Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of conference paper submissions

The Conference Review Panel have been busy reviewing submissions of proposals of papers and posters for the forthcoming ISKO UK 2011 Conference. The proposals cover a huge range of fascinating topics, from analyses of broad cultural issues to technical descriptions of metadata projects and software developments. A noticeable trend is the huge amount of innovation that is taking place in knowledge organisation, encompassing academic research into sophisticated semantic systems as well as practical case studies in how new technology can help professionals. However, it is also heartening to see serious reflection and assessment of topics that only a few years ago were at the cutting edge. This combination of “pace layers” – rapid innovation along with thoughtful analysis – illustrates the richness of the knowledge organisation field and the benefits of strong contacts between the research and practitioner communities.

The key themes of the conference:

  • Classification, information retrieval
  • Semantics and the Web
  • Putting the user first
  • Evaluation and testing
  • Society, networking and collaboration
  • Models and structure

have all been well represented, which will make for a balanced and highly informative event.

It is also pleasing to see the number of proposals from people based outside the UK and the diversity of their interests and experiences. This is surely fitting for a conference held in honour of Professor Brian C Vickery, whose intellect and interests ranged far and wide.

The authors of successful proposals will be informed by 1st February 2011.

Monday, 22 November 2010

CFP: Classification & Ontology, 19-20 September, The Hague

International UDC Seminar 2011
Formal Approaches and Access to Knowledge

VENUE: The Hague, National Library of the Netherlands
DATE: 19-20 September 2011

The difference between bibliographic knowledge classifications and ontologies resides in their particular purpose/function, and levels of formality. However, they are both based on observation and reasoning (ontological analysis) and share some structural principles and elements.

Automatic processing of knowledge classifications is significant whenever there is a need to support intuitive services. For instance, ontology-like representations of classifications are recognized as potentially important facilitators in creating a web of linked data (the semantic web).

The objective of the conference is to promote collaboration and exchange of expertise between the bibliographic, the semantic web and the AI domains.

Papers are now invited covering the following topics:
  • Modelling and representation of knowledge classifications
  • Standards and solutions for innovative and high-quality classification data processing
  • Applications and implementations of classification structures as ontologies
  • Theoretical considerations of the role of knowledge classifications

Read call for papers more at the conference website or download the print version (pdf).

Contributions may include conference papers and posters. Authors should submit a proposal in the form of an extended abstract (1000-1200 words including references, for papers, and 500-600 words for posters).

    30 Jan 2011 Paper proposal submission deadline
    28 Feb 2011 Notification of acceptance
    01 Apr 2011 Paper submission
Conference proceedings will be published by Ergon Verlag and will be distributed at the conference.

ORGANIZER: Classification & Ontology is the third biennial conference in a series of UDC Seminars organized by the Universal Decimal Classification Consortium (UDC Consortium) and hosted by Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The National Library of Netherlands).

Monday, 15 November 2010

Event Report - Legal Know-How: Organization and Semantic Analysis

ISKO UK afternoon event Legal Know-How: Organization and Semantic Analysis took place on Wednesday 10 November 2010 at University College London.

This was yet another successful ISKO UK event exploring the topic of knowledge and information organization practices in specilised domains. There were over 80 participants in attendance. Speakers included legal knowledge specialists from 3Kites Consulting, Pinsent Masons, Clifford Chance, Linklaters LLP, Tikit and University of Liverpool.

The full programme and presentation slides are available from the event website. Audio recordings will be published shortly on the same address.

Read a more detailed account of the talks in Fran Alexander's review.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Linked Data Conference - a very successful event

Linked Data: the future of knowledge organization on the Web

By Fran Alexander

ISKO UK events consistently manage to cram in about twice as much content as seems possible given the time. With enough material for at least a two-day conference, no fewer than nine speakers and two poster presenters made for a packed day that provided a pleasing mix of fine technical detail, practical advice, and some context-setting explanations of the evolution of Linked Data.

