KORG Activity

Grants, Awards, and Announcements


3rd Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization (May 28-29, 2015)


Speakers and Presentations:

  • Joseph T. Tennis, University of Washington

Constructs and Construct Patterns for Ethical Knowledge Organization

Description: ?????

  • Daniel Martínez-Ávila, Department of Information Science, São Paulo State University
    José Augusto Chaves Guimarães, Department of Information Science, São Paulo State University
    Fabio Assis Pinho, Department of Information Science, Federal University of Pernambuco
    Melodie J. Fox, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The representation of ethics and knowledge organization in the WOS and LISTA databases: A bibliometric and Bardinian content analysis

Description: Ethics in knowledge organization (KO) has become a growing concern in both practice and research. Examples from practice can be found in the ALA’s Code of Ethics (2008), the 2012 IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers, and in archival codes of ethics and principles from around the world (Rego et al. 2014). The two conferences and proceedings on ethics in knowledge organization from 2009 and 2012 are further indications of academic interest and scholarly activity in ethics in KO. These contributions generated a research stream of bibliographic publications that should be readily available for access through databases such as the Web of Science (WOS). As a legacy for future research and expansion of the subdomain of ethics in KO, scholars and practitioners interested in getting introduced into the tradition will inevitably be influenced by the perception of the domain as presented by the databases. Bibliometric studies can reveal snapshots of the domain’s research patterns that can warn of potential ethical problems of silencing or misrepresentation of the knowledge of a particular domain. This presentation will describe and analyze the results of our bibliometric analysis in tandem with a Bardinian content analysis studying the representation of ethics and KO in WOS and Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) Martínez-Ávila, Guimarães, Pinho, & Fox. EKO3 2015 2 databases. The motivation of the study is to re-create how an average user will perceive the topic of knowledge organization and ethics through the search results in these two common research tools. We aim to highlight how the omissions and insufficiencies of these databases provide an incomplete picture when superficially researching these topics.

  • Margaret Kipp, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Ann Graf, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Jihee Beak, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tagging of Banned and Challenged Books

Description: The American Library Association (ALA) maintains lists of frequently challenged and banned books from libraries across the United States. In Canada, censorship is monitored by the Book and Periodical Council. (Book and Periodical Council 2013a) To examine public perceptions of banned or challenged books, we collected social tagging data associated with frequently challenged books on the ALA Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 list (ALA. n.d. Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books) to see how users of LibraryThing, Goodreads and Bibliocommons perceived these books in comparison to patrons who challenged these books as this may provide additional data to assist librarians in determining why the books are challenged and how to respond to challenges using available data about the books and the library’s policies.

  • Jihee Beak, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Where is children’s voice in KO?

Description: The purpose of this study is to discuss the ethical considerations of knowledge organization systems (KOS) in light of a children’s perspective. In this paper, I will discuss some ethical considerations to consider when we develop KOS for children user group by applying previous literature from Smiraglia’s bibliocentrism (2009), Bhaba’s third space theory (1994) with Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (1978), and Tennis’s article about ethos and ideology of KO (2013).

  • Lynnsey K. Weissenberger, School of Information, College of Communication and Information/ Adjuct Asst. Prof. of Music (Director, Irish Music Ensemble), College of Music Florida State University

Traditional Musics and Ethical Considerations of Knowledge and Documentation Processes

Description: This paper describes ethical considerations for organizing indigenous music knowledge, namely: knowledge representations and documentation formats that are outside what might be considered “typical,” such as oral knowledge, memory, and metaphorical descriptions and storytelling; issues of trust between practitioners and outsiders related to sensitive or more secretive information, as well as the ability to publicly attribute musical knowledge or works to an individual; and finally, issues related to expectations of knowledge attributes and how these can be problematic if trying to use a conceptual model such as FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), for example.

  • Richard P. Smiraglia, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee

Bibliocentrism Revisited: Is RDA a Brave New World Order?

Description: A long history of bibliocentricity in the library catalog has been demonstrated (Smiraglia 2009; Smiraglia, Lee and Olson 2010). The practice of resource description emerged from the simple listing of books as objects with little reference to their intellectual content. This combined with shifting cultural conceptions of authorship (Smiraglia and Lee 2012; Johns 2009) led to a complex system in which the implicit concept of “goodness” effected the efficacy of description of varying resources. Books were good and nonbooks were not, thus books were described completely and non-book materials were not. Issues of domain-specificity, cultural origins or contexts of usage were disregarded in deference to “bibliographic”—or, booklike—considerations.

  • Wan-Chen Lee, Information School, University of Washington

Culture and Classification: Ethical Issues of Adopting Global Classification Standards to Local Environments

Description: This paper looks at ethical issues that arise from adopting standardized classifications. Research affirms cultural influences in classifications. However, there are various conceptions of culture in knowledge organization and anthropology. In this paper, we propose a definition of culture based on comparing and aggregating discussions from the two bodies of literature. This definition points to areas of further research concerning cultural ethics and knowledge organization

  • Jill McTavish, Clinical Librarian, London Health Science Centre, Health Sciences Library

Permeating Everyday Life Classification Technologies – The Productive Power of Nutritional Classifications

Description: Everyday life (EDL) classification technologies refer to static, non-neutral tools that order the world. They are “a set of boxes (metaphorical or literal) into which things can be put to then do some kind of work – bureaucratic or knowledge production” (Bowker and Star 1999, 10). An example of a formal but relatively static EDL classification technology is the public health food guide (e.g., ChooseMyPlate.gov), which organizes food items into food groups and according to their healthiness. EDL classification processes refer to the conceptual distinctions people make in their everyday lives (McTavish in press). While these processes are less discussed in library and information science (LIS) due to perceptions of their idiosyncrasies (Mai 2008) and because descriptions of users’ classificatory or searching practices are perceived to be unhelpful for considering how to build bibliographic knowledge organization systems (Hjørland 2013), McTavish (in press) has shown that they can be useful for pointing out the limitations in messages provided by EDL classification technologies and can help to suggest ways to augment these systems. In this paper, I report on the EDL classification practices of registered dietitians (RDs). Rather than revealing the limitations of EDL classification technologies, I discuss how the classification practices of RDs reaffirm the understandings of “health” and organization of food offered by the food guide and their discipline – at times to the detriment of non-standard understandings of health. With a growing interest in EDL classification practices and technologies in LIS, it is important to address the limitations of these technologies and to think about ways to make them permeable to all users. As Bowker and Star (1999, 6) have reminded us, there is a “moral and ethical agenda” involved in querying classification systems – including EDL technologies – as each category decision represents an inescapable, ethical choice to uncover.

  • Jo Ann Oravec, Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

The Moral Imagination in an Era of “Gaming Academia”: Implications of Emerging Reputational Issues in Scholarly Publication for Knowledge Organization Practices

Description: Many participants in higher education build academic reputations in conjunction with their research initiatives (and subsequent citations) along with their teaching and service efforts. These reputations can play critical roles in their own recognition and promotions as well as the statuses of their research groups and sponsoring organizations. An assortment of reputational considerations related to scholarly publication is emerging in part as a result of the availability of various Internet search and analysis applications. Detection of ghostwriting efforts, citation circles, and problematic authorship assignments (such as “gift” authorship) is becoming easier to conduct even for individuals outside of the institutions involved. Although problematic publication practices have been reported for a number of years, the ability to monitor and compare what is going on in a wide assortment of academic contexts has just recently emerged with widely-available tools such as Google Scholar and ResearchGate. Forms of plagiarism have also been made more readily detectable through various technological applications, and the notion of “self-plagiarism” (however difficult to conceptualize) has also entered academic discourse.

