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A weblog of Information Science & Technology education and mentoring for LIS graduates.



Knowledge Structures Toolbox


This started as the KS Toolbox, used with IRLS 401/501, Knowledge Structures (now called Organization of Information) in fall semesters 2001 and 2002. Two other faculty (Prof. Santa Vicca, here at UA, and Prof. Arlene Taylor, at Pittsburgh) and many students have found this useful. In Spring 2002, I used a different Toolbox for the IRLS 601, Knowledge Structures II (which has now been reorganized into two new courses: 601, Theory of Classification and 695e, Controlled Vocabularies).  I have now added the thesaurus construction resources that were there. These will be useful to students in my IRLS 695E Controlled Vocabularies course which blends in the area of Information Architecture. For students in my Scholarly Communication course there is Section II at the bottom listing resources relevant to this area.  Finally, a link to my Information Seeking Behavior bibliography is available in the general references concluding section; I teach IRLS 587, Information Seeking Behavior, generally, every Fall. I hope that disciplinary connections and links between these various areas of LIS - knowledge organization, information architecture, scholarly communication, information retrieval, and information behaviors - as well as understanding and study of these areas are improved by use of this toolbox. 

Notes below try to point the appropriate sections to students in the different courses. 

Courses & Texts (for courses I teach)

  • IRLS 401/501 - Taylor, Arlene. 1999. The Organization of Information. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. - Required for Fall 2001, 2002, 2003.
  • IRLS 695E -  ANSI/NISO Z39.19 - 1993 (R1998) Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri. 84 pp. ISBN: 1-880124-04-1 Price: $55. URL:
    Note: The full-text of this standard can be downloaded from NISO site for free as an Adobe file or purchased from NISO. Required for Spring 2003, Spring 2004.
    + Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition By Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld 2nd Edition 2002 0-596-00035-9, 486 pages, $39.95 US. URL: - Required for Spring 2003, Spring 2004.
  • IRLS 589 - The Web of Knowledge: A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield. Edited by Blaise Cronin and Helen Barsky Atkins. ASIS Monographs. 2000. 544 pp/hardbound. ISBN: 1-57387-099-4 Cost: $49.50. URL: - Required for Spring 2003, Spring 2004.
    + Libraries, The Internet, and Scholarship: Tools and Trends Converging. Charles Thomas, Editor. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002. ISBN: 0-8247-0772-9. Cost: $99.75. URL:  - Recommended for Spring 2003.

    I. Knowledge Organization:

    Knowledge organization includes (in alphabetical order) the following areas of study:  Bibliography, Cataloging, Classification, Controlled Vocabularies, Databases, Indexing, Metadata, Natural Language Processing, Ontologies.

    Metadata & Vocabularies

    Note: IRLS 401/501 students - The course is roughly divided into Metadata and Vocabularies. Metadata includes bibliography and cataloging. Vocabularies includes classification and indexing. The library processes of cataloging & classification (descriptive, subject, authority control) and standards for both library cataloging and indexing & abstracting are included here and in sections that follow. The emergence of digital libraries is highlighted.

    IRLS 695E students - this course is roughly divided into Information Architecture (IA) and Thesauri; the 401/501 pre-requisite was waived in Spring 2003 only. 401/501 is a pre-requisite for this course.  

  • IFLA's Digital Libraries: Metadata Resources does an excellent job of maintaining an up-to-date web page on this topic. This is a general reference resource.
  • Understanding MARC Bibliographic - highly recommended introduction to MARC.
  • Milstead, J., and S. Feldman. Metadata: Cataloging by Any Other Name. [link no longer works]
  • Getty's Introduction to Vocabularies - - the Tools links provides a list of good tools to structured vocabularies and other rules, etc.
  • NSF's Digital Library Initiative - National SMET (Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology) Digital Library (NSDL) - Metadata Primer -
  • ASIS Internet Thesaurus of Information Science by Jessica Milstead -