Keynote address - Government Linked Data: A Tipping Point for the Semantic Web
Professor Nigel Shadbolt gave the keynote address, pointing out that local government data is as useful and interesting as national data. He offered a rundown of the history of the Semantic Web, starting with the classic “layer cake” picture that had been prevalent some years ago, explaining that a lot of the research into Artificial Intelligence (AI) – natural language processing, entity extraction, intelligent reasoning over distributed databases – was very interesting but not particularly pragmatic. Much discussion was devoted to detailed technological issues for a highly specialised community. In the meantime, Linked Data emerged as a simpler, easier approach based on a few founding principles – resources should have a unique derefenceable identifier, be expressed in open standards formats, and be interlinked.
Linked Data is now becoming established and is fractioning out into separate areas, with certain core nodes in various sectors being heavily linked. Although many questions remain about the differences between the “web of documents” and the “web of things”, the release of UK government data in Linked Data format should be seen as a gift for the web community. When trying to get Linked Data principles adopted in organisations, explaining to people the value of the decentralised model of the web is important.
Releasing government Linked Data also shifts responsibility for the use and interpretation of data away from the government to individual users. This can circumvent a lot of bureaucracy. For example, the Department of Transport held a lot of statistics about bicycle accidents, but it was only when this data was released that someone turned it into a map and started providing “safe route” information and various related apps aimed at cyclists. The Treasury was reluctant to release its COINS database, because it felt it was confusingly structured and hard to interpret, but once released people built navigation interfaces for it that are now being used by the Treasury itself. The release of data depended on the adoption of an open licence. The principle is if you publish, the apps will come!
Public data is objective, factual, non-personal – accident rates, student degree numbers, etc. – and can be used to measure public service delivery. This sort of data is a straightforward proposition to release, but private data raises more difficult questions about privacy and trust. How much sharing of personal data is to the citizen’s benefit? To the government’s benefit? Should individuals be responsible for their own data, such as medical records? What role should the government play?
One of a number of Linked Data principles is that public bodies should maintain and publish inventories of their data holdings. It is important that we consider this data seriously, because we are not just assigning URIs to roads, streets, buildings, etc., we are building the digital infrastructure of the nation.

SKOS and Linked Data
Antoine Isaac talked about SKOS and Linked Data, from the perspective of the “web of culture data”. He explained that for many large cultural repositories, converting their classification schemes into ontologies is not practical due to the huge volumes of data involved. However, much rich semantic information can be extracted without the need for a fully formalised ontology system. SKOS enables classification data to be shared in a simple way that permits sharing of thesauruses and grouping of items by concept. It can also be a useful way of expressing annotations to documentation.
It is extensible, so core complex expressions can be included, but it has some basic constraints. For example, only one term can be the preferred term, broader and narrower are assumed to be inverse relationships (which makes it easier to complete a graph), and although this is a limitation in some ways, in other ways it means that classifications can be expressed with minimum semantic commitment. SKOS is not intended to draw inferences beyond what is present in the core data.
It is a web-oriented straightforward way of sharing content and descriptions and permits mapping across repositories (e.g. The MACS Project).
The most interesting applications are the ones that cross-contextualise, so more work needs to be done to mix automatic and manual mapping methods

The Linked Data Journey

Richard Wallis of Talis gave an overview of his Linked Data journey, which began some 40 years ago when cataloguers and librarians managed rich data sets almost entirely manually. He has seen many innovators in the semantic field disappear, but some have persisted. Semantic technology has a reputation for being really wonderful until you add the second user, so it is important to make sure everything you do is scalable in the real world.
The limitations of the web at present are that documents are linked with unqualified links. It is very hard for machines to make any sense of the links without undertaking the vast amounts of work that Google has done, and even then Google connections are only speculative. There are other issues – for example, there are no negative links on the web, so a pressure group can’t link to the websites of organisations they are objecting to, because linking will only serve to boost traffic and enhance the reputation of the very organisations they are opposing.
Linked Data standards represent a very pragmatic approach to the Semantic Web, so do not have to get caught up in science-fiction-like predictions of Artificial Intelligence leading us all into the “hive mind”.
The main difference between ordinary hypertext and Linked Data links is that Linked Data links are qualified. A surprising number of organisations are now entering the Linked Data world – for example Tesco, Walmart, and Best Buy. Linked Data connections can be hidden from the user, so many people don’t realise they are accessing Linked Data applications online.
There is also a growing web of government data that is being used for all sort s of purposes, one such was illustrating the UK’s “innovation hotspots” to encourage people to invest. The BBC has also undertaken a number of Linked Data projects, the most well-know being Wildlife Finder. The New York Time published a lot of data and was then criticised by the community, but responded by making amendments, demonstrating that it makes sense to engage with the wider web community and respond to feedback in order to improve data quality.
When your data is opened up, categorised, and made sharable, all sort of serendipitous connections can be made and exciting new uses discovered. Everyone is experimenting to a certain extent, so it is worth looking out for “fellow travellers” and finding out what others have done.

