On Looking Up a Concept’s Name and a Neologism for Adapting One’s Notions of a Concept onto Previously Established Theory, Terminology, and Conventions for that Concept

Published on Author Alexander Darino

Most of the concepts we conceive have been conceived by many before us. With regards to academia and industry, these concepts have almost certainly been thoroughly fleshed out as theories with their own domain-specific terminology and conventions. When conducting research, it is always in our best interest to take advantage of prior research developments, and, especially if publication is of interest, base our own notions and understanding on the previously established terminology, conventions, and other formalisms. If we know the names of what it is we are looking for, it is not difficult to research into the subject matter1)To those who perceive any such difficulty or frustration, you are encouraged to consult with your local librarian for a great sigh of relief.; however, if you don’t have a name to go by for these concepts, ascertaining the name can be a challenge in its own right.

A Reverse Concept Search is a search for the name of a concept given its description, features, or characteristics. These days, reverse concept searches are typically conducted with a web search (eg. Google), but specialized tools such as Reverse Dictionaries or Concept Dictionaries may be used. Once a concepts name has been identified, one can easily explore it as a domain of knowledge with previously established theories, terminology, and conventions. For example, it is easy to survey just about any topic by consulting an encyclopedia for an overview, a textbook for an introduction, or scholarly publications for bleeding edge developments.

Up to now, there does not appear to be a term for describing the process of adapting one’s notions of a concept onto the previously established theories, terminology, and conventions for that concept. Therefore, I propose a neologism for this process: porting2)This term evolved after a bit of exploration and a little debate as indicated on a thread I posted on http://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/60786/term-for-reverse-lookup-of-concepts I chose this word because it metaphorically parallels existing usage of the term from the domain of software development. In software development, we might port an application from one platform onto another: the application remains intact, although it is expressed or implemented differently. Similarly, when we port our drafts, we are essentially standardizing and building on top of a previously, well-established platform for conducting research.

Notes   [ + ]

1. To those who perceive any such difficulty or frustration, you are encouraged to consult with your local librarian for a great sigh of relief.
2. This term evolved after a bit of exploration and a little debate as indicated on a thread I posted on http://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/60786/term-for-reverse-lookup-of-concepts