    Digital Libraries

    Note: IRLS 401/501, 695E, 589 students - These are mostly listed to give you an idea of how the Digital Libraries (DL) world is getting defined. We have no unified definition now for DL. This is a growing area. The DL listed here show a very small range of definitional diversity; there are many more varieties and competing types of DLs out there. For the IRLS 401/501 Exercise (on digital libraries or Internet), your first choice should be to use a search engine or directory like Google or Yahoo! If you have trouble making a search engine or directory choice, select from SearchEngine Watch,
    1. DLESE, Digital Library for Earth Systems Education. URL:
    2. NSDL, National Science Digital Library.  URL:
    3. GEM, Gateway to Educational Materials. URL:"
    4. EdNA Online: Education Network Australia. URL:
    5. Alexandria Digital Library. URL:
    6. Perseus Digital Library. URL:
    7. Artemis Digital Library. URL: - Make sure you choose Guest Login.
    8. KidsWeb. URL:

    Bibliographic Utilities

    Note: IRLS 401/501 - Select ONE to explore and become familiar with

    1. OCLC:
      Browse/Learn how to use the OCLC MARC documentation:
    2. RLG:
      Browse/learn how to use the RLIN MARC Record

    Specific Cataloging Services

    Note: IRLS 401/501 - Depending on what you selected above, PICK the appropriate, matching service below to explore and become familiar with.

    1. OCLC Connexion
    2. RLIN: You MUST Download RLIN Terminal to use RLIN. RLIN Cataloging:

    Metadata Standards

    Note: IRLS 410/501 students - MARC (encoding) + AACR2r (content) are mandatory standards for your 401/501 study simply because the text covers them. Select a second standard from the Specialized Metadata Standards section and based on your format or area of interest.

    It is important to know that while we use the term "standards" some of these are not yet national or international standards; some are being developed by user communities and are in the standards process (trying to become standards), while others are true NISO/ISO standards or are accepted as de facto standards. Most others are frameworks that DL use.

    Other Standards

    • Standards for Identification
      1. International Standard Numbering System: International Standard Book Number, International Standard Music Number, International Standard Recording Code -
      2. ISSN -
      3. ISRN -
      4. Digital Object Identifier (DOI) -
    • Standards for Constructing Thesauri
      1. Z39.19 - Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri (National Information Standards, Ansi/Niso Z39.19-1993)
        Can get Full-Text of this standard from NISO (see below)
    • Standards for Retrieval
      1. Z39.50 -
        "Z39.50" refers to the International Standard, ISO 23950: "Information Retrieval (Z39.50): Application Service Definition and Protocol Specification", and to ANSI/NISO Z39.50. The Library of Congress is the Maintenance Agency and Registration Authority for both standards, which are technically identical (though with minor editorial differences).
    • Standards Organizations:
      1. NISO - -
        Can get full-text of Z39.19, Z39.50, and Z39.85 at website (see index of standards for complete list of standards)
      2. W3C - - Good source for standards such as HTML, XML, RDF, and new web-related standards because of Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the next generation of the web, called the Semantic Web
      3. ISO - - good source of all international standards.


    Note: IRLS 401/501 students - Advanced readings below; IRLS 695E - these provides excerpts from notable writers on this subject such as Aristotle, Ranganathan, Lakoff, Foucoult. Classification is the basis of all systematic study - living and non-living things.   

  • Ranganathan's Prolegomena - provides nice definitions and principles of library classification. URL: 

  • Classical Theory of Classification - Aristotle's Categories -

  • Perspectives on Classification and Categorization from other disciplines - (excerpts from Lakoff and Foucalt)

  • Classification of Living Things - - this tutorial provides an excellent introduction to Linnaean classification & taxonomy. 

