Knowledge organization

Knowledge organization ( KO ) (or “organization of information”) is a branch of Library and Information Science (LIS) Databases, archives, etc. These activities are done by librarians, archivists, subject specialists as well as computer algorithms. KO as a field of study is Concerned with the kind and quality of knowledge Such organizing processes (KOP) (Such As taxonomy and ontology ) as well as the knowledge organizing systems (KOS) used to organizes documents, paper representations and concepts.

There are a number of ways in which social organization can be integrated into the organization. Each of these approaches tends to answer the question: “What is knowledge organization?” Differently.

Traditional human-based activities are increasingly challenged by computer-based retrieval techniques. It is appropriate to investigate the relative contributions of different approaches; The current challenges make it imperative to reconsider this understanding.

The leading newspaper in this field is Knowledge Organization [1] published by the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO). See also “Lifeboat for Knowledge Organization”. [2]

Theoretical approaches

One widely used analysis of organizational principles summarizes them as by Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy (LATCH). [3]

Traditional approaches

Among them are Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) and Henry Bliss (1870-1955).

Dewey’s was an efficient way to manage library collections; Not an optimal system to support users of libraries. His system was used in many libraries as a standardized way to manage collections.

An important characteristic in Henry Bliss’ (and many contemporary thinkers of KO) was that the science tends to reflect the order of

Natural order -> Scientific Classification -> Library classification (KO)

The implication is that librarians, in order to classify books, should know about scientific developments. Again from the standpoint of the higher education of librarians, the teaching of systems of classification. . . Would have been better conducted by the races in the systematic encyclopedia and methodology of all the sciences, that is to say, outlines which try to summarize the most recent results in the relation to one another in which they are now studied together. . . . “( Ernest Cushing Richardson , quoted from Bliss, 1935, p.2).

Among the other principles, which may be attributed to the traditional approach to KO are:

  • Principle of controlled vocabulary
  • Cutter’s rule about specificity
  • Hulme’s principle of literary warrant (1911)
  • Principle of organization from the general to the specific

Today, after more than 100 years of research and development in LIS, the “traditional” approach still has a strong position in KO and in many ways its still dominate.

Facet analytic approaches

The dates of the foundation of this approach May be Chosen as the publication of SR Ranganathan ‘s Colon Classification in 1933. The approach has-been developed by further Top, In Particular, the British Classification Research Group. In many ways this approach has dominated what might be termed “modern classification theory.”

The best way to explain this approach is to explain its analytico-synthetic methodology. The meaning of the term “analysis” is: Breaking down each subject into its basic concepts. The meaning of the term synthesis is: Combining the units and concepts to describe the subject matter of the information package in hand.

Given subjects (as they appear in, for example, book titles) are first analyzed into a few common categories, which are termed “facets”. Ranganathan proposed his PMEST formula: Personality, Matter, Energy, Space and Time:

The information retrieval tradition (IR)

The Cranfield experiments, which were found in the 1950s, and the TREC experiments ( Text Retrieval Conferences ), began in 1992. It was the Cranfield experiments, which introduced the famous measures “recall” And “precision” as evaluation criteria for systems efficiency. The Cranfield experiments found that the UDC and facet-analytic systems were less efficient indexing systems (“UNITERM”). The Cranfield I test found according to Ellis (1996, 3-6) the following results.

system recall
Alphabetical subject headings 81.5%
UDC 75.6%
Facet classification scheme 73.8%

Although these results have been criticized and questioned, the IR-tradition has become much more influential. The dominant trend has been to look only statistical averages . What are the differences between the two types of questions?

User-oriented and cognitive views

The best way to define this approach is probably by method: Systems based on user-oriented approaches.

User ratings demonstrated very early that users prefer verbal search systems as opposed to systems based on classification notations. This is an example of a theory of empirical studies of users. Adherents of classification notations may, of course, still have an argument: that notations are well-defined and that users may consider important information by not considering them.

Folksonomies is a recent kind of KO based on users’ rather than on librarians’ or subject specialists’ indexing.

Bibliometric approaches

These approaches are based on bibliographical references to organize networks of papers, mainly by bibliographic coupling (by Kessler 1963) or co-citation analysis (independently suggested by Marshakova 1973 [4] and Small 1973). In recent years it has become a popular activity to construe bibliometric maps as structures of research fields.

Two considerations are important in considering bibliometric approaches to KO:

  1. The level of indexing is determined by the number of terms assigned to each document. In citation indexing this corresponds to the number of references in a given paper. On the average, scientific papers contain 10-15 references, which provide a high level of depth.
  2. The references, which function as access points, are provided by the highest subject-expertise: The experts writing in the leading journals. This expertise is much more than that which library or bibliographical databases typically are able to draw on.

The domain analytic approach

Domain analysis is a sociological-epistemological standpoint. The indexing of a given document should reflect the needs of a given group of users or a given ideal purpose. In other words, any description or representation of a given document is more or less suited to the fulfillment of certain tasks. A description is never objective or neutral, and the goal is not to standardize descriptions or make one description.

The development of the Danish library ” KVINFO ” may be used as an example to explore the domain-analytic point of view.

Nynne Koch was employed at the Royal Library in Copenhagen in a position without influence on book selection. She was interested in women’s studies and began collecting catalogs of books in the Royal Library, which were considered relevant for women’s studies. She developed a classification system for this subject. KVINFO became an independent library. KVINFO became an independent library. The important theoretical point of view is that the Royal Library had an official systematic catalog of a high standard. Normally it is assumed that such a catalog can be used to identify whatever their theoretical orientation. This example demonstrates, however, That for a specific user group (feminist scholars), an alternative way of organizing catalogs was important. In other words: Different points of view.

DA is the only approach to KO which has seriously examined epistemological issues in the field, ie comparing the assumptions made in different approaches to KO and examining the questions regarding subjectivity and objectivity in KO. Subjectivity is not just about individual differences. Such differences are of minor interest because they can not be used as guidelines for KO. What seems important are collective views shared by many users. A kind of subjectivity about many users is related to philosophical positions. In any field of knowledge. In arts, for example, different views of art are always present. Such views on art works, writing on art works, how art works are organized in exhibitions and how they are organized in libraries (see Ørom 2003).

See also

  • Automatic document classification
  • Document classification
  • Knowledge organization systems
  • Library Classification
  • Library and Information Science
  • Personal information management
  • Body of knowledge


  1. Jump up^ Knowledge Organization.
  2. Jump up^ Hjørland, Birger (ed.). Lifeboat for Knowledge Organization. Available at:
  3. Jump up^ Richard Saul Wurman,Information Anxiety, 1990ISBN 0553348566
  4. Jump up^ “System of Paper Based on References Connections” (PDF) . Nauchn-Techn.Inform . 1973.

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