Introduction to Knowledge Organization


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Course Description

This course does not provide an introduction to the organization of knowledge. It introduces the organization of information instead. We cover the very basics organization of information as practiced in libraries. This is a type of activity basically known as cataloging. We only look at the basic groundwork of cataloging. We look at the background of the activity. We also consider the wider world is doing with respect to organizing information. Here we place particular emphasis on activities that have connections to the world wide web.

Course objectives

After taking this course the students


There are no formal prerequisites for this course.


Thomas Krichel
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548–1300
work phone: +1–(516)299–2843

Private contact details may be obtained from the online CV.

Class structure

Classes will be held in room 223 or in the computer lab 1 of the Brentwood graduate campus of LIU, between 16:20 and 18:10. The instructor will be in the Palmer School office, number 212, shortly after 12:00 and until 19:10.

Class details

and more sound cataloging
2010–09–08 16:20 to 18:10 no class
2010–09–15 16:20 to 18:10 introduction to the course
2010–09–22 16:20 to 18:10 the entity-relationship model
2010–09–29 16:20 to 18:10 FRBR
2010–10–06 16:20 to 18:10 numbers and characters
2010–10–13 16:20 to 18:10 the MARC leader and directory and copy catalaging on our koha installation
2010–10–20 16:20 to 18:10 the MARC control fields
2010–10–27 16:20 to 18:10 MARC code and number fields and AAAR2 description I
2010–11–03 16:20 to 18:10 XML based metadata esp. MARC XML and AAAR2 description II
2010–11–10 16:20 to 18:10 Introduction to access points and sound cataloging exercise
2010–11–24 16:20 to 18:10 Library of Congress Subject Headings I
2010–11–24 10:00 to 15:00 cataloging surgery
2010–12–01 16:20 to 18:10 no class
2010–12–08 16:20 to 18:10 Library of Congress Subject Headings II
2010–12–15 16:20 to 18:10 Library of Congress Classification
2010–12–22 16:20 to 18:10 conclusions

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There is no required textbook for this course. The instructor will try to photocopy relevant materials, or refer you to the home grown resources.


Before each class except the first and second, there will be a quiz on the issued covered in the previous class. The average of all the quiz results will count for 12/20 of the assessment. There are two more assignments, the and the original catalog record exercise. In the copy cataloging assignment each student will be expected to set up a personal library with at least five different copy-cataloged items. The student writes a brief paper about the copy-cataloging experience, to be handed in by the 8th of December. This paper should be no longer than 3 pages. This will count for 4/20. The remaining 4/20 are based on the composition of an original cataloging record for which no copy-cataloging record could be found. In the original catalog record assignment, the students writes a paper about the creation of the cataloging record, again about three pages long, justifying the decisions taken.

Students who do badly in the quizzes may choose to do on optional essay on a topic suggested by them and approved by the instructor. That is worth an extra 10 points. It has to be handed in at the last class meeting.

Mailing list

There is a mailing list for the course at All students are encouraged to subscribe. As a rule, answers to email sent to the instructor will be copied to the list. There are exceptions to this rule


There is no required textbook for this course. The instructor does not like students to spend money on textbooks. Therefore, the only text that he would want people to require he typed it into a web page.

An important documnet that we use is IFLA (2008) known as FRBR.

The Library of Congress provide excellent training materials. Two that we use are Basic Subject Cataloging Using LCSH, and Fundamentals of Library of Congress Classification.

The Library of Congress provide excellent training materials. Two that we use are Basic Subject Cataloging Using LCSH, and Fundamentals of Library of Congress Classification. They also provide a tutorial "Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging". But more importantly, they provide some reference guides on the web. We use the MARC21 bibliographic format and the US National Level Full and Minimal Requirements for MARC records.

To keep up to date on wide issues, in cataloging, Planet Cataloging is an interesting source. It's automatically-generated aggregation of blogs related to cataloging and metadata designed and maintained by Jennifer W. Baxmeyer and Kevin S. Clarke.

There are several mailing lists dedicated to cataloging. AutoCat is the most widely read and active. There are smaller list RDA-L that deals with RDA. Finally, there is the classweb-users mailing list for users of the LoC's classification web.

Taylor and Joudrey (2009) is probably the most widely used textbook. It is a poorly organized bird's eye view. What they cover is so broad that one does neither get a basic understanding nor a cerebral challenge.

Chan (2007) is better organized, but focuses narrowly on cataloging. When the author strays away from narrow cataloging it becomes clear that her knowledge about related topics is limited.

Gorman (2004) is an admirable piece of work. It does an excellent job at detailing AARC rules in an easy-to-understand, no nonsense way. It does not providing a rationale.

To understand more of the logic behind cataloging, Svenonius (2000) promises to be of some use. However, it is an extreme snorefest, a wonderful help for a sleepless night.

There are three useful mailing lists. For traditional cataloging, the main list is AutoCat For thought-provoking expert reflection on the future of library catalogs sign up to the NGC4LIB mailing list.

There are some research articles that students interested in expanding their horizons might want to consider. Chen (1976) is the classic reference about the entity-relationship model. Thomale (2010) illuminates the MARC format.

The students also have access to the Library of Congress's classification web.

Finally, the instructor has made up some home grown resources.

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