  • Tina Gross, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota

Naming and Reframing: A Taxonomy of Attacks on Knowledge Organization

Description: Most knowledge organization practices have opinionated detractors. Some criticisms are informed and serious, but unsubstantiated assertions and fatuous dismissals are so commonplace that practitioners grow weary of the perpetual need to refute them. Many have had the experience of conducting and publishing research that contradicts a popular misguided claim, and then seeing this evidence have little effect on the continued repetition of the claim. This presentation will attempt to contribute another tool for tackling this problem—a taxonomy of attacks on knowledge organization. Categorizing and devising names for the major strains of deprecation of knowledge organization, cataloging, and metadata will not defeat those arguments, but identifying and reframing them might strengthen our resolve to take them on. Warning: there might be neologisms!

  • Aline Elis Arboit, Graduate School of Information Science, São Paulo State University
    José Augusto Guimarães, Graduate School of Information Science, São Paulo State University

The ethics of knowledge organization and representation from a Bakhtinian perspective

Description: This paper arises from the possibility of a theoretical dialogue between the sociocognitive perspectives of knowledge organization (Beghtol, 2002; 2005; Berman, 1993; Frohmann, 1994; 2001; 2008; García Gutiiérrez, 2002, 2014; García Gutiérrez & Martínez-Ávila, 2014; Guimarães et al., 2008; Hjorland, 2002; 2008, a, b; Hjorland & Albrechtsen, 1995; Hudon, 1997; Olson, 2001; 2002; Olson & Schlegl, 2001) and the Bakhtinian concepts on “responsible act” and “responsive understanding” as attitudes that motivate the dialogism that is inherent to language (Bakhtin, 1981; 1986; 1990; 1993; Voloshinov, 1973). Those questions allow us to recognize the professional that organizes and represents knowledge (the indexer / classifier) in a certain context as someone who has an intersubjective conscience that is constantly shaped by the relationships that he/her establishes with others.

  • Kelli McQueen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ethical Issues of Knowledge Organization in Designing a Metadata Schema for the Leo Kottke Archives

Description: Ethical codes in knowledge organization derive from foundational principles that provide a basis for the profession of information organization at large, and take on interesting angles in each branch of the profession. Foremost among these principles is accessibility. Professional standards and best practices are created, and continually refined, in order to promote easy access for users. Ethics plays an important role in the continual evaluation of professional standards as cultural, economic, and political environments evolve and consequently influence the field of information organization. The following study will discuss some of these ethical issues as they pertain to the history of archives as a professional field, and the ethics of metadata in digital representation that arise in working with the Leo Kottke Archives.

  • Maurine McCourry, Dominican University, Technical Services Librarian, Hillsdale College

Domain Analytic, and Domain Analytic-Like, Studies of Catalog Needs: Addressing the Ethical Dilemma of Catalog Codes Developed With Inadequate Knowledge of User Needs

Description: The Code of Ethics of the American Library Association states that librarians “provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources” (American Library Association, 2008). To facilitate the provision of “usefully organized resources,” library catalogers have developed standards that allow for uniform, codified knowledge organization (KO). At least as early as Cutter (1876), and long before Dervin and Nilan (1986), cataloging codes have stated clear goals of meeting user needs. Following in this tradition, the most recent widely-adopted code, Resource Description and Access (RDA), lists as its primary objective a “responsiveness to user needs” (American Library Association, 2010, section 0.4.2), based in part on the “user tasks” identified in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records published by the International Federation of Library Associations, which encompass a “broad range of user expectations and needs” (IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, 1998, p. 1). Despite this stated focus on user needs, however, evidence of empirical assessment of the exact nature of those needs is sparse. In order to meet stated ethical objectives, the producers of cataloging codes must have a broad and continually updated knowledge of the needs of the users served by those codes.

  • Andrieli Pachú da Silva, Archivist, Master student in Information Science, São Paulo State University
    José Augusto Guimarães, Professor, Information Science Graduate School, São Paulo State University
    Natália Bolfarini Tognoli, Assistant professor, Information Science Graduate School, São Paulo State University

Ethical values in archival arrangement and description: an analysis of professional codes of ethics.

Description: The establishment of “organic information” as an object of Archival Science (Rousseau & Couture, 1988) allowed the improvement of a scientific dialogue between this field and Information Science. It also supported the conception of archival knowledge organization as a mediator between the knowledge that is produced by society and its use to create new knowledge (Foscarini,2006; Gilliland,2006; Tognoli & Guimarães,2010,2012; Tognoli, Guimarães & Tennis,2013; Barros & Moraes,2012; Henttonen,2012,2014; Zhang,2012; Angel,2013; Ribeiro,2014). Therefore, archival knowledge can be regarded as all the knowledge that is contained in the records produced or accumulated by a particular person or entity and grouped together. This is what makes the respect de fonds an inherent attribute (Duchein,1983). Archival knowledge organization has its nuclear activities in arrangement and description (Duchein,1983; Rousseau & Couture,1994; Schellenberg,1996; Thomassen,2001). These two procedures are related not only to the contents that are inherent to them, but also to the professional practice (values and attitudes in the professional action) and its consequences for the users, what reveals an ethical dimension. In this vein, we wonder whether archival professionals are concerned with the why and what for of the arrangement and description activities, while we also aim to analyse which ethical values are considered by the deontological codes for archivists in an international context regarding the search for a correct and appropriate professional conduct.

  • Beth Shoemaker, Cataloging/Resource Access Librarian, St. Ambrose University

No One Can Whistle a Symphony: Seeking a Catalogers’ Code of Ethics

Description: The ethics of information organization takes up relatively little print space in technical service and cataloging journals, despite catalogers’ role in the most fundamental level of making resources available – or unavailable – to patrons. Existing codes of ethics for library staff offer only peripheral guidelines, leaving catalogers adrift when ethical issues arise. Ultimately the lack of a clear code of ethics for information organization reinforces existing mystification around the role of catalogers within the library and causes difficulty in justifying decisions to supervisors and administrators.

  • Emily Lawrence, GSLIS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Everything is a Recommendation: Netflix, Altgenres, and the Discursive Construction of Personal Taste

Description: Netflix, the popular subscription streaming service, provides personalized movie and television recommendations that seek to maximize ongoing user engagement. As of this writing, every work appearing on a user’s personal interface is a recommendation, regardless of whether it is framed as such. Many of these recommendations appear in personalized genre rows, often bearing familiar descriptors like “Dramas” and “Thrillers” (Amatriain & Basilico 2012). Until recently, however, some rows represented a significantly more granular personalization, using composite categories such as “Suspenseful Sci-Fi Movies with a Strong Female Lead.” Called ‘altgenres’ internally (Madrigal 2014), these categories make salient some subset of (purportedly) shared features among works that will (purportedly) appeal to the user. In other words, altgenres string together appeal elements—a concept applied here from Joyce Saricks’s (2005, 2009) work on Readers’ Advisory—that are predicted, via a proprietary algorithm, to manifest the viewer’s revealed preferences. The appeal elements themselves are also proprietary, selected by employees who view and tag all of the content on Netflix. Tagging allows for the reconfiguration of appeal elements as altgenres, resulting in a dynamic descriptive system unique to Netflix.