The Knowledge Hub
Steve Dale approached Linked Data from a very human-focused, user-centric perspective. He posed the questions that can get lost amidst the technical details, such as what exactly is the problem we are trying to solve? Where do I find the information I need to do my job? Which networks or societies should I join?
The web is fragmenting interaction, so that conversations become more granular but also disaggregated. I took this to mean that the Web encourages us to communicate online with lots of specialists about niche areas, but will only exchange a few words or sentences with them, rather than building up a long dialogue with a few people over time. This means that it is hard to forge real connections over social websites. Linked Data can help to aggregate this knowledge and help it build into a core repository for communities of practice, rather than being widely dispersed.
Human intelligence is needed to interpret much data, but a great start would be just to get councils and other organisations to recognise the value of the data they hold. Some even hold data they don’t really know about.
If you use Linked Data to start to build a knowledge hub, you can start to release hidden data and encourage widespread collaboration and communication as others contribute what they think is useful to the hub. You can then also “push” the best or most relevant content to users, tailored and personalised to their selections. Federated search and real-time indexing can keep such a hub vibrant and responsive. Open authentication and open IDs can help smooth pathways for users to encourage them to use the site and services as part of their ordinary working lives, with the minimum of friction.

Afternoon keynote – Linked Data in E-commerce
Professor Martin Hepp talked about the GoodRelations ontology which he has been developing as an ontology to serve online businesses. In 1920 there were only some 5,000 types of goods being traded – the number was so constrained it was possible to publish – presumably profitably - a dictionary of goods listing them all. Now it seems that every product is available in a huge array of varieties – there is even a type of muesli for horses!

This increased specificity makes search a far more complex problem to solve. The effort you need to make to get exactly what you want and to make sure it will do has increased hugely. You cannot just buy a nail, you have to buy a highly specialised electronic accessory.

The advent of the Internet was a huge boon to reducing this massive search effort. Individuals perform hundreds of Google searches every day. However, much of the business world runs on highly structured data which becomes unstructured when consumed by Google. Preserving the structure would contain as much – possibly more – useful information as preserving the links.
In order to make the most of the structure, it needs to be expressed in a standardised format and attention needs to be paid to getting the schema right. A schema that can’t be reused means data that can’t be reused, and in the rapidly changing world of e-commerce, data needs to be as up to date as possible. The Good Relations Ontology is aimed at providing a standard structure for expressing key e-commerce information.

Although Tim Berners-Lee urged everyone just to get their data out on to the web, putting some effort into rendering it in a reusable structure and form can make a huge difference to reuse rates and save much time in rationalising and standardising later. A balance needs to be struck between the level of detail and the time taken to populate data fields and how they can be processed. For example, separating house numbers from street names can make processing easier, but can be slower for customers to fill in forms.
Following good principles in ontology construction will also help your data be picked up and reused. You may need to mix structured and unstructured data, just putting the unstructured data in the best place you can find in an ontology designed with more structure in mind. It can work well to compliment an ontology with a mechanism that provides vocabualry for structure if you have it, but allows you to attached unstructured data to higher-level node if it is difficult to categorise it finely.
There are a number of known pitfalls in definitions – for example it is important not to confuse a product with an offer (otherwise your product will be on special offer all the time!) and a store is not a business entity – Tesco the retailer is not the same as any one individual Tesco store.
Many people in business have been put off the Semantic Web by the artificial intelligence researchers who make it all sound like something from science fiction, but if you can show direct short-term financial gains for businesses – such as improvements in search engine results, clickthrough rates, and unified marketing – you are more likely to get buy-in.

