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


2004 - Knowledge Structures Toolbox


The original Knowledge Structures Toolbox is available from here, and can be browsed for background information. The 2005 update is currently the Metadata and Cataloging Education Resources Web Clearinghouse.

The 2004 KS Toolbox has been completely re-done for Fall 2004.  Student comments reveal that it is one of the most useful sources of information in the SIRLS introductory and required Organization of Information course and hence I have tried to improve it further based on student feedback.

Content and Scope: Knowledge organization includes (in alphabetical order) the following areas of study:  Bibliography, Cataloging, Classification, Controlled Vocabularies, Databases, Indexing, Metadata, Natural Language Processing, Ontologies. Knowledge representation, knowledge management, knowledge visualization can also be considered a part of knowledge organization.

Structure and Organization: I am now experimenting with a very different organizational structure for the Toolbox and one that makes the Toolbox a complementary rather than a stand-alone tool.  The Toolbox is meant to be used in conjunction with Arlene Taylor's The Organization of Information, 2nd edition and my syllabus for IRLS 401/501. Explanatory notes are in italics. 

Self-Assessment: I have found very few online resources that can be used as interactive tests, pre-test or post-test. The Library Science Jeopardy Game - - is one that you can start off with and end with.  Be aware that it does NOT limit itself to organization of information but covers other areas too.

I. Knowledge Structures

Examples of knowledge structures:

1. Semantic Networks -

This site describes semantic networks which are one form of knowledge structure; semantic networks embody the concepts, relationships, and instances that people carry around in their own heads.

2.  Classification schemes - Universal Decimal Classification -

This site shows the knowledge structure in the humanities as detailed in the Universal Decimal Classification scheme.

3.  Thesauri

A thesaurus is also another type of knowledge structure.  A thesaurus showing the knowledge organization for Education is ERIC - (follow the Thesaurus hyperlink on top of page).  The ASIST Thesaurus for Information Science is a thesaurus for our discipline -

II.  Information Environments

Social and cultural heritage institutions that collect and preserve information and artifacts:  Archives, Art Galleies, Libraries, Museums. Zoos (as Life of Pi informs us) are also another type of cultural institution.

A wide variety of other information environments exist.  Business and legal institutions collect and preserve laws and important records through Governments, Offices (Data processing centers), Learned societies, Churches, etc.  Digital information environments (Internet/WWW, Digital Libraries, Digital Repositories) are also becoming more common. 

III.  Information Discovery and Retrieval Tools

1. Library catalogs (Online public access catalogs - OPACs) -

"lib-web-cats is a directory of libraries worldwide. While the majority of the current listings are in North America, the numbers of libraries represented in other parts of the globe is growing. Each listing includes links to the library's website and online catalog. Other information available includes the geographic location, address, library type, current and previous library automation systems used, and the size of the library's collection."

2. Collections (of Art Galleries) -

AMICO, Art Museum Image Consortium, is a not-for-profit organization of institutions with collections of art and they collaborate to enable the educational use of online multimedia. The collections of AMICO members (art galleries and museums) are searchable through the AMICO library.  Try searching their Thumbnail Catalog.  If you prefer to go to the individual galleries listed above, you will notice that art galleries/museums' "collections" are searchable. Try searching the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum,

3.  Internet Search Engines and Directories - Google,  and Yahoo!,

4.  Bibliographic Databases (a.k.a. Indexes) - Bibliographic databases are also known as Abstracting and Indexing databases or more simply as Indexes.  How is an indexing database different from a library catalog? Generally, indexing databases index journal articles and conference proceedings while library catalogs index/catalog books and journals but not their contents.  Databases for LIS available from UA Library (make sure you have VPN) are:

Library and Information Science Abstracts -

Library Literature -

5.  Finding Aids - Online Archive of California - and EAD Finding Aids from the Library of Congress -

6.  Digital Libraries - While the definition of digital libraries is still evolving, there does seem to be emerging consensus that everything in a digital library must be accessible at the fingertips.  The Perseus Digital Library - - is a digital library for the humanities.  The International Childrens Digital Library - - tries to organize children's books.  The National Science Digital Library - is an educational digital library for all of the sciences just like DLESE - is a Digital Library for Earth System Education.  American Memory - - from the Library of Congress is yet another type of digital library.  California Digital Library - - provides a single point of access for all of the digital collections of the University of California system. The Online Books Page -  - be considered another sort of digital library.  Alexandria Digital Library - - has "georeferenced" collections.