  • Thomas D. Walker, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

An Ethical Burden in the Structure of Knowledge: How Music Suggests Enhanced Conceptual Models

Description: There was a riot of sorts at the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913. In spite of its initial negative reception, that work nevertheless has come to be regarded as a landmark of twentieth-century creativity. Even into the twentieth century, some critics thought Beethoven’s Große Fuge (1825) was “repellant.” It is not surprising to hear that Oscar Kokoshka, in a letter to Arnold Schoenberg (of 12-tone fame), claimed that Schoenberg’s cradle was Beethoven’s stark and angular Große Fuge. On the other hand, to the pianist Glenn Gould the “great fugue” was “not only the greatest work Beethoven ever wrote but just about the most astonishing piece in musical literature.” How can a work of any kind so anger and yet so astound? To what “category of information” do such works belong? What characteristics do works of music (among other arts) have that exclude them from the classic DIKW pyramid? Should works of fiction, graphic art, or abstract music be somehow outside our conception of the data-knowledge or datawisdom continua? There are value judgments placed on works of art and while they may change, they nevertheless underscore the ideas of bad and good, low quality and high, unskilled and skilled, routine and inspired. Where do assessments of bad and good, faulty and perfect, backward and progressive, or other measurements fit into knowledge hierarchies? Theorists of knowledge organization and information science in general have long wrestled with conceptions of knowledge and it is appropriate to visit and revisit models that have come into acceptance, particularly if there is a wrinkle that has not been sufficiently explored. This paper proposes an enhanced model that features a role for creative works within a knowledge hierarchy that depends on ethics as a guiding delimiter.

Ethics of KOrg Conference 2015 (videos)

4th North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization (May 13-14, 2013)


NASKO 2013: Transition Cultures, Transition KO: Evolving Exploration, Critical Reflection, and Practical Work

IOrg hosted the 4th North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization, the biennial conference of ISKO-Canada/United States, on May 13-14, 2013 at the UWM Continuing Education Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Program: http://iskocus.org/nasko2013-program.php

Of the 26 papers presented at the conference, IOrg authors produced 3 of the 4 top-ranked papers.
These will be published in *KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION* in July 2013.
The three winning papers are:

  • Christine Marchese and Richard P. Smiraglia. Boundary Objects: CWA, an HR Firm, and Emergent Vocabulary. 18 pages. 3128 words. 5 references.
  • Melodie Fox and Austin Reece. The Impossible Decision: Social Tagging and Derrida’s Deconstructed Hospitality. 19 pages 4637 words. 14 references.
  • Richard P. Smiraglia. IS FRBR A Domain? Domain Analysis Applied to the Literature of The FRBR Family of Conceptual Models. 24 pages. 3987 words. 5 references.
2nd Milwaukee Conference on the Ethics of Information Organization (June 15-16, 2012)


Speakers and Presentations:

  • Melissa Adler, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Disciplining Scholarship at the Library of Congress

Description: The Library of Congress is a federal institution that occupies a critical space where medical, social science, political, literary, and other discourses are collected, arranged, and disseminated to Congress and the public. This paper will build upon one of the key conclusions of my dissertation research on the role of the Library of Congress in the social construction of sexual deviance. I located the processes and practices by which disciplinarity was enforced but often failed over time to meet the goal of fostering findability, particularly with regard to library resources on diverse sexualities. The Library of Congress plays a vital part in discipline creation and maintenance, as demonstrated by its tradition of drawing literary warrant for subject headings and classifications about sexual deviance from medical and psychiatric literature. The Library actively reproduces specific discourses while silencing others, such as those from the humanities, social sciences, and the general public. And the choice to separate materials on queer or feminist subjects both contributes to discipline formation in gender and sexuality studies, and serves to ghettoize these subjects. Alternatively, social tagging seems to disregard conventions of disciplinarity and allows much more diversity of representations. Tagging may provide important insight for organizing materials in research libraries, as choices between single disciplines are no longer necessary and voices from various fields and audiences can name resources using their own terms, whether they prefer medical/technical jargon or everyday words. As the academy moves more toward interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary studies and aims to find the intersections across political, social, scientific, and cultural phenomena, the question of library organization based on classes and subjects needs to be interrogated. Theoretically drawing from Foucault’s works on discipline and governmentality, and Halberstam’s assertion that queerness artfully fails and refuses to be disciplined, I will challenge library and information scholars to reexamine the role of libraries in an increasingly transdisciplinary environment.

  • Daniel Martinez-Avila, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
    Margaret Kipp, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Hope A. Olson, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

DDC or BASIC: The changing balance between corporations and public institutions

Description: When Melvil Dewey introduced his classification he promoted it, not as a better reflection of all knowledge, but as accurate , economical , and convenient . He admired successful entrepreneurs comparing DDC to the efficient pigeonholes on a businessman’s desk. Wiegand concludes that Dewey had “an obsessive need to control…had trouble handling money…and was regularly manipulative and duplicitous.” (1996, 376-77). “Cooperation” is absent from his biography’s index. Nearly a century later in 1967 OCLC was formed as the Ohio College Library Center, a cooperative. Fred Kilgour led the nascent OCLC in what may have been the last great blossoming of cooperative library cataloging. Kilgour accurately predicted: “people would no longer go to the library, but that the library would go to the people.” With the advent of the Internet and electronic publishing reality out-stripped Kilgour’s prediction. In 1988, OCLC acquired Forest Press, publisher of DDC, from the Lake Placid Education Foundation established by Dewey. Technology has allowed KOSs like DDC to go global as systems blur, such as the disintegrating boundary between the public sphere of the library and commercial enterprises such as publishers, bookstores, and distributors. Now Google Books is building the collection of “The Last Library” and amazon.com has become a reference tool. In the pursuit of innovative practices and the maximization of resources and dwindling budgets, some libraries have embraced a customer-driven paradigm and adopting practices from the bookstore and commercial sectors. In addition to less controversial practices such as comfortable seating, better signage and displays, lower shelving and coffee shops, some libraries have abandoned DDC in favor of the Book Industry Standards and Communications Subject Headings List (BISAC), used by the US book industry. A side effect of this collaboration is the transplantation of the commercial values of the book industry into the public sphere of the library. OCLC has exported DDC to the global community and continues to defend DDC copyright vigorously, yet they have recently completed a crosswalk between DDC and BISAC in collaboration with the Book Industry Study Group (BISG – own BISAC). In our Foucauldian genealogical discourse analysis, we identify patterns in texts promoting BISAC or DDC from the BISG (US), the Book Industry Communication (UK), OCLC, and related sources, especially scrutinizing the commercial and global philosophies and discourses enforced by systems that are at odds with the public and local focus of libraries, their characteristics, their consequences, and the ethical implications and challenges for libraries and information organizations in the near-future. Is it possible to return to the local, cooperative spirit of 1967? Have we gone too far back in time putting efficiency, economy, and entrepreneurship before meaningful, local access? In pursuing this ongoing analysis we have uncovered discourse patterns linking commercial/corporate entities to each other and to libraries in surprising ways which we will report in this paper. The connections and patterns help identify the choices we need to consider as we move into the future.

