I S K O

 

Editors' blog
Irregular thoughts on IEKO

Table of contents:
2018.08.30 BH: IEKO compared to ELIS
2018.08.28 BH: Concepts from the title and subtitle of the journal KO
2018.07.26 BH: Systems theory and KO
2018.07.11 BH: IEKO presentation for ISKO 2018


2018-08-30 BH
IEKO compared to ELIS

One may ask, given the existence of Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, ELIS (McDonald and Levine-Clark 2018) is there still a need for the ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization (IEKO)? Here are some of the important differences:

  • ELIS covers, as the title implies, library and information sciences (LIS), whereas IEKO covers knowledge organization (KO), which may be considered a subfield of LIS. The ambition of IEKO as a more specialized source is to cover KO in both broader and deeper ways, e.g. more articles about specific issues in KO and deeper treatment of each issue.
  • At the present ELIS has by large the greatest number of articles (497 articles in ELIS compared to about 30 in IEKO), but IEKO growths month by month. The alphabetic list of entries in IEKO is here; the alphabetical list of entries in ELIS 4 is here.
  • IEKO is a free, open encyclopedia, whereas ELIS is a subscription-based source. Given the interdisciplinary and scattered nature of the field IEKO may be available to many students, researchers and practitioners, who do not have access to ELIS (although ELIS is a valuable resource that should be available in all educational institutions in library and information science).
  • IEKO is a peer-reviewed source and all articles are automatically accepted in the journal Knowledge Organization. They are hereby also indexed by many indexing services, including Web of Science.
  • Because IEKO is primarily an online source, it allows easy updating (while at the same time having a stable print version). IEKO encourages authors to update their articles. ELIS has an unclear update policy. Some articles are termed ELIS Classic and are explicit reprints of earlier editions (but without precise bibliographical references, so authors cannot cite the original version directly, but has to go to the earlier editions and find the information). However, many articles are just reprints from former editions without indication that the article has not been updated. This is a bad service.
  • There a kinds of articles, that have different priorities in IEKO and ELIS.
    • Biographical articles are not covered by ELIS but are planned to be an important part of IEKO. This allows approaching issues from other angles. For example, much classification theory refers to Aristotle, but his theoretical views are seldom presented in a proper developed way. We hope a biographical article about Aristotle may help solving this problem — and so with all other biographies.
    • ELIS has traditionally had really many articles about libraries and related institutions in specific countries, e.g. Denmark, Ethiopia, Hungary, India, Mexico, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland etc. etc. This is not the case with EIKO, and it is not planned either.
    • ELIS has also a real many articles about different societies and organizations such as ASLIB, Association for Information Science and Technology, Association for Information Systems (AIS), Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and ISKO. IEKO plans an article about ISKO, but we have no intention of the same broad coverage of associations and organizations.
    • IEKO prioritizes theoretical concepts. Although some are also covered by ELIS, many are not. Examples of concepts covered by IEKO, but missing in ELIS are "Domain analysis", "Integrative levels", "Interoperability", "Literary warrant", "Logical division", "Notation", "Subject (of documents)" and "Work" (and consider that we are still in an early phase of development).
    • IEKO prioritizes knowledge organization in different domains (but realizes it can be hard to find authors in many domains). ELIS has a number of old articles (ELIS Classic) about e.g. "Chemistry Literature and Its Users", but seems to make no effort to provide updated information about specific domains.
    • Coverage of interdisciplinary fields and adjacent disciplines are important. ELIS have many important articles, for example, "Epistemology", "Linguistics and the information sciences", "Science and Technology Studies", "Semiotics" and "Social epistemology". IEKO has also the ambition to cover such fields, and we recognizes an important dilemma: Should an article about, for example, epistemology, be written from an external expert in epistemology or from somebody who is able to relate epistemological problems to specific issues of KO? This is about evaluating potential contributors’ competencies in relation to two important goals. The main goal is to think of every contribution in the light of helping the development of KO in fruitful directions. (Consider the former statements.)

