Knowledge Organization

Making the collective knowledge contained within an organization easier to identify and find

Knowledge organization (KO) makes specific information easier to access and more meaningful to information seekers through the use of categories, tags and other language-centric systems. As data is often stored in a variety of digital and physical places, knowing how to set up a system to organize the data for future retrieval is essential. This results in greater user efficiencies and cost savings for the organization.

The iSchool conducts research on the effectiveness of different cataloging and tagging systems and how people can access, utilize and share the information for the benefit of the organization. We also have expertise in multi-cultural and ethnically-based systems.


The iSchool’s expertise and research in knowledge organization can assist organizations in the following ways:

  • Understanding and utilizing the semantic web to let people to share content beyond the boundaries of applications and websites
  • Developing cost-effective information architecture
  • Applying social tags to information to help users categorize it in ways that are meaningful to them
  • Utilizing and preserving cultural resources, such as the arts and physical artifacts of a culture, through a language that is understandable to that culture
  • Classifying information for the broadest public access
  • Aligning standards to create a web of interconnected sets of data and documents

Projects and Research

Locating Documents
Analyzing the benefits and challenges of placing documents in folders or tagging them with labels when managing personal information.

Finding ways to utilize the relationships between users, tags, and documents to attract more users and create new user interfaces that encourage more collectively useful individual tagging behaviour.

Culturally-specific Systems of Knowledge
Studying American Indian and Alaska Native systems of knowledge in order to expand our understanding of the range of knowledge systems.

Sound Classification
Researching music information retrieval to create vocabularies that help people find music they've heard but cannot identify. This also applies to sounds, such as developing a database of car sounds that diagnose car problems.  

Finding Multiple Versions of Documents
Creating online catalog displays that provide a rich environment of links to help people find a specific version of a "voluminous" work published in multiple editions and media.

Faculty Experts

Bob Boiko
Allyson Carlyle
Mike Crandall
Lisa Fusco
William Jones
Jin Ha Lee
Cheryl Metoyer
Joseph T. Tennis