  • Jonathan Cope, College of Staten Island, CUNY

Librarianship as an Intellectual Craft

Description: The proposed inquiry develops an ethical conception of library labor as an intellectual craft that can serve as an alternative to a deterministic discourse of technological transformation. In the United States libraries have historically embodied an egalitarian ideal of “information for all.” Therefore, librarians and information professionals are well positioned to offer a moral account of how to guarantee public access to information in a constantly changing information ecosystem. In this study the author proposes a model of librarianship as an intellectual craft that can be used as an “ideal type” in comparison to recent transformations in the practice of librarianship. John Buschman (2003) has argued that a “new public philosophy” embodied in a market-oriented political project since the ascent of Reagan/Thatcher has dramatically diminished the role of public institutions–particularly libraries–in favor of private institutions engaging in competitive exchange in an idealized “free market” in public discourse. This public philosophy has also altered the conceptualization of information professionals’ work. Using the–admittedly utopian–ideal type of intellectual craft, the author will analyze how the practice of librarianship has changed over the course of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and how that practice compares to this ideal. The ideal of intellectual craft has three key components. Firstly, it involves a deep engagement in the process of information collection, dissemination, and maintenance. Secondly, it entails the autonomy in the practice of learned skill, knowledge, and expertise on the part of the professional in relation to a public (or publics). And finally, it entails the establishment of communicative and participatory structures that facilitate an exchange of concepts, accrued knowledge, and acquired skills between information professionals. This theorization owes heavily to C. Wright Mills’ ideal of intellectual craft as outlined in the conclusion of his classic, The Sociological Imagination. It also draws upon the labor process writings of social thinkers and philosophers (e.g., Harry Braverman, Hannah Arendt, Richard Sennet) and various texts about the practice of librarianship (e.g., professional literature, academic journals, interviews) in order to examine how librarians and information professionals construct a discursive account of the plying of their craft. The author argues that by comparing the contemporary practice of information professionals to an ideal of intellectual craft librarians and information professionals can develop an intellectual framework in which to analyze economic and technological transformations. In an era of dramatic change, such a framework offers a positive ethical account of librarians and information professionals’ labor that is not wholly dependent on a discourse of market exchange.

  • Melodie J. Fox, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Austin Reece, Department of Philosophy, Marquette University

Which ethics? Whose morality?: An analysis of the ethical standards for information organization

Description: Ethical issues abound in LIS literature, mostly centering on censorship, privacy, intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, professional codes of ethics, copyright, or more broadly, the recently-emerged field of information ethics. At first look, it appears that little research exists on ethical topics relating to information organization. However, the literature does not explicitly relate to ethics, but the topics discussed therein could easily be interpreted as such. For example, the numerous critiques of classificatory or knowledge representation systems do not explicitly mention ethics (summarized in Olson & Schlegl, 2001). Other works that explicitly focus on ethics cover professional codes of ethics and ethical decision-making pertaining to access (Beghtol, 2002, 2005; Jacobs, 2007; Ferris, 2008; Skekel, 2008). Research on ethics in IO tend to rely on a premise of “ethicalness” not necessarily adhering to a particular philosophical framework, but rather a sense of right and wrong not rigorously defined. Beghtol (2005), for example, in her summary of ethical decision-making in subject representation, admits that her concepts “do not depend on the foundational assumptions of a particular school of ethical analysis or a particular ethical theory” (p. 903). However, in order to make ethical judgments concerning KO, we need to define what is meant by “ethical,” and be sufficiently clear about the criteria that are required to distinguish between better and worse practices within the field. If we can sketch out a reasonable set of ethical standards for KO, then the only moral task remaining will be mainly interpretive, that is, applying the standards to the work to be done by practitioners and users in the field. In this presentation, we will consider two questions: first, what type of ethics is required of a collective body, such as those who create, maintain, evaluate and apply our KOSs? Ethical standards are required at both the individual and collective levels, but are those standards the same? For example, are the ethical responsibilities of DDC’s editorial board fundamentally the same as for an individual cataloger? Secondly, we will outline criteria that are required of an ethical framework for KO, including justice, universality, sustainability, and the accommodation of exceptions. Finally, we will present some existing philosophical frameworks suitable for evaluating ethical dilemmas in knowledge organization, including traditional ethical theories such as utilitarianism and deontology, as well as more contemporary approaches including feminist ethics and hermeneutics.

  • Anne J. Gilliland, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Contemplating co-creator rights in archival description

Description: This paper will address equity and ethical issues in terms of the potential and implications of Indigenous protocols for addressing co-creator rights in archival description. The combined activities of archival arrangement and description (most commonly resulting in narrative finding aids) are the primary means of information organization for archival material. Paradigmatically privileging provenance and original order, they play a primary role not only in mediating intellectual access to archival materials, but also in elucidating the circumstances of creation and creative intent behind those materials. However, recent developments in several quite different areas of Archival Studies have resulted in critiques about how description, in particular, both reflects and shapes interpretations of archival materials in favor of temporally-bound dominant narratives and élite (e.g., institutional and scholarly) interests; and marginalizes the narratives and interests of individuals, families and communities who were under-empowered, unwitting, or unwilling participants in the creation of archival materials (e.g., official records and ethnographic data). These developments include post-colonial discourse about the role of the archive and archival practices in colonialism, community-based archiving, distributing and democratizing archival description using social tagging and community-developed ontologies, and the promulgation of Indigenous protocols for archival and library materials by or about Indigenous individuals and communities. In description, provenance recognizes only the author, collector, or donor as the creator of the archival materials, and describes that provenance using lengthy contextualizing biographical notes or administrative histories. Other parties involved in the creation of the materials, if mentioned at all, are treated as subjects or objects of those materials and are often not even acknowledged through a name or subject entry. There have been several attempts in recent years to complexify understandings of provenance to address the products of collaboration and community-generated material (e.g., functional provenance; simultaneous multiple, and parallel provenance; and ethnicity as provenance); and to introduce liberatory description in specific contexts. Mainstream archival standards and best practices, however, have yet to focus on ethical and human rights concerns and examine how they might, for example, pluralize description, or promote community-centric re-description or reconciling description. An increasingly discussed notion, arising largely from archival work in post-colonial and Indigenous contexts as well as from the recent U.N. Declaration on Indigenous Rights, is to recognize these other parties as co-creators who have rights regarding implicated records and other archival holdings, including rights to determine, or have input on, archival description. Drawing upon the author’s recent study of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Indigenous Data Archive (ATSIDA) and the Native American Protocols for Archival Materials, this paper will contemplate several questions in the context of contemporary archival description: to what extent can or should the interests and perspectives of both creator and co-creator communities be equitably and systematically addressed and represented, especially in a country with as many diverse communities and histories as the United States? What is the spirit and what are the implications of community-centric protocols, such as Indigenous protocols for archival descriptive practices? If Indigenous community-centric descriptive practices were developed, in what ways might they differ from current Eurocentric practices? What might we learn from the Indigenous experiences that might be applied to the description of materials by or about other marginalized or under-represented communities?

