Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Invitation: Classification & Authority Control - Lisbon 29-30 October 2015

The International UDC Seminar 2015 entitled "Classification & Authority Control: Expanding Resource Discovery" will take place in The National Library of Portugal in Lisbon, on 29-30 October 2015.
The objective of the conference is to explore issues in managing classification vocabulary in and between information systems. Particular emphasis will be on the possibilities for exploiting and sharing subject authority data in the linked data environment.
Speakers include Michael Buckland, Barbara Tillett, Dagobert Soergel, Rebecca Green, Maja Žumer & Marcia Zeng, Nuno Freire, Maria Inês Cordeiro, Andrea Scharnhorst & Richard Smiraglia, Wolfram Sperber, Koraljka Golub, Claudio Gnoli, Marie Balikova, Victoria Francu.
To learn more about conference programme and to register go to the conference website.
Proceedings are published by Ergon.

Venue:  National Library of Portugal, Campo Grande 83, Lisbon
Conference fee: € 250 (students  210)
Organizer: UDC Consortium and the National Library of Portugal.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Bibliography of the British Technology Index

BTI bibliography compiled by Keiichi Kawamura was published by Jusonbo Co. Ltd. (Tokyo).
ISBN: 978-4-88367-250-9

"This bibliography lists about 320 references to BTI ranging from 1958 to the present. Eight languages are concerned with the bibliography: English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish. Every item has an English abstract or annotation. Items are arranged in systematic order, and cross-references among related items as well as author and language indexes complement the systematic arrangement. A title list of E.J. Coates’ BTI-related works arranged in chronological order is appended."

From the Preface:
"BTI was commenced by the Library Association (LA), London, in February 1962. It was a monthly and annual subject guide to articles in about 400 British technical journals.
BTI introduced new techniques which differed from those traditionally used. Societies of professional indexers regarded BTI as ‘an indexing masterpiece’ in the field of science and technology, and Coates was called ‘the genius of subject index.’ His main book was reissued by the same publisher in 1988 at an interval of 28 years. I think that it is time to reappraise BTI as a global standard. The bibliography is compiled for this purpose." (Keiichi Kawamura, 18th June 2015).


Preface and acknowledgements
Systematic arrangement
00 “Subject catalogues: headings and structure”
10 Prenatal stage and early years of BTI
20 Aspects of BTI
30 Indexing system
40 Computerization
50 User-oriented education and training
60 User study and laboratory evaluation
70 Events following the resignation of the first editor
80 Applications of BTI system including trials and discussions
90 References made to BTI in connection with Ranganathan and CRG
Author index
Language index
Appendix: Title list of Coates’ BTI-related works arranged in chronological order

Friday, 29 May 2015

SEMANTiCS 2015 conference

The Semantic Web Company (SWC) has announced the 11th International Conference on Semantic Systems - SEMANTiCS 2015 - to be held in Vienna, September 15-17, 2015. Calls are now open for research papers, industry presentations, posters and demos. More information is available on the conference web site.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Macmillan Science and Education Publish RDF Ontologies

Macmillan Science and Education have published their RDF ontologies used for content publishing.

They are sharing these in order to contribute to the wider linked data community and to provide a public reference for their data models.

"This May 2015 release further extends the number and size of our published data models. We've added two more domain models: relations and review-states. We've linked our subjects domain model to the NLM MeSH RDF Linked Data (beta) and provided Bio2RDF links as well. We've also displayed instance data for all of the domain models. On top of that we've grown the number of terms from our Core Ontology by more than 50% – see the bar chart below. And we've improved navigation on the core and domain model pages."

See the site for further information.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Standards, Interoperability and Dewey

Next time the Internet comes crashing down about your ears, spare a thought for the value of standards, starting with TCP/IP and HTTP. When you consider how the superhighway relies on precise implementation of an immense jigsaw of protocols and standards, it’s a miracle we ever find anything. But while we can’t get along without them, standards are also a pain. They push you into one-size-fits-all and clip the wings of dizzy free-fliers.

At ISKO-UK’s Great Debate [1] last February, the international standard ISO 25964 [2] collected a lot of flak from some speakers who wanted their thesauri to escape control, and conversely from others who urged greater discipline, in the style of an ontology. So it was refreshing to attend EDUG’s April workshop [3], where the ISO 25964 guidance on mapping received a grateful welcome.

EDUG is the European Dewey User Group, whose membership includes a great many national libraries and major university libraries. Their patrons want unfettered and uncluttered access, not just to the resources held locally, but to all the collections you can reach through the Internet. Given the multiplicity of different thesauri, subject headings and classification schemes used to index and/or classify the original material, and given the shrinking budgets for re-classifying new acquisitions, mappings between the various vocabularies have been seen as part of the solution.

But mappings are a challenge! Between one thesaurus and another, cases of exact equivalence between concepts are the exception not the rule. Between a thesaurus and a classification scheme there’s an additional complication – the precoordination built into most classes. Thesaurus concepts designed for postcoordinate indexing do not easily map to or from classmarks, originally developed for arranging books on shelves.

While mapping has no easy answers, that does not mean we should give up trying. As Grete Seland quoted from Piet Hein:
Problems worthy of attack
Prove their worth by hitting back.

