Chinese bibliography has a long history and tradition of its own, going back two millennia. It resembles critical bibliography, incorporates key features of today’s library cataloging and classification (a branch of enumerative bibliography), and shares significant common ground with intellectual history. This rich bibliographic tradition has not intersected with other traditions and is known only to scholars of Chinese bibliography, intellectual history, and classical studies. In the field of knowledge organization, it is a virtual unknown and, thus, presents excellent opportunities for research.
Intellectual Activism in Knowledge Organization is an interdisciplinary analysis of the Chinese bibliographic tradition written for a wide audience. In particular, the study investigates the classification applied in the Seven Epitomes《七略》, the first library catalog on record in Chinese history, completed a few years before the Common Era. It is important to study this classification, which is said to have established the model for the entire Chinese bibliographic tradition, where classification has always been an integral part and the sole mechanism for organization. While influential, neither the classificatory principles nor the structure of the classification are well understood. In the book, Lee Hur-Li conducts a hermeneutic study of three main aspects of the classification: the classification’s epistemology, its overall classificatory mechanics, and its concept of author as an organizing element. Taking a socio-epistemological approach, the study applies an analytical framework to the examination of the classification in its proper social, cultural, historical, and technological contexts. Lee concludes by summarizing the major achievements of the classification and articulating implications of the findings for various disciplines.