Q200 Information Representation
Cognitive Science Program/School of Informatics
Instructor: Uta Priss
Office: LI 029
Office phone: 812-855-2793
Office hours: Monday 2.30 - 3.30 and by appointment
This syllabus is electronically available at
The basic structure of information representation in social and
scientific applications is the topic of this course. Organization,
storage and retrieval of information are important challenges for the
modern information society. This course introduces representational
structures and approaches from many disciplines: philosophical
theories of classification and categorization; psycho-linguistic
models of mental language processing; information access and
representation on the World Wide Web; object-oriented design
and relational databases; AI knowledge representation and
discovery. The multi-disciplinary approach of this course
demonstrates how concepts of information representation are shared
amongst different disciplines and how they can be combined. The goal
of the course is to provide a broad but basic introduction to current
information representation techniques and paradigms. Although some
software tools will be used in the exercises, the students are
not expected to write computer programs for this course. Even
concepts such as object-oriented design will be explained independently
of an actual programming language.
To introduce the student to a broad range of information
representation models drawn from the fields of information science,
computer science, semiotics, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and
Basic computer literacy. Students must be able to use a word processor
and to read documents on the WWW.
Each class session consists of lectures,
class discussions, and in-class exercises, which the students will
work on in small teams. Besides the in-class
exercises, assignments are given for each week that the students
should work on (with the help of the assigned readings) before the
weekly meetings. The students will keep a journal to collect their
assignments and comments to the assigned readings.
Students are strongly encouraged to
participate actively in all lectures and discussions since each student's
participation in class activities will constitute 1/4 of his/her final grade.
A readings package will be put on reserve in the SLIS library. (Further
details concerning the package will be given
in the first lecture.) Many readings are on-line available
and are linked to this syllabus. To read the on-line ACM readings, students
must use a computer that belongs to the indiana.edu domain because the
ACM digital library may not be available otherwise. Minor changes
in the selection of readings are possible up to two weeks before the
The final course grade will be computed for each student on the basis
of grades assigned for the following:
| Class contribution and listserv discussion || 1/4
| Journal || 1/4
| Midterm exam || 1/4
| Final exam || 1/4
Each student is expected to complete all course work by the end of the term.
A grade of incomplete (I) will be assigned only if exceptional
circumstances warrant. In all other cases there will be a grade
penalty for items that are handed in late.
Class contribution and listserv discussions
Class contribution means more than simple attendance, it also
includes the quality and quantity of contributions to the work of the
class. The assignments and readings
of each week should be completed before the class meeting (except for
the first week) so that
substantive and meaningful contributions from the students are possible.
It is required that every student demonstrates respect for the ideas,
opinions, and feelings of all other members of the class.
A majordomo distribution list will be used to communicate about course
matters. The students should send comments and questions concerning the
reading materials to this list. Participation in the listserv discussions
will be counted towards class participation, i.e. students who do not
like to speak up in class can contribute their ideas via the listserv.
The distribution list is email@example.com.
Students are required to keep a journal for this class.
The journal must at least contain
a comment, abstract, or short discussion of each required
reading and the weekly assignments.
The journals will be turned in three times during the semester
(after week 5, 10 and 15). At each review, a letter grade
will be assigned based on the completeness of the journal and based
of active intellectual involvement with the subject content of the course.
The final journal grade will be computed as an average of the three
review grades. The journals can be handwritten
but a spell-checked, computer-printed format is preferred.
Midterm and Final Exam
Both exams will be take-home exams. The midterm exam will contain
1 to 2 essay questions and may contain a multiple-choice part.
The final exam will contain 2 to 3 essay questions.
A note on plagiarism
The students must clearly indicate if they use materials from
other sources, such as textbooks or Internet webpages. Full citation
information must be given for such sources.
Academic and personal misconduct by students in this class are defined
and dealt with according to the
procedures in the Code of Student Ethics.
Part I: Foundations
Week 1. (Jan 11, 13) Introduction: Data, Information, and Knowledge
What is data? Information? Knowledge? How are they represented?
Information access and information usage
The interdisciplinarity of information science
(Write a short essay.)
Analyze the methods of information representation and information access
in a phone-book. Pay special attention to the yellow pages. How are
they organized? Which possibilities
of information retrieval offers a phone-book on CD-ROM compared to a
printed phone-book? What are equivalent services on the WWW? What
are the user expectations of these types of information systems?