Conclusion: Because IEKO is made in continuous process (while ELIS is edited in a one-shot process with fixed deadlines), IEKO may to a larger degree be able to build on already published papers. For example, the article "Knowledge organization" refers to the article "Knowledge organization systems (KOS)" which refer to specific kinds of KOS such as "Thesaurus (for information retrieval)" which may again refer to specific thesauri.

IEKO aims to be an important tool for developing KO for the future (Consider again the former statements). We consider it a project involving the community of KO researchers and practitioners.

Reference
McDonald, John D. and Michael Levine-Clark (Eds.). 2018. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Fourth Edition, Vol. I-VII. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. (Also available online to subscribing libraries).


2018-08-28 BH
Concepts from the title and subtitle of the journal KO

The title and subtitle of the journal: "Knowledge Organization: International Journal devoted to Concept Theory, Classification, Indexing and Knowledge Representation" contains, of course, important concepts which need to be considered in IEKO:

  • Classification (covered from 2017-02-09)
  • Concept Theory
  • Indexing (covered from 2018-05-09)
  • Knowledge
  • Knowledge Organization (covered from 2016-08-01)
  • Knowledge Representation
  • Organization
  • Theory

    I will say a few words of the concepts which currently are not covered (and therefore in search for authors):

    Concept Theory

    In the recent biographical article on Ingetraut Dahlberg, Ohly (2018) also included a section about her concept theory: http://www.isko.org/cyclo/dahlberg#3 , including, of course references to her most important works on the subject. Of great interest is also Dahlberg's discussion with German social scientists at http://www.isko.org/cyclo/dahlberg#7 , which is not available in English and seems in need for further consideration. Other ISKO members have treated this concept, including myself (Hjørland 2009) and Rick Szostak (2011). It is a huge field, but there is a need for an IEKO article considering different theories and their implications for KO.

  • Hjørland, Birger. 2009. "Concept Theory". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60, no. 8: 1519-36.
  • Ohly, H. Peter. 2018. "Ingetraut Dahlberg". In ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization: http://www.isko.org/cyclo/dahlberg
  • Szostak, Rick. 2011. "Complex Concepts Into Basic Concepts". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62, no. 11: 2247–65.
    Knowledge

    Sometimes knowledge organization is called "information organization" (e.g., Svenonius 2000), and data organization and document organization are among other important competing concepts to consider. IEKO needs a scholarly examination of why KO is termed as it is, and what the implications are for different labels of the field (see also Hjørland 2012). Also, other aspects of the term knowledge are important to consider. This is also a huge field and knowledge is closely related to science and the theory of knowledge is called epistemology. Each of these concepts are planned as independent articles in IEKO.

  • Hjørland, Birger. 2012. "Knowledge Organization = Information Organization?" Advances in Knowledge Organization 13: 8-14.
  • Svenonius, Elaine. 2000. The intellectual foundation of information organization. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    Knowledge Representation

    Many authors use the term knowledge representation as an (implicit) synonym for knowledge organization. Svenonius (2000) uses information organization (cf. knowledge above) while Svenonius (2004) uses knowledge representation. Stock and Stock (2013) prefer knowledge representation. In the glossary (p. 839) the following definitions are given:

    Knowledge Organization safeguards ("organizes") the accessibility and availability, respectively, of knowledge contained within documents. It comprises all types of KOSs as well as further user- and text-oriented procedures. A folksonomy represents knowledge organization without rules.
    Knowledge Representation is the science, technology and application of the methods and tools for representing knowledge in such a way that it can be optimally searched and retrieved in digital databases. The knowledge that has been found in documents is represented in an information system, namely via surrogates. Knowledge representation includes the subareas of information condensation and information filters.

    This definition of knowledge representation corresponds, however, to definitions of knowledge organization provided by, for example Dahlberg, Hjørland and Smiraglia. The question is therefore open: Should we consider the two terms synonyms? An argument against is that the term is often associated with research in artificial intelligence and related areas (see for example in Wikipedia, where "knowledge representation" is redirected to "Knowledge representation and reasoning". Sowa (1999) is a well-known book in this computer-science tradition. Hjørland (2008) is a draft for an interdisciplinary review of knowledge representation. A full account of the term needs to consider the term representation and consider for example, what has been termed the representational paradigm in computer science.