Linked Data: the Long and Winding Road
Andy Powell described the history of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. He proposed that if Linked Data is the future, then RDF must be the future of the web.
Dublin Core was originally 12, then 15 metadata elements – which now would be called properties – that can be used to describe web resources. It took a librarian-centric, document focused approach to resource discovery on line. However, the metatag element was widely ignored by search engines and it rapidly became apparent that the whole web could not be categorised. As a method for transferring records and tracking provenance, it set the stage and had some benefits. It deliberately used broad semantics and flat-world modelling (“fuzzy buckets”), but also avoided thinking too much about issues – such as how to express the relationship between an image and a representation of an image or how an artist’s name could also be an attribute of a person – that became more pressing. Many people found it very difficult to grasp the difference between a thing in the world and a string (of characters) held as a representation of that string and there was comparatively little abstraction of the model for any underlying syntax. However, some of the thinking could be transferred to an RDF world, potentially with the benefit of avoiding the same mistakes.
Current problems include promoting and open world view, promoting the view that everyone and no-one can be an expert, and the “strings and things” issue, which now relates to the difference between a resource and a web page representing that resource. One of the biggest challenges remains the need to get agreement on standardisation and for any model to gain a certain critical mass to give it traction within a community.

Linking to Geographic Data
John Goodwin from the Ordnance Survey, who has been involved in the Semantic Web for 10 years, explained some of the unique challenges of geographical data. The problems of common definitions embedded deep in the data were noted. One example was that subtly different definitions of houses-in-multiple-occupancy had been used by different government organisations, so that their data could not be usefully compared. Place names and boundaries change over time and people often call places by unofficial names. Names that no longer exist as official boundaries persist in common parlance. This can cause particular problems for the emergency services, as they need to make sure they go to the place the caller meant by the name. An example given was of children using the name for one park to mean a different one.
Geographic data is however a very useful route in to many other applications and can provide interesting and informative visualisations. By using geographic hierarchies, you can draw inferences to aggregate data up to broader levels – from county to region level, for example.
Many people think that RDF is difficult and relational databases are difficult, but John felt that for him certainly it was the other way around.
Much work still needs to be done on spatial predicate standardisation in RDF and Oracle and the OGC are working on this, as spatial descriptors are not yet as well standardised as temporal descriptors.

PoolParty: SKOS Thesaurus Management utilizing Linked Data

Andreas Blumauer described the Pool Party SKOS editing tool. He felt that SKOS could be the way to introduce web 2.0 mechanisms directly into the web of data. SKOS enables virtually any user to join in with their own knowledge organisation systems and Pool Party seeks to support knowledge organisation + network effects + collaboration + ontology evolution.
He stressed the significance of using Linked Data principles within the firewall of an organisation, with benefits such as improved collaboration and sharing that can still be useful without having to release data onto the public Web.
The Semantic Web can improve every aspect of information retrieval, and if people move from free tagging with single words – which are fraught with problems such as ambiguity – and move to concept tagging with URIs, resource descriptions will become far more valuable and useful.

Porting terminologies to the Semantic Web

Bernard Vatant of Mondeca talked about porting terminologies to the Semantic Web. Much of his work is done within Intranets for companies that need to make use of large external vocabularies. He explained the model underlying the new management system for EUROVOC which is his latest project. This vocabulary presents itself as a thesaurus, but with extensions of expressivity at the terminological level. Bernard emphasises the importance of semiotic approach to terminology in the Semantic Web framework especially relevant in the multilingual context (evident in e.g. initiative). He proposed a semiotic view of terminology to be – every sign is a thing (signs are terms; resources are business objects) and reminded of semiotic triangle of terms, concepts, and objects (Saussure: sign - signfiant - singifié). He pointed out that shallow ontologies can be very effective when more complexity isn’t needed.

Panel and networking
A full and interesting day was ended with a lively panel discussion , ranging across many topics and producing gems like “data is the new raw material” and “in a data-rich world, the scarce commodity is attention”, ad as always an excellent drinks and networking reception to finish.

(Recordings and presentations files of the entire conference are promised in the following weeks)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Invitation: ISKO UK event " Legal Know-How", 10 November 2010

You are cordially invited to the next ISKO UK KOnnecting KOmmunities afternoon meeting

Date: 10 November 2010.
Venue: University College London

Fee: £20 (free for ISKO members and students)

A number of specialists from the field of legal information are invited to talk about the ways law firms are organizing their know-how, how automated methods for extracting information from text are utilized in facilitating the sharing of new knowledge and many other things that may be of interest to knowledge managers, law librarians and information consultants working in this area.

To learn more about the six selected presentations for this afternoon and to book your place please go to the event's website.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Bob McKee, 1950-2010

It is with regret that we note the sudden death of Bob McKee, Chief Executive of CILIP and a prominent personality in the UK library community for many years. Bob was Chief Executive of the Library Association when it merged with the Institute of Information Scientists in 2002.