  • Jose Augusto Chaves Guimaraes, Sao Paulo State University – UNESP, Marilia, Brazil
    Juan Carlos Fernandez, Molina University of Granada, Granada, Spain
    Joao Batista Ernesto de Moraes, Sao Paulo State University – UNESP, Marilia, Brazil

Ethical aspects in information organization: an analysis of LIS Education in the MERCOSUL area

Description: Ethical aspects in information organization (IO) have been currently approached by LIS international literature (Dahlberg, 1992; Berman, 1993; Browne, 1996; Hudon, 1997; García Gutiérrez, 1998, 2002a,b, 2003, 2004; Beghtol, 2002a,b, 2005; Guimarães, 2000, 2006; Guimarães et al., 2005, 2007, 2008; Olson, 2000, 2002, 2003; Olson & Schlegl, 2001; Olson & Given, 2003; Dole & Hurych, 2001; Fernández-Molina & Guimarães, 2002; Kwasnik & Rubin, 2003; Sigel, 2004; Pinho, 2006, 2010), what leads to question how this reflection has been incorporated by LIS schools. In educational Mercosul (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay e Uruguay), with 60 LIS schools (undergraduate and graduate levels), it was observed, since 1996, a discussion on curricular common areas – Fundamentals of LIS; Information organization, Information resources and services, Information management, Information technologies and Information research – in questions like: minimal contents, teaching formation, milestones, professional abilities, pedagogical methods and research development. From 1998 on, ethics has been discussed in IO curricular area due its mediating nature (between information and user), what demands abilities to analyze informational contents from distinct approaches by means of choices that can be advantageous or ominous to the user (Araripe,1998; Benitez de Vendrell; Miranda,1998; Cano,1998; Chueque; Bazán,1998; Leiva de Feldmann,1998; Beraquet; Valentim, 2000). In order to identify how Mercosul LIS schools perceive ethical dimension of IO, a questionnaire was sent to a sample 25 (twenty five) classification, indexing, and subject cataloging professors asking what kind of ethical values and problems could be involved in IO practices and how those questions are pedagogically approached. The return index was 72%. The results show that the all the respondents revealed concern with the ethical dimension of the area, once IO involves a set of non-neutral procedures and tools and the IO decisions and actions have a clear social, cultural, and political dimension. For this, the librarian usually acts in the limit between the search for equity and the suitability to social and cultural values, what supposes respect to differences in order to guarantee the main user´s right: the access to the information. The major ethical values indentified are: literary warrant, use warrant, equity, privacy, information access, freedom of speech, impartiality, social responsibility and conscientious and critical action; as major problems, prejudice and bias are identified, as well, in a minor scale, tendentiousness, subjectivity, censorship, generalization/reductionism, alienation, lack of social responsibility and inconsistencies in the representation which can cause disrespect and user exclusion. Pedagogical practice revealed predominance of dialogical strategies (comments, discussions and lectures) on the indexer´s responsibilities, its commitment with information access, the existence of technological obstacles, and the need of a critical vision on social-politic-cultural reality as subsidies to cultural warrant. In a minor scale, exercises and projects to identify conflicts of values between the professional and the content of the document, interpretations of indexer that exceed the content of the document and the evaluation of ethical aspects in indexing languages also occur. It’s possible to conclude that ethical questions are actually perceived by IO professors at LIS schools in Mercosul, the values and problems identified confirm previous findings in the LIS literature and dialogical situations on concrete cases and exercises to identify ethical conflicts are used, what reveal that the users right to information content access can be considered an ethical meta-value in IO.

  • Philip A. Homan, Idaho State University, Eli M. Oboler Library

Library catalog notes for “bad books”: Ethics vs. responsibilities

Description: What can librarians do about books in their collections which are compromised by age, censorship, bias, error, fraud, plagiarism, copyright violation, libel, or controversy? Should they do anything? Are they dodging their professional responsibilities if they don’t? Or are they violating their professional ethics of they do? Should catalogers include notes in catalog records alerting readers to the contexts of “bad books”? According to Cutter’s Rules for a Dictionary Catalog,  one of the objects of a library catalog is to assist in the choice of a book “as to its character,” and the means to that object are notes in catalog records. As Cutter’s Rule 284 says, “Put into notes that information which is … required to be given by the plan of the catalog” in order “to direct … attention … to the best books.” In spite of federated searching and other one-size-fits-all approaches to information retrieval in libraries, good catalog records in good library catalogs are growing more, not less, important. Library catalogs more and more are standing in loco bibliothecarii— in place of librarians—particularly in the academic environment where catalogs are searched remotely from home, away from the advice of reference librarians. However, do notes in library catalog records for “bad books” violate the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Statement on Labeling, or are these ethical principles, in fact, impracticable? After all, medical librarians routinely label retracted journal articles in their collections. Moreover, since library users want enriching data for books in catalog records, á la Amazon.com—like covers, summaries, and reviews, pulled from publishers’ sites on the World Wide Web, and beyond librarians’ control—librarians may already be violating the Library Bill of Rights and the Statement on Labeling in meeting their users’ demands. Michael Bellesiles’s Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture  (Knopf, 2000), the fourth most challenged book in 2003, according to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (American Libraries,  April 2004)—and the most famous example of academic fraud at the turn of the twenty-first century—can be used as a test case. Should librarians ignore the contexts of such bad books, withdraw the books from their collections, welcome the automatic pulling of content from the Web into their catalog records, or rather put notes into their records to inform their users of the contexts of the “bad books” in their libraries?

  • Patrick Keilty, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Sexual boundaries and social disapprobation

Description: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the ways in which the mechanisms of power around classifications of gender and sexuality are not always top-down or bottom-up. Instead, the weight of social disapprobation among members of sexual subcultures themselves helps create these classifications, often reflecting the nomenclature of subjects and desires within sexual subcultures always in relation to a dominant culture. This paper extends the works of Hope Olson, Melissa Adler, Dean Spade, D. Grant Campbell, Geoff Bowker, and Susan Leigh Star, which forcefully articulate the need for critical engagement with the consequences of classification while acknowledging the institutional imperatives of classificatory schemas. In previous research, much attention has been rightly paid to top-down models of classification, challenging us to think critically about the authority behind classificatory structures. This paper, however, turns to the work of George Chauncey, to two studies of sexual subcultures in the early-mid twentieth century, and to contemporary folksonomic classifications of subjects and desires in online search engines to rethink our binary understandings of authority in the development of sexual nomenclatures and classifications as always either top-down or bottom-up. This paper also extends my own research, which considers the knowledge organization of phenomena that do not “belong” within a set of boundaries, especially where classification systems meet the politics of ontologies, diverse ways of being. Specifically, this paper complicates the examples I provide in my essay, “Tabulating Queer: Space, Perversion, and Belonging” (Knowledge Organization, Fall 2009) of the way queer phenomena are both dependent on and resistant to classification. My analysis is informed by approaches to the question of socially constructed classifications of gender and sexuality offered by the history and philosophy of science, feminism, and queer theory. This paper is situated in a broader study of the government, scientific, and library classifications of gender and sexuality as tools for administration, information retrieval, and knowledge representation.

  • Suellen Oliveira Milani, Sao Paulo State University, Marilia, Brazil
    Fabio Assis Pinho, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

Knowledge representation and orthophemism: a reflection aiming to a concept

Description: Characteristics of speech, especially figures of speech, are used by specific communities or domains, and, in this way, reflect their identities through their choice of vocabulary. This topic should be an object of study in the context of knowledge representation once it deals with different contexts of production of documents. This study aims to explore the dimensions of the concepts of euphemism, dysphemism and orthophemism, focusing on the latter with the goal of extracting a concept which can be included in discussions about subject analysis and indexing. Euphemism is used as an alternative to a non-preferred expression or as an alternative to an offensive attribution – to avoid potential offense taken by the listener or by other persons, for instance pass way . Dysphemism, on the other hand, is used by speakers to talk about people and things that frustrate and annoy them – their choice of language indicates disapproval and the topic is therefore denigrated, humiliated, or degraded, for instance kick the bucket . While euphemism tries to make something sound better, dysphemism tries to make something sound worse. Orthophemism is also used as an alternative to expressions, but it is a preferred, formal, and direct language of expression when representing an object or a situation, for instance die . This paper suggests that the concept of orthophemism serves to support associative relationships in the context of subject analysis, indexing, and even information retrieval related to more specific requests.

