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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. Persons who are notable due to public responsibility, accomplishments, or, even, mere participation in the celebrity industry are said to have a public profile.[1]

Aesthetic theory

The concept arises in the philosophy of aesthetics regarding aesthetic appraisal.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5]

Wikipedia and Infogalactic content

Related articles: Minimal importance article and Notability in Wikipedia

Notability of a subject will determine which articles can be included or not at online encyclopedias like Infogalactic and Wikipedia.[6] 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.[7]

Emily Artinian compares this passage with Borges' The Library of Babel.[8]

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.[7]

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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11][12]

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.

Using fallacious reasoning to confer notability

Name dropping and argument by authority are examples of attempts to confer notability by associating the name of something notable with something else in an 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. "446 PART F | The Cultur e, Practices and Ethics of the Press: the Press and the Public" (PDF). The Leveson Inquiry. Government of the United Kingdom. p. 445. Retrieved 22 April 2013. The category of people with a public profile also includes a third sub-group: individuals who are famous only for their celebrity, or put another way the mere fact of their having entered the public eye. These people are those who actively participate in the ‘celebrity industry,’ actively pursuing publicity’s sake, employing publicists to provide a steady stream of stories to the press and to inform paparazzi of their whereabouts, in order to ensure that they continue to appear in the public eye.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Aesthetic Appraisal, Philosophy (1975), 50: 189-204, Evan Simpson
  3. 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
  4. Notability and Revolution: Social Origins of the Political Elite in Liberal Spain, 1800 to 1853, Jesus Cruz
  5. Urban Notables and Arab nationalism: the politics of Damascus 1860-1920, PS Khoury, 2003 ISBN 978-0-521-53323-2
  6. 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
  7. 7.0 7.1 Andrew Lih, Jimmy Wales The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia, 2009, p. 116 OCLC 488343590
  8. Emily Artinian "Wikipedia Definitions of the Artist’s Book: a Neutral Point of View?" (archived version), Traditional and Emerging Formats of the Book Conference, University of the West of England, 9 July 2009, p.5
  9. Mangesh Gupte, Pravin Shankar, Jing Li, S. Muthukrishnan, Liviu Iftode, "Finding Hierarchy in Directed Online Social Networks" ACM 978-1-4503-0632-4/11/03.
  10. T Lawrence, N Pelkey, "'Googleology': powerful tool or unreliable evidence?" Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, Volume 67, Number 3, September 2010, p. 26,
  11. 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")
  12. 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,
  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 978-0-8153-3737-9

External links