  • Olson, Hope. Classification: The West and the Rest? SIRLS Colloquium Presentation Fall 2002. Abstract: Bias in classification is a long-recognized problem. Changes to the content of classification schemes have been suggested, and sometimes adopted, to diminish that bias. The research described in this presentation goes one step further to explore whether the actual structure of classification also contributes to its bias. A pilot study suggested that three characteristics of classificatory structure may be culturally specific: mutually exclusive categories, teleology in the sense of linear progression towards a goal, and hierarchy. To test and further explore these tentative findings, representative texts prominent in western (Greek/European-derived) culture have been digitized and encoded to track these three themes and related trends. This presentation will sample some of the preliminary results. The focus will be on Aristotle, the French Encyclopedists, and Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss Primitive Classification. In addition, it will look to the next phase of the project: a critique informed by postcolonial critical theory revealing the cultural specificity of the three themes in the context of Taoist feng shui and Indigenous cultures. Ideally, identifying cultural differences can lead to ideas for classificatory structures that might bridge cultures or at least serve them more appropriately. Related References: The Cultural Construction of Classification, URL: This presentation is long and available in video format only as Part 1 and Part 2 RealPlayer video files.

  • Reviews/Summaries - Summary of Faceted Classification - ; Review of a book, Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences,

    Library Classification Schemes

    Note: IRLS 401/501 students - Select ONE to become familiar with; Familiarity with DDC is mandatory. IRLS 695E students - background information about library classification schemes which aim to represent all human knowledge.

    1. Library of Congress Classification Scheme - URL: - Login Required
      Use Library of Congress Classification (LCCN) Outline - URL:
    2. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) - URL:
    3. Universal Decimal Classification - URL:
    4. National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification - URL:

    Vocabulary Control (Controlled Vocabularies)

    Note: IRLS 401/501 students - Select a subject of your choice and PICK ONE appropriate tool to become familiar with; Familiarity with LCSH is mandatory. IRLS 695E students - this lists a variety of thesauri, subject heading lists, gazeteers, taxonomies, which are all types of controlled vocabularies.  

    1. Library of Congress Subject Headings - (general subjects) - Access on your own through your local library or through workarounds on the Authority Files described below which are via CatExpress, DRA, or LC Catalog.
    2. Sears List of Subject Headings - (children's subjects) - Access on your own through your local library or through workarounds in CatExpress (subject headings used in MARC when from Sears are coded differently - see MARC Bibliographic Subject 6xx (below) for details).
    3. Thesaurus of Graphic Materials (TGM) - Access on your own and through workarounds in CatExpress (subject headings from the TGM when used in MARC bibliographic records are coded differently - see MARC Bibliographic Subject 6xx (below) for details)
    4. Art & Architecture Thesaurus - (art & architecture subjects) -
      Note: Getty's Vocabulary Control Program includes maintenance of three vocabularies: The AAT above, ULAN (Union List of Artist Names), and TGN (Thesaurus of Geographic Names).
    5. Medical Subject Headings - (medical subjects) - MARC Bibliographic records can also use and indicate MeSH records in 6xx; see MARC Authority Format for details.
    6. ERIC Thesaurus - (educational subjects) -
      Note: ERIC database is located here:
    7. GeoREF Thesaurus - (geography subjects) - Access through UA Sabio at - once inside use the Thesaurus link to search for example, the term Aquifers
    8. GEONet Names Server - (foreign place names) -
    9. Bibligraphic databases for other subjects: for example, INSPEC (has a Thesaurus for physics, astronomy subjects), Library Literature (does it have a thesaurus or just a controlled vocabulary?), GeoRef (has a thesaurus).
    10. ASIS Thesaurus for Information Science (fully online) -
    11. ASCE (Civil Engineering) Keyword List to the Civil Engineering Database -
    12. Controlled Vocabularies. URL:
    13.  A-Z of Thesauri. URL:  

    Authority Control (traditional - in libraries)

    Note: IRLS 401/501 students: Authority Control is for the advanced learner. IRLS 695E students - these are authority files for the library catalog, not for bibliographic databases (such as IS&TA) but, the concept of controlled vocabularies is the same. 