ISO 25964 sets out basic guidelines, starting with thesauri and reaching part of the way towards classification schemes and other types of Knowledge Organization System (KOS). For some years members of EDUG have been drawing upon these guidelines in projects such as MACS [4], Criss-Cross [5], Coli-conc [6], and a project to map the Norwegian thesaurus Humord to Dewey. Some are looking towards Semantic Web applications; others are simply trying to speed up cataloguing of resources already classified or indexed by a different KOS. In the EDUG forum a big concern is to build all the accumulated knowledge guidance into WebDewey [7].

This workshop in Naples focused specifically on developing recommendations for best practice when mapping to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Standards were greatly in demand.  Speakers pointed out the limitations of both ISO 25964 and SKOS [8] in this context, but the general conclusion was to build on and extend these standards rather than casting them aside. Detailed conclusions of the four working groups are currently in discussion, and should be published on the website [3] by the end of June 2015.

So come back standards, all is forgiven… for the meantime. And as for the teams developing mappings to Dewey, even when supported by standards, wish them fortitude and a jar of paracetamol as they grapple with the intellectual challenges of mapping to a pre-coordinated scheme.



Friday, 27 February 2015

Thesaurus Debate needs to move on

Surprise, surprise - last Thursday's debate on this proposition was a pushover for the opposition. To defeat any argument of the form “XXX has no place in YYY”, all you have to provide is one counter-example.
Just for starters:
  •  The UK Data Archive, powered by the HASSET thesaurus
  • The FAO’s AGRIS database, searchable using AGROVOC, and
  •  EUROVOC, used for searching publications of the EU institutions and others

were among 11 such examples that Leonard Will managed to cram on to one slide. He could have gone on to cite dozens more cases where a thesaurus provides sophisticated and indispensable search capabilities.
The “expert witness” Philip Carlisle backed him up by describing the nine vocabularies and related services that English Heritage built and maintains for the heritage community. Contributions from the floor drew attention to the power of a thesaurus to cross language boundaries, not to mention image searching, where indexing with a controlled vocabulary still outperforms all the other methods.  
But simply overthrowing the proposition misses the point – the role of the thesaurus in modern Information retrieval has shrunk from what it once was. The high development and maintenance costs of an extensive controlled vocabulary deter most potential implementers. Most users simply do not want to know about such a complicated-looking beast, and so the shy thesaurus needs to perform discreetly but cost-effectively behind the scenes. Given a discerning team of developers, curators, IT support staff and indexers, this sophisticated tool can and should function interoperably alongside statistical algorithms, NLP techniques, data mining, clustering, latent semantic indexing. linked data, etc. Networking and collaboration, not rivalry, are the future.
As the professional body that has grown up around classification, indexing, use of thesauri and other knowledge organization systems, ISKO has a mandate to mark out that future. Follow-up activities could usefully explore:
  •           The contexts in which the thesaurus is or is not a useful tool;
  •           how to choose between a thesaurus and another type of knowledge organization system;
  •           how to integrate a thesaurus with the other components of a modern information retrieval system;
  •           how to adapt a standard thesaurus to the needs of special contexts;
  •           features of the software needed for thesaurus management.

The knowledge organizer with a grasp of these topics is ideally placed to develop the hybrid vocabulary structures (e.g. a layer of thesaurus model hooked on to upper level ontologies and coated with taxonomy features) needed in today’s networked environments.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Call for Papers - International UDC Seminar 2015: CLASSIFICATION AND AUTHORITY CONTROL: Expanding Resource Discovery

DATE: 29-30 October 2015
VENUE: National Library of Portugal
Campo Grande 83
Lisbon, Portugal

Linked data practices and techniques have opened new possibilities in exploiting controlled vocabularies and improving resource discovery. Authority data held in library systems, including classification schemes find new ways of expanding its potential as shared knowledge structures across the linked data environment.

The objective of this conference is to explore such a potential, expanding the value and use of classification as authority controlled vocabulary, from the local perspective to the global environment.

We invite experts in authority control, classification schemes and linked data to provide overviews, illustrations and analysis of classification data management and exploitation. Contributions are welcome on high quality, innovative research and practice on the following topics:

•    Classification as a component of subject authority control
•    Classification authority data formats and modeling
•    Classification and multilingual subject access
•    Sharing classification data from authority files
•    Classification data in the open linked data context


Two kinds of contributions are invited: conference papers and posters. Authors should submit a paper proposal in the form of an extended abstract (1000-1200 words, including references, for papers; and 500-600 words for posters). The submission form is provided on the conference website.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Programme Committee consisting of an international panel of experts. Each submission will undergo a blind review by at least three reviewers.

The Conference proceedings will be published by Ergon Verlag and will be distributed at the conference.


    28 February 2015    Paper proposal submission deadline
    23 March 2015    Notification of acceptance & paper submission instructions
    15 May 2015 Papers submission (camera ready copy)

ORGANIZER: Classification & Authority Control: Expanding Resource Discovery is the fifth biennial conference in a series of International UDC Seminars organized by the UDC Consortium (UDCC). UDCC is a not-for-profit organization, based in The Hague, established to maintain and distribute the Universal Decimal Classification and to support its use and development. UDC is one of the most widely used knowledge organization systems in the bibliographic domain.