Amongst the many roles he undertook, he was a member of the Executive Committee and Governing Board of IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations. It was while attending the IFLA Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden that he died. Bob was due to retire from his post with CILIP in October.

I am sure that all ISKO UK members will join me in expressing condolences to Bob’s family, and in extending a welcome to his successor at CILIP, Annie Mauger.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Building and Exploiting Taxonomies, 22 October 2010, Manchester

This workshop should be of interest to all ISKO UK members.
  • What do we mean by taxonomy?
  • How does taxonomy benefit the organisation?
  • Taxonomy building: a practical session
  • Facet analysis
  • The stages of taxonomy development
  • Building a taxonomy model
  • Taxonomy tools
The workshop will be held in Manchester on 22 October, and will be facilitated by ISKO UK member Judi Vernau of Metataxis.

Places are being taken up fast, so if you'd like to attend, go here to register.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

1000 mile cycle ride for ISKO UK speaker

Andy Powell, one of our speakers at the forthcoming one-day conference Linked Data: The Future of Knowledge Organization on the Web is cycling the length of Britain to raise money for two charities, St Peter's Hospice in Bristol and Book Aid International.

Andy was prompted to undertake the ride after his close colleague at UKOLN in Bath, Rachel Heery, died in July. Rachel, Deputy Director at UKOLN, was well known in the metadata community and contributed immensely not only to UKOLN, but to kindred organizations such as JISC. Tributes to Rachel from her UKOLN and JISC colleagues have been posted on the web.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Jack Mills 1918-2010

ISKO UK is sorry to announce the death of Jack Mills, on 9 July 2010, at his home in London, at the age of 91.

Jack had a long and distinguished career as a professional librarian, academic, teacher and researcher, and, for the last 40 years, as Editor of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification, Second Edition (BC2).

In recent years his work had been marked by the award of an Honorary Fellowship of CILIP, and the Tony Keny Strix award for services to information retrieval. He was also honoured by the (then) American Society for Information Science as one of a handful of British information professionals nominated as 'Pioneers of Information Science'.

His death was unexpected and peaceful, sitting in his garden at home, and, as usual, he had been working on BC2 during the day. A fuller tribute will appear on the ISKO UK website, and in the Knowledge Organization journal.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Nominations invited for the UKeiG Jason Farradane Award

Hot on the heels of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award...

The UKeiG Jason Farradane Award is made to an individual or a group of people in recognition of outstanding work in the information profession. The Award embraces activities in the information profession in its widest sense, while the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award focuses more narrowly on information retrieval.

The Award is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the information profession, by meeting one or more of the following criteria:
  • raising the profile of the information profession within an organisation or field of endeavour in a way which has become an exemplar to others;
  • raising the awareness of the value of information in the workplace;
  • demonstrating excellence in education and teaching in information science;
  • a major contribution to the theory and practice of information science or information management.
Key characteristics that the judging panel will look for in nominations are innovation, initiative, originality and practicality. None of the criteria should be read as implying activity over an extended period. The Award is open to individuals or groups from anywhere in the world.
Nominations should take the form of a short description (no more than 3 sides of A4) of the work in question, together with full contact details of both the nominee and the nominator. Do not forget to include any documentation, references or URLs which may support the nomination. Nominations should reach the judges by Friday September 24th 2010.

Jason Farradane graduated in chemistry in 1929 at what is now Imperial College and started work in industry as a chemist and documentalist. He was instrumental in establishing the Institute of Information Scientists (IIS) in 1958 and the first academic courses in information science in 1960 at the precursor of City University, where he became Director of the Centre for Information Science in 1966. On the research side his main contributions lay in relational analysis, which can now perhaps be seen as providing a precursor to work in the area of A.I., and the concept of information. He saw information science as a step towards understanding and better organizing ourselves. The IIS first presented the award in 1979, to Jason Farradane.

Previous award winners have included: University of Warwick Library for The Learning Grid; Michael Koenig; Bruce Royan; Michael Keen; Newcastle University Library; Sandra Ward; Phil Williams; Phil Holmes.