    1. LC Authorities:
    2. MARC 21 Authority Format:
    3. Name Authority File and Subject Authority File (SAF has the authority records for the Library of Congress Subject Headings; NAF has the names established by LC and other catalogers for personal, corporate names, uniform titles, conferences, etc.)
    4. MARC Bibliographic Subject 6xx tags indicate source from where heading (if LCSH, TGM, or other) was derived - ; see MARC Code Lists for terms to see a complete list of sources from where headings can come -
      Note: Three ways to search these files for this class: 1) CatExpress Authority; DRA (details below); and LC Catalog (on your own).
      DRA (a library automation system vendor) provides the LC Authority files for free searching on the web. The DRA LC Authority Search is located at
      • Use this catalog's examples of Subject Authority records by following this subject search hyperlink: - Use subject headings such as gender studies, art in america, automobiles and study the structure of the records retrieved.
      • Use this catalog also to search for authority records of names as titles. Try the title search Lecture Notes and then try Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
      • Use author search with the example, NATO.
    5. Library of Congress Catalog -
      Use Subject search

    Ontologies, Lexical Databases

    Note: IRLS 401/501 students; IRLS 695E students - ontologies and lexical databases are another type of vocabulary control, note item 5 which is an article that discusses similarities and differences between thesauri and ontologies. 

    1. What is an ontology?
    2. Stanford KSL Network Servers -
      Register to use and read about Ontolingua ontology
    3. SHOE - Semantic Search - SHOE Search Engine
      Must have IE, allow applets, and have good network connections
    4. WordNet - - an electronic lexical database (natural language processing).
    5. Similarities and Differences between thesauri and ontologies: Read this paper,

    Professional Links to People, Associations, Listservs, Etc. in the Field of Knowledge Organization

    1. Arlene G. Taylor's Homepage -
    2. Music Library Association -
    3. Society of American Archivists -
    4. American Library Assciation Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, ALA ALCTS -; ALCTS Committees are important:
    5. International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions, IFLA -; IFLA Acitivities & Services are important:, specifically, UBCIM, and IFLA publications.
    6. jESSE Listserv -
    7. AutoCat Listserv - international discussion forum for issues related to cataloging and authority control -

    Information Architecture

    Note: IRLS 695E students (Spring 2003) - Resources listed here are mostly from the text, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. However, rather than list all the resources in the book, I have selected some.

    1. Warner, Amy. The IA-LIS Connection. SIRLS Colloquium, University of Arizona, Tucson, 22 March 2002. Abstract: This SIRLS Colloquium (Spring 2002) presentation examines how the field of Library and Information Science has contributed to the new applied area of information architecture. The basic concepts and methods of librarianship and information science are examined and their applications to the effective design of web sites and corporate intranets. The focus of the LIS profession on user service and effective organization of large and small collections makes them ideal partners with other developers and designers in the web design process. Numerous examples will be provided along with an explanation of how LIS professionals can become part of this exciting new field. This is available in several formats: Microsoft Powerpoint slides; Realplayer streaming video available here; MPEG video files available here; RealPlayer and MBase Players needed for these video downloads
    2. The IAWiki. a collaborative discussion space for IA. - a wiki is a 'group knowledge/content management' tool since everybody can edit documents and thereby grow knowledge/contribute to knowledge growth. Try this one. It also provides a good introduction to Controlled Vocabularies.
    3. Argus Center for Information Architecture - - the first company in the area of IA which unfortunately closed in 2001 (in the famed dotcom bust) and hence they say site is no longer manitained. But Peter Morvile and Louis Rosenfeld (our text quthors) seem to continue to maintain it. Excellent set of resources.
    4. Usable Web - Usability engineering resources. This website by Keith Instone provides access to more than 1400 resources in this area. 
    5. AlertBox - Jakob Nielsen is the foremost usability expert and this is his weekly column,
    6. Andrew Dillon on IA - Dillon is the Dean of the LIS school at UT-Austin (our current SIRLS director Dr. Sheldon was former dean at UT-A). This is his column in the ASIS&T Bulletin.