  • Fabio Assis Pinho, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
    Jose Agusto Guimaraes, Sao Paulo State University, Marilia, Brazil

The male homosexuality in Brazilian indexing languages: Some ethical quiestions

Description: The studies on ethics in Information Organization have deeply contributed to the recognition of the social dimension of Information Science, which is justified by the assumption of social inclusion as a metavalue (in opposition to social prejudice and proselytism) inserted in a tri-dimensional axiological universe: the information, the user and the librarian (Guimarães, 2000). Therefore, the subject approach to information (e.g. indexings,classification) is linked to an ethical dimension because one of its major concerns is related to its reliability and usefulness in a specific discoursive community or knowledge domain. As pointed out by Lopez Huertas (2008) and Ibewke SanJuan and SanJuan (2010), ethical studies on information organization can be considered one of thje most increasing research subjects in LIS nowadays In this sense, this topic is current and is the subject of investigation by many researchers from different countries (Beall, 1980; Dahlberg, 1992; Hudon, 1997; Leblond, 1999; Arot, 2000; Rafferty, 2001; Begthol, 2002, 2005; Fernandez-Molina & Guimarães, 2002; Garcia-Gutiérrez, 2002; Olson, 2000, 2002, 2003; Van der Waalt, 2002; Guimarães & Fernandez-Molina, 2003; Sigel, 2004; Thellefsen & Thellefsen, 2004; Bair, 2005; Guimarães et al., 2005, 2008, 2009; Guimarães, 2006; Pinho, 2006, Gimarães & Pinho, 2007, 2008; Guimarães, Milani and Pinho, 2008; Milani, 2010 etc). In a more apecific approach, the ethical dimension of information organization of subjects related to homossexuality have been studied by the literature (Berman, 1971; Greenblatt, 1990; Silva, 2003; Christensen, 2008; Pinho, 2010; Martínez-Ávila, D.; Fox, M.; Olson, H., 2011). In this sense, it is proposed an exploratory and documental research with qualitative and inductive characteristics to identify the maximum terminological specificity that the main Brazilian indexing languages – National Library Subject Headings, Federal Senate Subject Headings and University of São Paulo Subject Headings – can reach for terms relating to male homosexuality. The investigative corpus  is composed by the keywords assigned to papers published in the Journal of Homosexuality, Sexualities and Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, between 2005 and 2009. The results show that Brazilian indexing languages are not considered enough precise to represent specific male homosexuality subjects. Also, the lack of terminological control is perceived in terms like gay  and homosexual  as well as the use of the qualifier ‘people of the same sex ‘. Moreover, it was seen that some terms are figures of speech that sometimes were appropriated by the group and their meanings reconsidered as, for example, gay  and queer , meaning those who had pejorative before they’re taken to another sense in order to minimize a hostile ambience. The results also show terminological imprecision in Brazilian indexing languages (sometimes demanding an “approximation of meaning”) like prejudices, artificial terminology imposed by the ‘politically correct’ movement (as a result of forces of tension), biased representation (including improper and sometimes inaccurate representation) and the presence of figures of speech underlying the discourse community (and reflected in the assigned articles’ keywords) that are not supported by the indexing languages analyzed.

  • Dean Seeman, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Naming names: The ethics of identification in digital library metadata

Description: Adding names to metadata is a basic function of knowledge organization. The process of indicating creators, contributors and other associated people or entities is generally ethically uncomplicated. Metadata professionals ideally add enough access points to fairly represent people associated with a physical item or digital object so that users can reliably find that material. However, adding identities to metadata is not always this straight forward. In the case of digital library material, whether the intent of the original creator of the item was for it to be made available publicly clouds the issue somewhat. The ethical considerations become amplified even further in the case of visual material (photographs, videos, etc.) in digital libraries. Here, the metadata practitioner is likely the only person making a link between an identity and an object. Although a photographer or director may be listed as the “creator” of an object – what rights do people who actually appear in the visual objects have, particularly if the person appearing in the digital object could not have envisioned the object being put online and accessed globally? This paper will discuss the ethical implications of adding names to metadata of people who appear in digital library visual objects. What is the impact of a metadata professional creating and globally publicizing (in the case of digital libraries) a link between someone’s name and the object in which they appear? The rights of the person being identified will be examined and considered in relation to the rights of the user and of the cataloguer/metadata specialist. Is it a breach of privacy to include a name in metadata? Is it an unethical professional practice not to include a name? How would the metadata specialist gauge the consent of people appearing in visual material? Does the published or unpublished nature of an object affect consent? Ethical implications of adding names to metadata in this context will be explored, with reference to the literature on resource description ethics and using examples from Memorial University of Newfoundland’s digital library.

  • Joseph T. Tennis, University of Washington

A convenient verisimilitude or oppressive internalization? Characterizing the ethical arguments surrounding hierarchical structures in knowledge organization systems

Description: Hierarchy, broadly defined is a ranking. And though it is applied in many contexts, in the case of bibliographic classification we are concerned with classes of documents ranked from broad to narrower meaning. There are various ways we can formalize and operationalize this general definition. For example, we might say that broad classes have a greater extension and lesser extension than narrower classes. This would mean there are more items (documents) in a broader class than a narrower class. Likewise, the narrower class would have more characteristics (greater intension) than a broader one. However, researchers have also viewed hierarchy as reification of patriarchal structures (Olson, 2007), where the rank is from more important to less important or where ranks are seen to belie gendered biases in collocation. Examples include the case of lesbians in DDC where they cannot be both women and homosexual because of the way characteristics of classes are ranked. A similar argument is sometimes made for non-Western views for similar reasons (cf. Doyle, 2006). In this paper I (1) present and categorize extant definitions of hierarchy, (2) review arguments for the reading ethical commitments into hierarchical structures, and (3) highlight the epistemic assumptions made by these arguments. In so doing, we see a point of epistemic discomfort in attributing ethical value to hierarchical structures in isolation. First, in most cases the question of whether or not hierarchies are value laden depends on semantics as well as structure. The ranking of items or characteristics of items is, by itself, little discussed without mention of the semantics of term and classes. Second, the question of purpose is often implicit, confused, or secondary to the critique. Frequently, the reason designers of bibliographic classification would build hierarchical structures is often not the point of departure or point of return in ascribing ethical value to the system. Finally, proposals for eliminating hierarchy seem to not link semantics and purpose to the original intent of the classificationist. From this analysis we can ask whether ascribing ethical value to hierarchy comports with reality or is a construction with a particular intent in a particular context. That is, is hierarchy verisimilitudinous or a social construct internalized? If it is either of these things, we must then address what it means (semantics) and what it is both designed for and useful for (purpose). I then argue two things. First, that ethical critiques of classification should not stop at hierarchy, but rather include both semantics and purpose in the discussion. And, that we work reflexively on our epistemic commitments when we make ethics claims in regard to bibliographic classification generally and to hierarchy specifically. This will allow us to fruitfully discuss classification evaluation as neither convenient verisimilitude or oppressive internalization, but rather as a tool we can use in our craft.

