Notability is the property of being worthy of notice, having fame, or being considered to be of a high degree of interest, significance, or distinction. It also refers to the capacity to be such.


Aesthetic theory

The concept arises in the philosophy of aesthetics regarding aesthetic appraisal.[1] There are criticism of art galleries determining monetary valuation, or valuation so as to determine what or what not to display, being based on notability of the artist, rather than inherent quality of the art work.

Journalism and marketing

Notability arises in decisions on coverage questions in journalism.[2] Marketers and newspapers may try to create notability to create celebrity, fame, or notoriety, or to increase sales, as in the yellow press.

Notables as the privileged class

The privileged class are sometimes called notables, when compared to peasants.[3][4]

Wikipedia content

Notability of a subject determines which articles will be included or not at Wikipedia.[5] In his book, The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia, Andrew Lih writes that notability is at the center of the debate as to what the world's greatest encyclopedia should be -

"One faction believes Wikipedia should contain pretty much anything, as long as it’s factual and verifiable…. On the other side of the debate are the ‘deletionists’, although this somewhat unfairly characterizes their view in a destructive way. Some prefer the word ‘exclusionists’. This camp believes it is important to strictly determine not only whether something is factual, but whether it is notable, whether it is worthy of being included in the pantheon of human knowledge….. At the center of the debate is notability, which is where inclusionists and deletionists have their skirmishes.[6]

Emily Artinian compares this passage with Borges' The Library of Babel.[7]

Persons wanting to delete an article on the grounds of non-notability are called deletionists. Those not wanting to delete the article are called inclusionists.[6]

A team of computer scientists at MIT and Rutgers University has used notability at Wikipedia to create a measure of hierarchy in a directed online social network.[8]

The number of hits from a search engine has been proposed as a measure of notability; Wikipedia does not recommend the use of Google's results.[9]

The number of citations has been proposed as a measure of notability of a publication or author; the field of study is called citation analysis.[10][11]

There is a distinction between a capacity to be notable in the abstract, and having already realized this capacity, it being reified. Once defined, notabiity is established by convention, such as considering all names of places to merit placement in an encyclopedia, and can thus be objectively assessed as inherent notability,.[12] A person might consider a work of art to be notable based on their own personal reaction to it, which is an example of subjective notability.[1]

Notability may be considered to be absolutely objective, e.g., inherently as the big bang; relatively objectively determinable using a conventional definition, which is subjectively determined by consensus,[13] e.g., an online encyclopedia consensus to consider all towns as being notable, no matter how small; or subjective,[14] such as a notably emotional day for an individual.

Conferring notability: name dropping, syllogism, transititvity, paradox of the name relation

Name dropping and argument by authority is an attempt to confer notability, i.e., to use the name of a notable associated with something, or to attempt to establish notability of that thing.

Conferring notability is related to transitivity and the syllogism. If all A's are notable, and x is an A, then x is notable is true by syllogism, but if A is notable, and x is an element of A, then x is not necessarily notable. If x is more notable than y, and y is more notable than z, then x is more notable than z, but if person x considers A to be notable, and A is a subset of B, then x does not necessarily consider B to be notable; an example of an intentional context in the paradox of the name relation.[15][page needed]


  1. ^ a b Aesthetic Appraisal, Philosophy (1975), 50: 189-204, Evan Simpson
  2. ^ Journalism in the age of the information society, technological convergence, and editorial segmentation, Journalism February 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 109-125, Francisco José Castilhos Karam doi:10.1177/1464884908098323
  3. ^ Notability and Revolution: Social Origins of the Political Elite in Liberal Spain, 1800 to 1853, Jesus Cruz
  4. ^ Urban Notables and Arab nationalism: the politics of Damascus 1860-1920, PS Khoury, 2003 ISBN 9780521533232
  5. ^ Sharman Lichtenstein, Craig M. Parker, "Wikipedia model for collective intelligence: a review of information quality" International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, Volume 5, Number 3-4 / 2009, pp. 254-272 doi:10.1504/IJKL.2009.031199
  6. ^ a b Andrew Lih, Jimmy Wales The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia, 2009, p. 116 OCLC 488343590
  7. ^ Emily Artinian "Wikipedia Definitions of the Artist’s Book: a Neutral Point of View?", Traditional and Emerging Formats of the Book Conference, University of the West of England, 9 July 2009, p.5
  8. ^ Mangesh Gupte, Pravin Shankar, Jing Li, S. Muthukrishnan, Liviu Iftode, "Finding Hierarchy in Directed Online Social Networks" doi:ACM 978-1-4503-0632-4/11/03.
  9. ^ T Lawrence, N Pelkey, "'Googleology': powerful tool or unreliable evidence?" Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, Voluume 67, Number 3, September 2010, p.26,
  10. ^ Roger Clarke, "A pilot citation analysis of Australian Information Systems Researchers", 2006 (note: this self published website article is cited in Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Volume 15, Number 2, 2009 - "Electronic Commerce publications and the implications for research quality output in Australia")
  11. ^ Rens Scheepers, Helana Scheepers, Julie Fisher, "Electronic Commerce publications and research in Australia: Implications of the Research Quality Framework" Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Volume 15, Number 2, 2009,
  12. ^ Dictionary 3.0
  13. ^ Paula Berinstein, "Wikipedia and Britannica:The Kid’s All Right (And So’s the Old Man)", Information Today
  14. ^ Sharman Lichtenstein A1 and Craig M. Parker, "Wikipedia model for collective intelligence: a review of information quality", International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, Volume 5, Number 3-4, 2009, pp. 254-272
  15. ^ Dagfinn Føllesdal, Philosophy of Quine (2000) 5 volumes. ISBN 9780815337379

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Notability — Not a*bil i*ty, n.; pl. {Notabilities}. [Cf. F. notabilit[ e] .] 1. Quality of being notable. [1913 Webster] 2. A notable, or remarkable, person or thing; a person of note. Parisian notabilities Carlyle. [1913 Webster] 3. A notable saying. [Obs.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • notability — index character (reputation), clout, distinction (reputation), eminence, emphasis, feature ( …   Law dictionary

  • notability — (n.) late 14c., from O.Fr. notabilite, from M.L. *notabilitatem (nom. *notabilitas), from L. notabilis (see NOTABLE (Cf. notable)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • notability — [nōt΄ə bil′ə tē] n. 1. pl. notabilities a person who is notable or prominent 2. the quality of being notable …   English World dictionary

  • notability — n. (pl. ies) 1 the state of being notable (names of no historical notability). 2 a prominent person. Etymology: ME f. OF notabiliteacute or LL notabilitas (as NOTABLE) …   Useful english dictionary

  • notability — noun (plural ties) Date: 1832 a notable or prominent person …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • notability — /noh teuh bil i tee/, n., pl. notabilities for 2. 1. the state or quality of being notable; distinction; prominence. 2. a notable or prominent person. [1350 1400; ME notabilite. See NOTABLE, ITY] * * * …   Universalium

  • notability — noun a) The quality or state of being notable or eminent b) A notable or eminent person …   Wiktionary

  • notability — Synonyms and related words: Establishment, VIP, baron, big gun, big man, big name, big shot, big timer, bigwig, brass, brass hat, celebrity, chief, consequence, conspicuousness, constellation, cynosure, dignitary, dignity, distinction, elder,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • notability — I (Roget s IV) n. Syn. precedence, notoriety, esteem; see fame 1 . II (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun 1. A position of exalted widely recognized importance: distinction, eminence, eminency, fame, glory, illustriousness, luster, mark, note,… …   English dictionary for students

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