- Wurman, Richard Saul (1989).
- The Understanding Business.
In: Information Anxiety - What to do when information
doesn't tell you what you need to know. New York: Doubleday.
- Buckland, Michael (1991).
- Information as thing.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 42, p. 351-360.
What is categorization or classification?
The cultural and cognitive nature of categorization
Philosophical theories of classification and concepts
Visit a grocery store and write an analysis of the store's organization in
your journal. In your analysis, focus on
* how the merchandise is organized/categorized;
* why you think this particular organizational structure was adopted; and
this organizational/categorization scheme actually helps or hinders the
customer in finding specific items.
- Jacob, Elin K. (1991).
- Classification and categorization: drawing the line.
In: Barbara H. Kwasnik and Raya Fidel (Eds.).
Advances in classification research. Vol. 2, Washington D.C.:
American Society for Information Science, p. 67-83.
- Optional Reading: Zerubavel, Eviatar (1991).
Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of The fine line: making distinctions in everyday
life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 5-32 and 61-80.
The mental lexicon and information organization/access
Scripts and schemas
Design a script for "shopping in a grocery store". How universal
can your script be (considering shoppers with different cultural
backgrounds or grocery stores in different countries)?
Robillard, Pierre (1999).
- The role of knowledge in software development.
Communications of the ACM, January 1999, p. 87-92.
- Optional Reading: Rumelhart, David E. (1984).
Schemata and the cognitive system. In: Wyer and Srull (Eds.).
Handbook of social cognition. Vol. 1, Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum, p. 161-188.
- Optional Reading: Schank, Roger, and Kass, Alex. (1988).
Knowledge representation in people and machines. In: Umberto Eco,
Marco Santambrogio and Patrizia Violi (Eds.), Meaning and mental
representation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p. 181-200.
Facets, viewpoints, aspects
Three facets for grocery items are "storage temperature",
"packaging", "type of meal". Find some values (classes) for
each of these facets. Choose five grocery items and assign
them to classes in the facets.
- Hunter, Eric J. (1988)
- Faceted Classification. Classification made simple,
Gower, p. 7-33.
- Temporal interval relations; temporal logic
- Geographic information systems
- Spatial representation of conceptual information
Describe the use of tools such as "knife", "fork", and "cup"
during the process of "eating a meal" in a semi-formal way.
It will be composed of actions, such as "picking up fork", "holding fork",
"laying down fork", etc. What are the temporal relationships, i.e.
which actions precede or follow which other actions, which actions
are simultaneously? You can use a graphical representation similar
to Figure 2. in Allen's paper. How can you represent repeating
Feb 10, Journal (Part I) is due
- Allen, James F. (1991).
- Temporal Reasoning and Planning. In: Allen et al. (eds.).
Reasoning About Plans. Kaufmann, San Mateo, CA, p. 2-22.
The GIS Primer
- (Online document)
- Optional Reading:
Cyber Geography Research
- (Online document)
Part II: Information on the WWW and in Relational Databases;
Week 6. (Feb 15, 17) Information on the WWW
- Web directories (Subject access systems)
- Search engines (Full text search)
- Automatic indexing strategies
For the text at the following page find
* three subject terms under which it should be listed in a directory such
* three index terms that would be assigned to the text by an automatic
indexing system (i.e. the most frequent terms except of stopwords)
* three terms that would be useful for retrieving the document
through a full text search but that would not be listed as subject terms
or index terms.
Midterm will be handed out
- Gudivada, V.; Raghavan, V.; Grosky, W.;
Kasanagottu, R. (1997)
- Information Retrieval on the World Wide Web.
IEEE Internet Computing, October 1997.
- Schwartz, Candy (1998)
- Web Search Engines. Journal of the American Society
for Information Science, 49 (11), p. 973-982.
- Procedural versus object-oriented design
- Classes, objects and methods
- Class hierarchy and inheritance
Design a simple system for traffic simulation that contains
cars, bikes, pedestrians, streets, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights
and crossings with four-way stop signs. For each class give
several attributes and methods. Pay special attention to
attributes that are needed so that the vehicles and pedestrians can
react to crossings and to other vehicles and pedestrians.
