" What I need to know are the characteristics that a classification scheme should have in order to be accurate and efficient to use."
One of the most fundamental attributes of human thought is people's propensity to arrange their experiences in terms of categories or classes. By assigning happenings to categories, people render life more comprehensible by revealing how certain events are similar to, and different from, other events. Classifying people, objects, and incidents enables us to compare and contrast our experiences and thereby construct an orderly mental map of reality that helps us cope with life's demands.
The tendency--indeed, the necessity--to classify experiences derives at least partly from the limited capacity of the human mind to simultaneously comtemplate a multitude of variables.
How many comparisons can be assimilated by those who seek an understanding of the patterns of comparisons? Writers on psychology such as Nobel laureate Herbert Simon believe that humans can simultaneously consider only a few items of information, perhaps fewer than four(depending partly on [how much is compressed into a comprehensible "chunk" of information]). For this reason, humans employ categorical ideas to think efficiently about what would be overly complex. ( Walberg, Zhang, & Daniel, 1994, p. 80)
The practice of mentally grouping observations has apparently been a natural human function from earliest times. However, the business of rationally devising formal systems for classifying events is of more recent vintage. The science of classification, often called taxonomy or systematics, probably originated with the ancient Greeks, brought to fruition during the fourth century B.C.E. in the works of Plato and his student Aristotle. The product of systematics can be referred to as a taxonomy or, alternatively, as a typology, classification scheme, or codification system. In the field of biology, the theory of evolution proposed