  • Hjørland, Birger. 2008. "Knowledge representation". In The Epistemological Lifeboat. Saved copy available in Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20180423092719/http://lifeboat.iva.ku.dk/info.asp?subjectid=92
  • Sowa, John F. 1999. Knowledge Representation: Logical, Philosophical, and Computational Foundations. Boston, MA: Course Technology.
  • Stock, Wolfgang G. and Mechtild Stock. 2013. Handbook of Information Science. Berlin, de Gruyter.
  • Svenonius, Elaine. 2000. The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Svenonius, Elaine. 2004. "The Epistemological Foundations of Knowledge Representations". Library Trends 52, no. 3: 571–87.
    Organization

    Glushko (2013) suggested organizing as the name of a discipline, that is in reality as a competing term for knowledge organization. In my opinion we have to many competing terms for our field already, providing a confusion, which we should be the first to avoid. However, the book is good and provide introductions to many important concepts, that would fit very well in IEKO, including, of course the term organizing or organization itself.

  • Glushko, Robert J. (Ed.). 2013. The Discipline of Organizing. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
    Theory

    Theory is an important concept in KO. First of all, because our conceptual structures and classifications are based on theories (which are often implicit). Leonelli (2016) is a very important contribution to this aspect, which was also dealt with by Hjørland (2013). The last article in addition discussed the theories of KO itself.

  • Hjørland, Birger (2013). "Theories are Knowledge Organizing Systems (KOS)". Knowledge Organization 42, no. 2: 113-28.
  • Leonelli, Sabina. 2016. Data-Centric Biology: A Philosophical Study. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press (Chapter 5: What Counts as Theory, 114-138).

    2018-07-26 BH
    Systems theory and knowledge organization (KO)

    In the history of KO, there have been researchers interested in systems theory, cf. the selected references below. However, there is a need for broader and updated article on this issue. It is paradoxical that Arnold (2013) is a book about traditions in systems theory, which is published in a book series about library and information science (LIS), but which does not include anything about the relation between LIS or KO and systems theory. Not a single author (or editor from our field). In this way we have an unclear understanding of what systems theory may contribute to KO, what have its adherents found fruitful and which problems are connected to this theoretical frame? (This is the case with almost all theoretical frames, but here I'll start to call for somebody interested in doing the task to provide an scholarly, updated, critical review of the relation between KO and systems theory / systems science)

    Arnold, Darrell (2013). Traditions of Systems Theory: Major Figures and Contemporary Developments. London: Routledge. (Routledge Studies in Library and Information Science)

    Foskett, D. J. (1972). "Review: Information and general system theory. Journal of Librarianship. 4(3), 205-209.

    Foskett, D. J. (1974). "General systems theory and the organisation of libraries". In: Studies in Library Management. London, Clive Bingley. (Vol. 2, side 10-24).

    Foskett, D. J. (1980). "Systems theory and its relevance to documentary classification". International classification. 7(1), 2-5.

    Fugmann, R. (1973). "On the role of subjectivity in establishing, using, operating and evaluating information retrieval systems. Treatise II on retrieval system theory". Information storage & retrieval, 9(7), 353-372.

    Mansfield, U. (1982). "The systems movement: an overview for information scientists". Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 33(6), 375-382.

    Marchant, M. P. (1980). "An open system theory approach to library effectiveness". In: Library effectiveness: A state of the art. New York, Library Administration and Management Association. (Side 151-159).

    Mattessich, R. (1982). "The systems approach: its variety of aspects". Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 33(6), 383-394.

    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Systems theory". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems%5Ftheory

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    2018-07-11 BH
    IEKO presentation for 15th International ISKO Conference, Porto, July 11th, 2018

    Three core dimensions of knowledge organization (KO) are knowledge organization systems (KOS), knowledge organization processes (KOP) and core concepts. KOS are, for example, subject heading systems, thesauri, folksonomies and ontologies. KOP are for example, indexing (manual or algorithmic) or tagging. Core concepts are, for example, classification, knowledge, subject and data.