7.  Digital Repositories - Again, like the word library, the word repositories has many meanings.  Our focus is two types of repositories - scholarship repositories and data repositories.  Scholarship repositories try to collect all published literature so as to build an "intellectual commons" (opening access to published research literature).  Data repositories are mostly collections of data (sensor data, satellite data, etc.).  Examples of scholarship repositories are: ArXiv - (physics repository) and DLIST - (LIS archive).  An example of a data repository is: Real Time Data (water/stream) for the Nation - - from the USGS.

8.  Bibliographies - The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies, and the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography,, are oft-cited examples of evolutionalary electronic bibliographies (webliographies?). C18-L, Resources for 18th century studies across the disciplines - - is a very interesting one as the bibliographer(s) tries to gather resources from many different disciplines on this topic. National Library of Medicine makes bibliographies in Medicine available -   US Congressional Bibliographies - - appear to be slightly different in that they include and list meetings held by Congressional committees.   Traditional Author Bibliographies are collected here - - browse your fovorite author or my favorite Regency Romance author's list of writings, by following the link for Georgette Heyer. An interesting set of subject or topical bibliographies are the Film Bibliographies, at University of California at Berkeley. Chronological and Alphabetical bibliographies on Lunacy - - should round out the education on types of bibliographies. 

9.  Indexes - examples and types of indexes are too numerous to cover comprehensively here.  Samples of back of the book indexes  -  A capstone paper by a graduate student provides a thorough introduction to indexing,

Metadata Standards

Understanding Metadata - - and Understanding MARC Bibliographic - - are two of the full-text resources that explain metadata and the MARC bibliographic standard very well. DC, MARC (encoding) + AACR2r (content) are mandatory standards and codes for introductory study. 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 just metadata frameworks that Digital Libraries use. 

Crosswalks - Metadata Mappings

Getty's Metadata Standards Crosswalks - - is a good reference to start with.

Michael Day at the UK Office of Library and Information Networking (UKOLN) has a web page that lists a number of Mappinfs between Metadata Formats - - this page has not been updated since 2002.

Alexandria Digital Library maintains crosswalks between MARC and FGDC -

Library of Congress issued the Dublin Core/MARC/GILS Crosswalk - - in 2003. BTW, GILS is dying (being phased out).

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 Z39.19-2003)
      Can get Full-Text of this standard from NISO - (just click on pdf version and give information or just cliick download on form)
  • 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.


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. Classifying is also at the basis of metadata and controlled vocabularies.   

  • 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

    1. Library of Congress Classification Scheme - URL: - Login Required
      Use Library of Congress Classification (LCCN) Outline - URL:
    2. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) - URL: - Access WebDewey (the whole DDC online) through OCLC [Login Required]
    3. Universal Decimal Classification - URL:
    4. National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification - URL:

    Controlled Vocabularies(Vocabulary Control)

    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)

    Authority Control is for the advanced learner. These are authority files for the library catalog, not for bibliographic databases (such as LISA or Library Literature) but, the concept of controlled vocabularies (controlling terms at the input stage of cataloging/indexing, 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

    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

    1. NISO Standard Guidelines for the Construction, Format and Management of Monolingual thesauri. Download the 2003 version in 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

    SIRLS does not as yet support any of the commercial software currently available for creating thesauri. However, here are two resources for using a computer to create a thesaurus manually:

    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:

    General Purpose References and Tools in LIS

    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:
  • Information Skills Glossary -
  • 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,

  • Do your own research by using bibliographic databases (LIS Discipline-oriented Indexing & Abstracting Services):
  • Take a crash course in Intellectual Property and then look at other resources: USPTO | TEAS | Trademark class | TESS

  • If you didn't play it before or didn't do as well as you wanted, play now, The Library Science Jeopardy Game -  

    Conclusion: The LIS - Organization of Information, Information Architecture, Knowledge Management Connection OR The Relevance of 401/501

  • Knowledge Management Connection - makes a link between LIS and KM, (read especially their then follow the Taxonomies, thesauri, etc. hyperlink at bottom.
  •  Information Architecture Glossary - - notice how many of the terms have similar definitions to Taylor.

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    © Copyright 2005 Anita S. Coleman.
    Last update: 9/21/2005; 6:30:56 PM.