subject cataloging, indexing, and classification, the book
adopts a conceptual framework that views the process of organizing information as the use of a
special language of description called a bibliographic language. The book is divided into two parts.
The first part is an analytic discussion of the intellectual foundation of information organization.
The second part moves from generalities to particulars, presenting an overview of three
bibliographic languages: work languages, document languages, and subject languages. It looks at
these languages in terms of their vocabulary, semantics, and syntax. The book is written in an
exceptionally clear style, at a level that makes it understandable to those outside the discipline
of library and information science.