    The general terms KOS and KOP as well as specific kinds (e.g. subject headings and thesauri) as well as core concepts are understood and defined differently in the literature. Articles should be based on a solid knowledge of the relevant literature (often belonging to different disciplines) supplemented with systematic literature searches and hopefully also based on the authors own research. They should present and discuss the most important different views and present arguments for the authors preferred understanding/definition. They should, for example, clarify whether Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is a kind of thesaurus or not (or at the least present the arguments for and against that have been stated in the literature).

    Often authors are surprised by the complexity involved in doing such conceptual analysis, they may underestimate the time and effort needed to answer such questions (which are simple to ask but mostly difficult to answer). I would like to emphasize that such theoretical review articles should be considered first rate research (and review articles are often highly cited, and please remember that IEKO articles are peer-reviewed, printed in Knowledge Organization, and indexed in Web of Science). Thus, the frustration of the unexpected complexity writing the article should be considered a research challenge, something to be examined carefully, step-by-step, and hopefully rewarded by increased conceptual clarity not just by the author herself, but in the field as a whole — and hopefully recognized in other fields too. In this place I would like to quote the outstanding biologist Ernst Mayr (1997, 98): "It cannot be overemphasized that changes in concepts have far more impact than new discoveries".

    All articles should aim being contributions (not just articles, that are "good enough"). The ideal is that IEKO articles are considered the best general sources on their subjects, the sources that researchers, teachers and advanced students go to (and that more popular textbooks educational materials draws on). They should be concise, readable and focus on the important, but at the same time be broad and comprehensive to provide a good overview of the field and its core issues. And their reference lists should aim at being good, easily available sources for all researchers and students in the field.

    Four main perspectives seem to be of utmost importance for KO in general and for almost any specific concept and article in IEKO:

    1. To consider it from the perspective of the history of knowledge organization ("classic" contributions to knowledge organization)
    2. To consider it in the perspective of front-edge information technology
    3. To consider relations to specific domains of knowledge
    4. To consider epistemological issue (and other philosophical issues like metaphysical and ethical issues).

    Concerning 1

    To consider KO as a research discipline implies that we are concerned with its progress and that means consider the development of concepts, theories, methodologies, applications, among other things. It also means to evaluate what must be considered obsolete knowledge, and which contributions should be considered valuable. There is sometimes a tendency that valuable contributions are forgotten. One important function of IEKO is to identify important contributions, integrate them in the conceptual structure of the field and make them easily available (although, of course, there may be different opinions on what to consider valuable contributions).

    Examples of valuable contributions, which have been relatively neglected or unappreciated are, in my opinion, Bernier's (1980) differentiation between concept indexing and subject indexing (cf., http://www.isko.org/cyclo/subject#3.1 ), Cooper's (1969) observation that interindexer consistency as a measure of indexing quality has the problem, that indexing may be consistently bad (cf., http://www.isko.org/cyclo/indexing#3.2). A related function of IEKO is to present a scattered and badly researched idea in a well integrated article. Two fine examples are Ideal language and Integrative levels. Both are concepts, that have played a role in the history of KO, but which be difficult to become aware of and to overview were they not treated in comprehensive articles. (I am not saying that these articles solve the problems, just that they make a better starting point for further research). Therefore, almost all articles in IEKO should aim at relating their contents to former contributions in the field of KO. The implication is that authors should ideally have solid knowledge about research done in the field.

    Concerning 2

    The most modern advanced technologies such as search engines, the semantic Web and bibliometrics are often considered as belonging to information retrieval (IR), bibliometrics, and other fields which are external to KO, for example, computer science. Although this is right, it is important to realize that fields such as IR and bibliometrics are working with the same goal as KO: to help people navigate large databases finding helpful documents and information. Although, without question, they are separately established fields, we cannot ignore them, we must consider them different approaches to the same goal, and if we ignore them, we may develop a bubble, that is be increasingly considered irrelevant by the surrounding society. This raises the research problem: What is the specific perspective of KO, and how does it differ from, for example IR? To answer this, we must specify the different approaches in both KO and IR and try to answer the question: Which theoretical foundation for KO can make this field relevant in a time dominated by IR? The answer is not given, but each author ideally contributes to answering it. The most needed qualification here is probably honesty, as opposed to avoiding considering the challenges, just falling back on convenient professional myths. Such issues often come to the foreground when writing for IEKO, and they often pose a dilemma for the editor, whether to choose authors more related to KO or more related to other fields such as IR, the ideal being authors with knowledge in both fields.