  • Jane Zhang, School of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America

Archival context, digital content, and the ethics of digital archival representation

Description: The findings of my two recent studies on digital archival representation have brought to my attention some ethical concerns regarding archival description and representation in digital archives. One study (current project, internally funded) investigates the typological patterns of how archivists organize and present archival collections that are digitized partially or entirely and the major approaches adopted by them to incorporate digital object metadata into digital archival description. The other study (dissertation research completed in 2010), among other things, explores the relationships between original order (structure and metadata) of digital records and their representation systems in digital archives. The typological study analyzes the online finding aids of 27 sample digitized archival collections selected from a systematically collected pool of 276 digital collections made available online by archives and special collections. The analysis reveals a three-model and two-format pattern in digital archival organization and representation. Digital content can be linked at various levels in the hierarchical archival finding aids (embedded model ), made searchable using standard metadata schema and separate from archival finding aids (segregated model ), or represented and displayed in both models (parallel model ). This leads to a tentative conclusion of the incompatible status of representation of archival context in inventory format , and representation of digital content in metadata format  in digital archival environments. The original order study analyzes three digital archival cases in terms of identification, processing, and representation of original structure and metadata of digital records in digital archives. One of the important findings is a two-layer representation practice in digital archives, i.e., higher-level representation (archival context) supplied by archivists, and lower-level representation (digital content) transferred from recordkeeping systems to digital preservation systems and linked to digital archival representation systems. The findings of the two studies raise some ethical concerns about how digital (digitized and born-digital) archival materials are organized, described and made available for use on the Web. Archivists have a fundamental obligation to preserve and protect the authenticity and integrity of records in their holdings and at the same time have the responsibility to promote the use of records as a fundamental purpose of the keeping of archives (SAA Code of Ethics for Archivists V & VI). Is it an ethical practice that digital content in digital archives is deeply embedded in its contextual structure and generally underrepresented in digital archival systems? Similarly, is it ethical for archivists to detach digital items from their archival context in order to make them more “digital friendly” and more accessible to meet needs of some users? Do archivists have obligation (and is it feasible) to bring the two representation systems together so that the context and content of digital archives can be better represented and archival materials “can be located and used by anyone, for any purpose, while still remaining authentic evidence of the work and life of the creator”? (Laura Millar, Archives Principles and Practices, Neal-Schuman, 2010, p.157) This paper discusses the findings of the two studies and their ethical implications relating to digital archival description and representation.

Ethics of KOrg Conference 2012 (videos)

International Symposium on the Future of Information Organization Research (October 4-5, 2010)

Speakers and Presentations:

  • Allyson Carlyle, Associate Professor, Information School, University of Washington

The Library, The Catalog, and the Future of Information Organization Research

Description: Research in information organization in our field began in the context of the library. Now libraries are struggling with issues related to identity and purpose. The world of library cataloging mirrors this struggle, and the future of the library catalog is in question. Resource Description and Access (RDA), the current draft of a new code international cataloging rules, is mired in controversy. Tools such as the Dewey Decimal Classification and the Library of Congress Subject Headings are under constant attack as being inadequate in the face of the wide variety of backgrounds and interests of the users of those tools. This presentation explores the tumultuous current state of affairs in libraries and library cataloging, focusing on implications for research.

  • Lois Mai Chan, Professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of Kentucky

Folksonomy and Subject Indexing

Description: The main purposes of the two-part presentation is to: (1) summarize recent research and development relating to controlled subject vocabularies; (2) to examine and analyze social bookmarking as an activity of subject analysis and representation; and, (3) the potential bridging of the two approaches to subject representation of information resources. The two presentations will include a report on recent research projects on traditional subject cataloging/indexing vocabularies and an introduction to social bookmarking and user-assigned tags, followed by a comparison of social bookmarking and subject indexing. It concludes with a report on preliminary experiments on mapping social bookmarks to traditional subject vocabularies.

  • Hsueh-Hua Chen, Professor and University Librarian, Department of Library & Information Science, National Taiwan University

The Implementation of Collection-Level Description – Taiwan’s Experience

Description: This presentation depicts the implementation process of the collection-level description of Taiwan’s digital archives program — TELDAP. The implementation process, which is divided into five stages, looks into collection-level description in order to eliminate problems users might encounter when accessing and retrieving resources caused by having only large amounts of item-level metadata. For the sake of facilitating the application of collection-level description, a revised schema was integrated with currently available description standards. In addition to highlighting the specific measures taken during the implementation, the presentation will also consider intended future work, including the fortifying of relationships between item-level and collection-level metadata, and the providing of versions in different languages, in hopes of expanding the accessibility of valuable resources to more users.

  • Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, Interim Dean and Professor, School of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America

People, Information, and Technology: A Research Agenda for Information Organization Professionals

Description: Information organization is the cornerstone of the library and information science field. The presenter will explain why people, information, and technology are three areas information organization researchers need to investigate in order for the profession to remain relevant and competitive in the 21st century. Issues in each area that deserve attention from researchers will be discussed. Methodologies for advancing understanding and knowledge on these issues will be identified. Challenges in studying people, information, and technology will be discussed, and strategies for research success and application will be recommended. Audience will have opportunities to identify additional research issues and the presenter will prioritize research topics in each area with the audience.

  • Wen-Chin Lan, Assistant Professor, Department of Library & Information Science, National Taiwan University
    Hur-Li Lee, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Traditional Chinese Bibliography Meets the Future

Description: This presentation describes findings from an ongoing research project on the Qilue (七略; Seven Epitomes), the first documented library catalog in imperial China, to showcase a serious effort in broadening the small and isolated field of traditional Chinese bibliography. Through the use of the terminology familiar internationally, the project has identified the purposes and bibliographic objectives of the catalog and achieved an improved understanding of its main classificatory structure and epistemological approach. The discussion will specifically call attention to unique characteristics of the Chinese tradition and their relevance to future research and development in information organization.

  • Patrick Le Boeuf, Library Curator, “Pôle de communication et formation professionnelles” [Office for communication on and training in cataloging activities], National Library of France

From FRBR to FRBRoon Through Cidoc CRM: A Common Ontology for Cultural Heritage Information

Description: In the 1990s, both the library and the museum community developed a conceptual model for the information they produce about the cultural heritage they preserve: FRBR for bibliographic information, in the entity-relationship formalism, and CIDOC CRM for museum information, in the object-oriented formalism. The FRBR model has been reformulated in the object-oriented formalism so as to become an extension to the CIDOC CRM. The presentation will highlight the main features of the resulting FRBROO model; the impact of this merging process on both FRBR and CIDOC CRM; and will address the issue of cultural biases in conceptual modeling.

  • Jens-Erik Mai, Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Information

The Illusion of Objectivity: The Modern Invention of the Catalog

Description: Representation and organization of information has traditionally aimed at being neutral, unbiased, and objective. The goal has been to represent and organize documents based on their inherent subject matter and casting the classifier or indexer as a disinterested intermediary. Research in information organization is often founded on modernity’s notions of dualism (by separating information content from the reader), de-traditionalization (by assuming that documents can be represented independently of activities that produced and uses them), and globalization (by assuming that documents can be represented independently of time and space). In this talk, I will problematize modern information organization research’s illusion of objectivity and offer an alternative conceptual foundation for information organization research.

  • Hope A Olson, Professor and Interim Dean, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The Illusion of Objectivity: The Modern Invention of the Catalog

Description: Export of western classificatory structure developed through Athenian logic, European theory, and American efficiency heightens the risk of cultural homogenization inherent in globalization. This talk reviews the history of that structure. Grounded in philosophy, western classificatory structure was widely adopted in other fields as a cultural paradigm obvious in the open xenophobia of Durkheim and Mauss’s Primitive Classification. However, as identified in this presentation, traces of cultural supremacy occur throughout the western tradition. This history questions the universality of western classificatory structure and establishes the need to develop applications, including bibliographic classifications, that will simultaneously respect cultural differences and develop cultural connections.