Further details can be found on the UKeiG website at:

Nominations for the 2010 Award are now invited, and should be sent with full supporting documentation to:
Chris Armstrong
SY23 4TJ
Tel: 01974 251302

The closing date for nominations is Friday September 24th 2010.

Notes: UKeiG is an established professional group for all information professionals, users and developers of electronic information resources. The Group encourages communication and the exchange of best practice and knowledge across all sectors; and offers an e-journal, a mailing list, an annual programme of training courses; and an array of awards and burseries. UKeiG is a Special Interest Group of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE. Registered Charity No. 313014.

Friday, 2 July 2010

2010 Call for Tony Kent Strix Nominations

UKeiG is now seeking nominations for 2010 for this prestigious award.

The UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award is given in recognition of an outstanding practical innovation or achievement in the field of information retrieval. This could take the form of an application or service, or an overall appreciation of past achievements from which significant advances have emanated. The Award is open to individuals or groups from anywhere in the world. The deadline for nominations is Friday 24th September 2010. Further details of the award together with the address to which nominations should be sent are given below and at

The UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award

Nominations should be for achievement that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • a major and/or sustained contribution to the theoretical or experimental understanding of the information retrieval process;
  • development of, or significant improvement in, mechanisms, a product or service for the retrieval of information, either generally or in a specialised field;
  • development of, or significant improvement in, easy access to an information service;
  • a sustained contribution over a period of years to the field of information retrieval; for example, by running an information service or by contributing at national or international level to organisations active in the field.

Key characteristics that the judges will look for in nominations are innovation, initiative, originality and practicality.

The information to be supplied in the initial nomination should comprise:

  • The name, institutional address and qualifications of the nominee
  • A brief biography (not more than half a page of A4)
  • A relevant bibliography (i.e. not comprehensive but including the key publications relevant to the nomination)
  • A justification for the nomination, of not more than half a page of A4, showing clearly which of the Strix award criteria the nominee meets and how the criteria are met

It is likely that the Award Committee will request additional information from the nominators for those nominees considered suitable candidates for the award.

Nominations should reach the judges by Friday September 24th 2010.

The Strix Award is presented in memory of Dr Tony Kent, a past Fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists, who died in 1997. Tony Kent made a major contribution to the development of information retrieval and information services both in the UK and internationally, particularly in the field of chemistry. The name Strix was chosen both to reflect Tony's interest in ornithology, and the name of one of the last and most successful information retrieval packages which he created.

Past winners have been Carol Ann Peters (2009); Kalervo Jarvelin(2008); Mats Lindquist (2007); Stella Dextre Clarke (2006); Jack Mills (2005); Professor Cornelis Joost (Keith) van Rijsbergen (2004); Dr Herbert van Sompel (2003); Malcolm Jones (2002); Professor Peter Willett (2001); Dr Martin Porter (2000); Dr Donna Harman (1999); and Professor Stephen Robertson (1998).

Nominations for the 2010 Award are now invited, and should be sent to:

Chris Armstrong
SY23 4TJ
Tel: +44 1974 251302


UKeiG is an established professional group for all information professionals, users and developers of electronic information resources. The Group encourages communication and the exchange of best practice and knowledge across all sectors; and offers an e-journal, a mailing list, an annual programme of training courses; and an array of awards and bursaries. UKeiG is a Special Interest Group of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE. Registered Charity No. 313014.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

New Task Group: DCMI Metadata Provenance Task Group established

2010-06-17, A new DCMI Task Group has been established on the issue of Metadata Provenance. The group aims to define an application profile that allows for making assertions about description statements or description sets, creating a shared model of the data elements required to describe an aggregation of metadata statements in order to collectively import, access, use and publish facts about the quality, rights, timeliness, data source type, trust situation, etc. of the described statements. The Task Group is led by Kai Eckert of the University of Mannheim and Michael Panzer of OCLC who have become members of the DCMI Advisory Board.

Reposted from the DC General DCMI discussion list [DC-GENERAL@JISCMAIL.AC.UK].

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Hungarian National Library OPAC and Digital Library Published as Linked Data

Courtesy of our colleagues in the SKOS community, we learned in April that the National Széchényi Library (NSZL) in Budapest has published its entire OPAC and Digital Library as Linked Data. The vocabularies employed are:
  • RDFDC for bibliographic data
  • FOAF for name authority entries
  • SKOS for subject terms and geographical names
Adam Horvath, Director of Informatics at NSZL says:
Our RDFDC, FOAF and SKOS statements are linked together. Our name authority is matched with the DBPedia name files and URI aliases are handled as owl:sameAs statements.
This represents a significant achievement, and the Library is to be congratulated. Regrettably, the news came too late for this exemplar to be included in the forthcoming ISKO UK one-day conference on Linked Data on September 14th. Announcements will be made on the latter in the near future.