    Thesaurus Construction

  • Note: IRLS 695E students - this course focuses on IA and thesauri. 

    1. NISO Standard Guidelines for the Construction, Format and Management of Monolingual thesauri. Download PDF format from URL:
    2. Publications on thesaurus construction and use. URL:
    3. Tim Craven's Introductory Tutorial on Thesaurus Construction. URL:
    4. Peter Morville's Building a Synonymous Search Index, URL: and How do you build a thesaurus? URL: and his Synonymous Search Index

    Thesaurus Construction Software

    Note: IRLS 695E students

    SIRLS does not as yet support any of the commercial software currently available for creating thesauri. However, here are some pointers:

    1. Tim Craven lists some freeware; download and check out TheW32 (OS: Windows 95/98 only) URL:
    2. Multi-Tes - We now have a site license which means you should be able to get this at no cost for use during this course (courtesy of Garry Forger (01/22/03), stay tuned for details). URL:

    II. Scholarly Communication

    Note: IRLS 589 students - I have tried to list here all the additional resources that may help in your study. SC includes: Bibliometrics, Electronic Resources, Grey Literature, Indexing & Abstracting databases, Informetrics, Intellectual Property, Publishing, Open Access, Patents, and Webmetrics.  Two other areas are also relevant:  Commons and Indigenous Knowlege (we have traditionally not considered folk knowledge and indigenous knowledge as SC but this is being re-visited).  The idea of the 'commons' is best described by Hardin in the Tragedy of the Commons. The idea to take away from the article is that some problems (and SC has many of these) have no technical solutions - instead they require "a fundamental extension in morality."

  • Browse the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, URL: (good SC bibliography)

  • Glossary from ISI, URL: (this is one of the best places to look for definitions of terms in the area of bibliometrics)

  • Garfield's library at Penn - (lots of articles and resources about and by scientific citation indexing originator Eugene Garfield)

  • Vaidhyanathan, S. The Future of Fair Use and the Corruption of Copyright. SIRLS Colloquium Presentation. Fall 2002.  Abstract: This talk traces the history of the development of fair use as a legal construct, and compares that legal evolution with the ways fair use works among communities of users. Considers the ways that efforts to install a new "technocopyright" significantly alters the concept of fair use in practical terms. Argues that users must make clear and compelling claims that fair use should remain strong and flexible, and that it should emerge as a positive penumbra of rights instead of a narrow set of defenses to accusations of infringement. Related References: A recent article by Dr. Vaidyanathan in The Chronicle of Higher Education, URL: v48/i47/47b00701.htm & his testimony at a Public Rulemaking Hearing, URL:
    Microsoft Powerpoint slides of Dr. Vaidhyanathan's talk are available here; an Adobe version of the presentation may be downloaded from here; Loren Ito Hardenbergh (SIRLS student) shared a summary of the talk which is available here; Realplayer video files are here

  • Bibliographic Management Software:
  • All three products below are owned by Thompson/ISI ResearchSoft (ISI Indexes producer)

    Bibliographic Databases (LIS Discipline-oriented Indexing & Abstracting Services):
    Bibliometrics (& social science data sets):
  • Social Science Research Network ;
  • Bibliometrics Timetable ;
  • BibNet: A Bibliography Network Project ;
  • BIRD ;
  • BIBEXCEL toolkit ;

    Citation Indexes:

  • Web of Science - ISI Indexes ;
  • ResearchIndex a.k.a CiteSeer - this uses 'autonomous citation indexing' to build its citation indexes 
    Collections, Libraries, Archives, Repositories:
  • Computing and Information Technology Interactive Digital Library ;
  • DBLP Computer Science Bibliography Server ; (sometimes called a bibliography engine)
  • DLIST - ;
  • Digital Library of the Commons - ;
  • Documents in Information Science ;
  • The Internet Archive ;
  • Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations ;  
  • University of California Digital Repositories (check eScholarship repository) - 
  • Dpace - MIT's institutional repository -

    Eprints Archives:

  • E-prints ;
  • Harnad E-Print Archive ;

    Open Archives:

  • my.OAI ;
  • Open Citation project ;
  • Open Archives Initiative ;
  • Intellectual Property:
  • Take a crash course in Intellectual Property and then understand UA's intellectual property guidelines

  • Other resources: USPTO | TEAS | Trademark class | TESS

  • LIS journals copyright policies (work in progress was begun by SIRLS studet Bill Hornbaker and DLIST IP Intern) - (follow the links in Section 4:  Copyright Agreements of LIS Journals).

  • Issues in Scholarly Communication:

  • New journal publishing models - Treloar, Applying Hypermedia toJournal Publishing -
  • Hitchock, Steve - Perspectives in Publishing, - try his PhD project, PeP
  • ARL: Issues in Scholarly Communication
  • Kaufman, Scholarly Communication Issues (2002).  URL:


  • Keep Up with News & Movements to free scholarship, build open access intellectual commons, etc.

  • Open Content

  • Philosophy Scholar Peter Suber's Free Online Scholarship - (Suber, Peter. How the Internet is Transforming Scholarly Research & Publication).  Peter recommends that you start with his blog, - this is certainly more fun to consider the role of blogs in SC.

  • Millionaire George Soros funded Budapest Open Archives Initiatives -

  • Stanford Law Professor Lawence Lessig's Creative Commons  -

  • Australian Librarian Guy Aron's Eprint Blog -

  • Academic Links Mining Database
  • An Atlas of Cyberspaces - - this shows how communication and other processes and structures (Internet nodes) can be studied and visualized. 
  • Information Visualization resources - - this and the atlas above are not truly SC, but for those who liked Connections (James Burke, Connections shows on TV/DVD) thinks of this as a playground while you figure the connections out. Enjoy!


  • Prestige Factor - thanks to Paul Bracke for this!
  • Web Citation Index - new product due in 2005

    III. LIS - General Purpose References and Tools

  • Note: In this section I have tried to point you to a few resources on the WWW that may be useful to build your mental map of information and knowledge organization activities and LIS.

  • Cataloger's Reference Shelf - - List of descriptive and subject cataloging manuals, principles, and tools used in Library Cataloging.
  • Uses of Metadata & Vocabularies - Tim Berners-Lee's article in Scientific American about the Semantic Web -
  • Automatic Metadata Creation Tools -
  • How do users think of knowledge? What are knowledge structures? - The constuctivist view in education - and an associated research study may provide a preliminary understanding -
  • (Philosophical Digression) The Crisis of the Structures of Knowledge; How Many Ways May We Know? and Where do we go from here?  
  • Information Seeking Behaviors Bibliography -
  • Information Retrieval - background about this important sub-discipline of LIS that is studied also by Computer Science scholars is available from this text. Information Retrieval by C. J. van Rijsbergen. Full-text online. URL:
  • New types of reference tools - XRefer - and Atomica -
  • New 'genres' - wikis - see Wikipedia - ; blogs - see the WebMonkey's one,
  • Incidentally, the WebMonkey How To Library (tutorials) are my favorite when I need to learn how to do something for the web (html tutorials, web-accessible databases, etc.) -
  • Learn the Net - - is another good source for developing web skills; it's available in other languages besides English (Spanish, French, Italian). Test your Net IQ by taking their quiz,


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    © Copyright 2005 Anita S. Coleman.
    Last update: 8/15/2005; 11:50:00 PM.