  • Ming-Shu Yuan, Associate Professor, Department of Information and Communication, Shih Hsin University

The Implementation of Knowledge Analysis and Organization in the Professional Domain

Description: Advances in technology and the information environment have precipitated a change in the field of knowledge analysis. As Hjørland points out, domain experts and library professionals should engage in domain analysis collaboratively, such as in literature guides or subject gateways, specialized classifications and thesauri, empirical user studies, terminological studies, bibliometrics studies, or in research on indexing and retrieving. After years of efforts, specialized knowledge organization systems analyses have been developed in areas like biblometrics (cited and citing relation), industry information analysis and patent or technology analysis (analysis of R & D capabilities). However, analysts must possess professional capabilities to fulfill the task of analyzing and organizing. This paper presents a model for development in knowledge analysis, knowledge auditing, knowledge extract (or discovery), knowledge representation, and information system designs which utilize task-oriented knowledge resources; it will also provide recommendations for future development.

Ethics of Information Organization Conference (May 22-23, 2009)

Speakers and Presentations:

  • Clare Beghtol, Professor, University of Toronto

Users, the User, a User

Description: The point of departure for this talk is the differences- cultural, linguistic, and national- assumed by different generations of knowledge organization codes and searching possibilities. In the last nineteenth century Cutter, Dewey, etc., could reasonably assume relatively homogeneous groups of “users” in libraries.They could assume that these users were English-speaking Americans who were relatively well-educated and were using a library catalogue in an open-shelf library and searching for bibliographic records. By the mid-twentieth century, researchers and practitioners were beginning to talk about “the user” in the sense of a member of a group that was using a library catalogue or an indexed database, and a broader group of users was assumed. Access to those catalogues or databases could either be manual or mechanical or sometimes electronic, but the user had to got to a general or special library or some other kind of institution (archives, hospital, etc.) in order to access the records and find the documents. Throughout this period, it was never assumed that the user was accessing records from home (except in the possible case of printed indexes the user had purchased). Now, we need to talk about “a user” who might do these searches in an institutional setting, but more and more often can access electronic records and the documents they want to see from a computer in their home or place of work. The ethical implications of this shift from a relatively homogeneous group of “users” to “a user” about whom no assumptions can be made are profound. We cannot assume homogeneity of any kind, nor can we assume that information providers are interested in ethics or in an individual user’s assumptions and background. In this situation, we need to emphasize the changes that have taken place over the last hundred years, not only through computerization but also through the evolution of ideas about how to accommodate heterogeneous information and knowledge seekers.

  • Jose Augusto Chaves Guimaraes, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Marilia, Brazil

Ethical Values and Problems in Knowledge Organization and Representation: Elements for its Theoretical Categorization

Description: Considering the fact that information technologies have brought new and deeper ethical preoccupations to the Library and Information Science field, the presentation approaches the theoretical dimension of ethical values and problems involved in the knowledge organization and representation activities as well as presents a preliminary proposal for their categorization.

  • Janet Swan Hill, University of Colorado at Boulder

According to Code

Description: This paper deals with the that “few people actually know about the various statements concerning ethics and conduct, or know how to find them…and if they don’t know about them or where to find them, it stands to reason that they don’t think much about the. What my tentative plan is at this point is to talk about that: the standards that we have, where to find them, how we come to know about them, and how/whether we connect those theoretical standards to all areas of librarianship.”

  • Janet Swan Hill, University of Colorado at Boulder

According to Code

Description: This paper deals with the that “few people actually know about the various statements concerning ethics and conduct, or know how to find them…and if they don’t know about them or where to find them, it stands to reason that they don’t think much about the. What my tentative plan is at this point is to talk about that: the standards that we have, where to find them, how we come to know about them, and how/whether we connect those theoretical standards to all areas of librarianship.”

  • David Bade, University of Chicago

Ethos, Logos, Pathos or Sender, Message, Receiver? A Problematological Rhetoric For Information Technologies

Description: A rhetorical approach illuminates many aspects of information production and use, from spamming and computer viruses to user supplied metadata and the reuse of metadata in different contexts. Of particular interest are the implications of a problematological/rhetorical approach for the creation of metadata for 1) human users of IT, and 2) machine interoperability (e.g. the Semantic Web).

  • Cary S. Daniel, University of Western Ontario

Achieving Obligation in Information Organization: Some Novel Approaches

Description: An ethical approach to the description of resources, i.e. an obligatory engagement or discourse between cataloguer and researcher is described as an integral part of the research process. In fact, it serves as the (unseen) initial step in information organization.

  • Kristene Unsworth, University of Washington

Ethical Concerns of Information Policy and Organization in National Security

Description: In this paper I will discuss the ethical aspects of information organization as it is used for purposes of identifying threats (individual or actions) to national security. I ask if on a broad scale, will data that is collected and categorized according to a predetermined organizational scheme result in abuses of power.

  • Julianne Beall, Library of Congress

MARC 21 Bibliographic Format Field 083, Racially Mixed People, and DDC Table 5 Ethnic and National Groups

Description: This paper discusses how recent improvements in the MARC Bibliographic Format can help extend subject access to works about racially mixed people beyond that provided by the rules for constructing DDC numbers.

  • Julia Bauder, Grinnell College

Folksonomies, Wikipedia and the Semantic Web: Facilitating Culturally Appropriate Subject Access to Information on the Web

Description: In this paper, I argue for a model that mixes free-for-all tagging with a Wikipedia-like system in which any interested web user could participate in organizing their own and others’ idiosyncratic tags into a meaningful ontology. Such a system would continue to empower common Web users to arrange their information world in the way that is most meaningful and useful to them, as a free-form tagging does today, while also providing a mechanism by which free-form tags could be aggregated into socially meaningful information.

  • Richard Smiraglia, Long Island University

Bibliocentrism, Cultural Warrant, and the Ethics of Resource Description: A Cast Study

Description: The present study asks whether schemas for resource description restrict access by constraining objectivity. The purpose of this research is to inform ethical development of standards for resource description. The objective is to discover empirically, via case-study method, some of the ways in which standards for resource description might present threats to information ethics. The analysis of a set of specific cases will use national library bibliographic descriptions based on AACR2 uninterpreted.

  • Gretchen Hoffman, Texas Woman’s University

Meeting Users’ Needs in Cataloging: What is the Right Thing to Do?

Description: If catalogers in practice cannot customize bibliographic records, how can local users’ needs be met? Is valuing efficiency over customization ethical cataloging practice? Who is responsible for meeting users’ needs in cataloging? Should cataloging practice be more proactive in understanding their users and customizing bibliographic records? Should researchers and the developers of cataloging standards focus more on users? What is the “right” way for cataloging to help users and ensure equitable access to materials? This presentation will discuss these questions and will explore possible ways for cataloging to focus on users and meet users’ needs.

  • Joseph T. Tennis, University of Washington

Precepts for Engaged Knowledge Organization

Description: This paper lays our 14 questions about the decisions required of Knowledge Organization in relation to 1? conceptional models of the process and products of knowledge organization, 2) the precepts of Engaged Buddhism, and 3) then maps questions of the ethics of KO in relation to the Right Action advanced by the precepts, offering 4) a set of proposed precepts for Engaged Knowledge Organization. It is hoped that these proposed precepts will help guide thought and action in relation to the ethics of Knowledge Organization.

Ethics of KOrg Conference 2009 (videos)