    Concerning 3

    All knowledge is knowledge about something and it is important that KO acknowledges the progress made in specific domains. So far, we have a fine article about DSM, the psychiatric classification of mental diseases. It was a goal of Ingetraut Dahlberg to develop KO in subject areas, but we have not so far had much activity or influence — actually the philosophers are much more influential today, in, for example, biological classification, compared to us — and the same goes for almost all domains. (One fine exception is Geoffrey C. Bowker on, among other things the International Classification of Diseases and metadata standards in the U.S. network for long-term ecological research, LTER). Specific domains are important in more than one way, but first of all, important theory is developed by such research, for example, is was Charles Darwin (1859, 420) that proposed "all true classification is genealogical".

    IEKO tries to find qualified authors for articles in all major subject fields. Here the primary qualification is the classification of the specific domain (X). Qualified researchers may be subject specialists (e.g. biologists), philosophers specializing in classifying X, people from LIS specializing in classifying X or others. Here as in other cases, a very important qualification is to have already published about X.

    Concerning 4

    The third overall ambition — closely related to the two former — is to consider philosophical questions in general and epistemological ones in particular. We should both have general articles on different epistemologies, but also have discussions of different philosophical issues in almost all other articles (for example, in the article about Colon Classification consider whether it is based on some philosophical assumptions, which are challenged today, or in the article Literary warrant consider how this may be interpreted more or less empiristic as a passive process or pragmatic as an active process in relation to the information specialist, or the important implications of different views in indexing (whether manual or algorithmic). Another way to say this is that each specific topic can always be considered from different perspectives, and it is extremely important that users of IEKO get this knowledge when using or browsing it. Today important issues relate to implications of classification (how does a given classification system affect different groups of people), which is closely related to ethical issues. Other issues concern the status of classifications, which involves questions related to social constructivism, realism and social epistemology. Research may uncover the hidden assumptions often underlying dominating systems.

    The above was about ideal demands for IEKO, but of course these cannot all be met. There is a great need that more authors will work for IEKO, for example, with biographical articles of important contributors, specific kinds of technologies and systems, specific approaches to KO, historical articles, theoretical concepts etc. In order for ISKO to thrive, its knowledge base need to be improved, that is more people doing research are badly needed.

    Some practical issues. All communication about writing for IEKO are sent to editor-in-chief, including all drafts, suggestions and manuscripts. Editor-accepted manuscripts are sent to peer- review by editor-in-chief, and may be rejected, needing major or minor revision or accepted. Finally accepted papers are sent to the web-manager and published online. Thereafter (not before) the final version of accepted papers should be uploaded in ScholarOne for publication in Knowledge Organization, cf.: Guidelines for contributors (these guidelines are constantly updated and contains now the following subsections: Using endnotes and reference managers; Articles on concepts; Articles on KOSs; Biographical articles; Updating after publication).

    References

    Bernier, Charles L. 1980. "Subject indexes". In: Kent, Allen; Lancour, Harold & Daily, Jay E. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Volume 29. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc.: 191-205.

    Bowker, Geoffrey C. and Susan Leigh Star. 1999. Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Cooper, William S. 1969. "Is interindexer consistency a hobgoblin? " American Documentation, 20: 268-278.

    Darwin, Charles. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: J. Murray.

    Mayr, Ernst. (1997). This is biology: The science of the living world. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press.

    Millerand, Florence and Geoffrey C. Bowker. 2009. "Metadata Standards: Trajectories and Enactment in the Life of an Ontology". In Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life, edited by Martha Lampland and Susan Leigh Star. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 149?165.

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    Published 2018-08-01, last edited 2018-08-28

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