Parsons, Jeffrey; Wand, Yair (1997).
- Choosing classes in conceptual modeling.
Communications of the ACM, June 1997, p. 63-69.
- (Online document). This reading is also relevant for the next week.
Week 8. (Feb 29, Mar 2) The Object-Oriented Design Paradigm II
- Encapsulation and polymorphism
- Aspect-oriented programming (i.e. programming with facets)
Continue with the assignment from last week: design a class hierarchy.
Describe in detail how the traffic is regulated at crossings. (More
hints for this assignment will be given in class.)
Feb 29, Midterm is due
- Optional Reading:
Kiczales, Gregor et al. (1997).
Aspect-Oriented Programming. In: Proc. of the Europ. Conf.
on Obj.-Oriented Progr., Springer Verlag. (Skip section 5 and 6).
- The relational database model
- Entity-relationship diagrams
Draw entity-relationship diagrams for the traffic assignment.
- Sanders, G. Lawrence (1995).
- Data Modeling. Danvers, Boston: Boyd & Frasier, p.17-38.
- Heterogeneous databases
Mar 23, Journal (Part II) is due
Singh, Narinder (1998).
- Unifying Heterogeneous Information Models.
Communications of the ACM, May 1998, p. 37-44.
Part III: Information Representation in AI and Cognitive Science
- Semantic Networks
- KL-ONE and description logics
Analyze the following semantic network.
What implications are made
by the network: what statements can be made about the relationship
between a) "Marge" and "dog", b) "Lisa" and "power plant" and c) "Marge"
and "Springfield"? Which information is missing?
- Firebaugh, M. W. (1988)
- Knowledge Representation in AI.
Artificial Intelligence. Chapter 9. Boston: Boyd & Frasier.
Week 12. (Apr 4, 6) Knowledge Representation and Thesauri
- Natural language thesauri versus scientific thesauri
- CYC, WordNet and Roget's Thesaurus
Compare the term (concept) "clothes" in the CYC Upper Ontology,
WordNet and Roget's Thesaurus.
Miller, George A. (1995).
- WordNet: a lexical database for English.
In: Communications of the ACM 38 (11), November 1995, p. 39-41.
Lenat, Douglas B. (1995).
- CYC: a large-scale investment in knowledge infrastructure.
In: Communications of the ACM 38 (11), November 1995, p. 33-38.
The Upper CYC Ontology.
- (Online document).
- (Click on "Use WordNet Online").
Week 13. (Apr 11, 13) Conceptual Graphs
- John Sowa's conceptual graphs
- Structures and applications of conceptual graphs
Draw conceptual graphs for the following three sentences:
Marry buys an apple at the large grocery store for $1.00.
The plane flies from Chicago to Indianapolis.
John believes that the plane that arrived from Chicago will leave on time.
- Sowa, John (1999).
Conceptual Graphs and
Conceptual Graphs Examples (on-line documents).
Week 14. (Apr 18, 20) Formal Concept Analysis
- A formal model for concepts
- Concept lattices
- Wolff, Karl Erich (1994).
- A first Course in Formal Concept Analysis.
Proceedings SoftStat'93. Gustav Fischer Verlag. p. 1-5.
- Wille, Rudolf (1997).
- Conceptual Landscapes of Knowledge: A Pragmatic Paradigm for
Knowledge Processing. Proceedings of KRUSE'97, p. 2-13.
- Vogt, Frank; Wille, Rudolf (1995).
- TOSCANA - A Graphical Tool for Analyzing and Exploring Data.
In: R.Tamassia, I.G. Tollis (eds.): Graph Drawing. LNCS 894.
Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg, 226-233.
Apr 18, Final exam
will be handed out
Week 15. (Apr 25, 27) Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
- Knowledge discovery versus information retrieval
- Strategies and limits
Apr 27, Journal (Part III) is due
Fayyad, U.; Uthurusamy, R. (1996)
- Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery in Databases.
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 39, No. 11, p. 24-26.
Munakata, Toshinori (1999).
- Knowledge Discovery.
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 42, No. 11, p. 27-29.
- Optional Readings:
- Communications of the ACM, Vol. 39, No. 11, p. 27-64.
- Communications of the ACM, Vol. 42, No. 11, p. 30-67.
May 2, Final is due