Friday, 14 May 2010

CFP: 9th European NKOS Workshop

Call for Presentations and posters
9th European NKOS Workshop
at ECDL 2010

Glasgow, 9th-10th September 2010

Proposals are invited for presentations and posters on work related to the themes of the workshop (see below).

Submission deadline: 14th June 2010
Notification of acceptance: 12th July 2010

Please email proposals (maximum 1000 words for presentations and 500 words for posters, including aims, methods, main findings, relevance to themes of workshop) by June 14th to Douglas Tudhope ( Proposals will be peer-reviewed by the program committee and notification of acceptance will be given by July 12th.

Full details at the workshop's website.

Key themes for the 9th NKOS workshop will be
    1. Mapping relationships and their impact on retrieval performance
    2. KOS registries and metadata
    We also welcome proposals relevant to the NKOS community, including but not limited to
    3. Linked Data - its connection with different types of KOS applications and implementations
    4. SKOS implementations and SKOSifying vocabularies and SKOS-based services
    5. Social tagging and informal knowledge structures augmenting established KOS
    6. User-centred issues relating to the above
Other NKOS topics can also be proposed.

For inspiration, please visit the NKOS network website.

Main contact
Douglas Tudhope,
Faculty of Advanced Technology,
University of Glamorgan,
Pontypridd, Wales CF37 1DL,
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1443 483609

Other organisers
Traugott Koch, Max Planck Digital Library, Berlin, Germany

Marianne Lykke Nielsen, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark,

Saturday, 1 May 2010

ISKO UK Event "Seeing is believing: new technologies for cultural heritage"

You are cordially invited ot the next ISKO UK event "Seeing is believing: new technologies for cultural heritage"

DATE: 9th June 2010, 13:30-19:00
VENUE: University College London
FEE: £20 (ISKO members & students free)

The organization of, and access to, cultural and humanistic resources presents particular problems because of the diversity of material and the uniqueness of many individual items. Issues of natural language and the semantic complexity of resources add to the mix and provide many challenges for those working in this field.

This ISKO UK seminar will provide an opportunity to learn about current work with texts, archives, objects and museum collections, from both a theoretical and an implementation standpoint, and to look at a variety of approaches to the material. We will also hear about user contribution through Web 2.0 solutions.

To learn more about the event and to book your place go to the event's website.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Recordings & presentations available "Recording the Living World" (ISKO UK Event)

Slides and mp3 recordings of two talks from the ISKO March event Recording the Living World - available from the event website.

  • Diane Tough "Collection description at the Natural History Museum "
  • Graham Higley "Encyclopedia of Life"

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Belle Époque in Europe: Organizing knowledge... , Mons (Belgium), 20-21 May 2010

Transcending Boundaries in Europe in the Period of the Belle Époque: Organizing Knowledge, Mobilizing Networks, and Effecting Social Change

VENUE: Mundaneum, Mons (Belgium), 20-21 May 2010
TO REGISTER: conference website

The Belle Epoque is a turbulent period in Western European history between about 1880 and 1914 characterized by an emerging modernization in social and political organization, artistic and literary life and in the conduct and discoveries of the sciences.

Papers for the colloquium will explore aspects of network development, information creation, organization and exchange, and related “boundary spanning” activities of individuals and institutions and the scholarly tools and techniques that enabled them to develop during the period of the “Belle époque” in which the Western European world underwent extensive social, political and “epistemic” change.

