An introduction to facet theory

By Gordon Rugg

This is a brief overview of an invaluable concept. It links closely to graph theory, which we describe in another recent article, and to laddering, which we will describe in a later article. All three of these concepts are powerful, simple and elegant, and all three are not as widely known as they should be.

Facet theory in the strict sense is a concept from librarianship and information science. The core concept is that you use several different ways of categorising the things that you’re categorising. This lets you organise the same set of entities in different ways for different purposes. Continue reading