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 126 of the Westchester graduate campus of LIU, between 16:45 and 18:45. The instructor will be there shortly after 12:00. Students are welcome to join the instructor for a quick dinner after class.

Class details

2010–01–20 16:45 to 18:45 introduction to the course and instructor background
2010–01–27 16:45 to 18:45 FRBR
2010–02–03 16:45 to 18:45 relational databases
2010–02–10 16:45 to 18:45 no class
2010–02–17 16:45 to 18:45 characters
2010–02–24 16:45 to 18:45 documents and records
2010–03–03 16:45 to 18:45 XML based metadata
2010–03–10 16:45 to 18:45 identifiers, Dublin Core and RDF
2010–03–17 16:45 to 18:45 AACR description 1
2010–03–24 16:45 to 18:45 AACR description 2
2010–03–31 16:45 to 18:45 no class
2010–04–07 16:45 to 18:45 AACR Access points: name
2010–04–15 16:45 to 18:45 Library of Congress Subject Headings
2010–04–21 16:45 to 18:45 Library of Congress Classification
2010–04–28 16:45 to 18:45 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 10/19 of the assessment. Each student will be expected to set up a personal library with at least five different items cataloged. The result of this will constitute 3/19 of the grade. The remaining 6/19 is based on a essay on a topic related to the course contents. The topic of the essay needs to be agreed with the instructor.

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.

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

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 it's focus is too narrow 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 two 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.

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

Finally, Thomas Krichel has made up some home grown resources.

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