  • Dave Muddiman: Imperialism, Trade and the Beginnings of Business Information: the Commercial Intelligence Bureau of the Imperial Institute, London, 1887-1903
  • Alistair Black: An Information Management tool for the Dismantling of Internal Barries in Expanding and Internationalising Companies : The Staff Magazine in Britain before de First World War
  • Heather Gaunt: Information, the archive, and the Australian colonies
  • Hartman Frank: World Communication Cables and Ernst Kapp‘s Philosophy of Technology
  • Volker Barth: World News Order: Structures and Conditions of International Communication, 1859-1940
  • Christophe Verbruggen & Julie Carlier: The transcending advocacy network of Les Documents du Progrès (1907): a comparison of laboratories of social thought
  • Noémie Goldamn: Art and Politics. The XX (1894-1914) and their transboundary cultural networks
  • Wouter Van Acker: Paul Otlet and the International Sociology of Intellectual Work
  • Mary Carroll & Sue Reynolds: The Great Classification Battle of 1910: A Tale of “Blunders and Bizzareries” at the Melbourne Public Library
  • Damiano Matasci: Transnational Networks and School Reforms in France during the Belle Époque Period (1880-1914)
  • Mary Niles Maack: From the Classified Catalog to Open Shelf Libraries: Americans in Paris
  • Valérie Montens: The Royal Belgian Commission for International Exchanges: creation, organization and activities of an international artistic network (1871-1919)
  • Jan Vandersmissen: How King Leopold II used Emile de Laveleye’s intellectual network for the benefit of his African project
  • Françoise Levie: Punch-up at the Palais Mondial ; an analysis of the buried and contradictory tensions that came into conflict at the second Panafrican Congress in Brussels in 1921
  • M. Herve Hasquin: Une Belgique avant-gardiste
  • Bruno Notteboom: Paysage urbain. Louis Van der Swaelmen and the classification of the urban, rural and national problem in Préliminaires d’Art Civique
  • Sophie Hochhäusl: From Mulhall to Brinton, From Number Charts to Picture Statistics
  • Nader Vossoughian: Architecture, Type, and the Rethinking of the Humanist Tradition during the Belle Époque
  • Geert Somsen: Uniting the World through Science: Pieter Eijkman’s World Capital in The Hague
  • Jan Surman: Divided Space – Divided Science? The Variety of Boundaries in Habsburg Empire and their Influence on Science Before the First World War
  • Daniel Laqua: Scientific Pacifism’ in the Belle Époque: Alfred H. Fried’s Efforts to Promote Peace across National Borders
  • Markus Krajewski: Organising a Global Idiom. Esperanto, Ido and the World Auxiliary Language Movement before WWI
  • Fabian de Kloe: Beyond Babel: Science and International language during the Belle Époque
  • Mikel Breitenstein: Unity Through Language: BASIC English by C. K. Ogden
  • Alex Csiszar: Material Practices of Unity: The International Catalogue of Scientific Literature in Action
  • Paul Servais: Scientific Networks and International Congresses; Orientalists before the First World War
  • Charles van den Heuvel: Transcending Networks – Transcending Classifications (1905-1935)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Recordings from the ISKO UK 2009 Conference "Content Architecture"

Recordings of a selection of talks from the ISKO UK Conference "Content Architecture: Exploiting and Managing Diverse Resources" 23-24 June 2009 are now available at the conference proceedings webpage.

The outputs published shortly after the conference contain abstracts, presentation files and papers - all available on the same webpage.

A selection of talks were edited and mp3 files are now available for the following:

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

ISKO UK event "Recording the Living World"

30 March 2010 - 15.30-19.00

VENUE: University College London, Roberts Building, Torrington Place, WC1E 7JE

FEE: £5 (ISKO members and students FREE)

Creepy-crawlies, mammoths and lotus blossom, all have a place at the Natural History Museum. Today the data painstakingly collected over centuries by naturalists and other scientists are being liberated from their institutional archives, made available in rejuvenated catalogues
and published on the Web.

Diane Tough & Rita Dockery will talk about recent developments in the methods of collection description at the Museum whose library is one of the foremost resources for researchers in molecular biology, biodiversity, systematics, taxonomy, and the history of science, and consists of over one million books and half a million artworks.

Graham Higley will tell us about the Encyclopaedia of Life - an ambitious project that aims to build an online resource in which every species on earth will have its own web page. This international enterprise consists of five major projects: the Species Pages Group, the Biodiversity Informatics Group, the Scanning and Digitization Group, the Learning and Education Group, and the Biodiversity Synthesis Group. Together they are creating an unparalleled resource for the life sciences that covers every aspect of the study, research, recording and documentation of
living creatures.

This ISKO UK Seminar is organized in cooperation with the UCL Department for Information Studies.

To read more and to book your place go to the event page.

We look forward to seeing you on 30 March!