Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vanishing point   no comments

Posted at 7:42 pm in Uncategorized

Recently our research group hosted the Third Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization. It was chock full of good things, and I’ll try to write about that later.

It was the occasion of the publication of our group’s second book Ontology for Knowledge Organization.

As part of the celebration we had a small “exhibit” of our two books (the other one was the 2012 Cultural Frames of Knowledge) and some example issues of Knowledge Organization together with some posters provided by Ergon Verlag.

Curiously, all of the example issues of KO and some of the “for-sale” copies of our new book vanished into thin air.

Written by lazykoblog on June 16th, 2015

Boundary objects or Herding cats?   no comments

We have received some fascinating manuscripts for Knowledge Organization recently. Some of them come from outside KO but with a bent toward information, others come from disciplines completely apart from ours. All of them speak directly to our domain about the phenomena that comprise our science. All of them were problematic in peer-review.

If we are going to thrive as a science principally concerned with knowledge, then we must be open to learning what others have to teach us about our own phenomena. There is, I suppose, a fine line between accepting work that does not fit into our discussion because it fails to acknowledge our domain, on the one hand, and work that in essence contributes to our domain even if the authors have naively underrepresented their intersection with our domain. Was that diplomatic enough?

We have to show these authors where the intersections are, we have to point out the boundary objects. Then we have to suggest how the papers can be reconfigured to speak more cogently to our domain. It is, curiously, the realization of epistemology within our science. It is how we approach true interdisciplinarity.

And then we have to take it one step further by stopping ourselves from wandering off aimlessly or turning our backs on new ideas just because they did not spring from within a culture of classification. We have to reach across those boundaries and invite conversation. It is hard work, but it is essential for the advance of KO as a domain.

Written by lazykoblog on September 14th, 2014

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What a concept!   no comments

Posted at 12:39 am in Uncategorized

I recently completed a rich analysis of the entirety of American Documentation in order to trace the evolution of the concept of a concept across that era of the growth of the emerging field of information science. I wrote a short paper on the subject for CAIS 2014 (available here:

The “abstract” is this: A core entity of information science is the “concept.” Agreement on the basic definition as a mental construct representing a concrete instance, conceals divergence in understanding of the nuances. A case study of the domain’s nascent era represented by American Documentation reveals some of the contours of the terms evolution.

There were lots of fun things to be encountered in those years of AD, and I was going to upload some photos of things like the rapid selector and Termatrex and so on, until I went to do so and found all of those “further reproduction prohibited” notices. Oh well. The whole run is available to ASIST members in the ASIST Digital Library.

I thought it was fascinating to see how interwoven knowledge organization was in those early days of documentation into information science. There was a lengthy evolution of something called “the duality concept,” which was an expression of the dichotomies between known-fact and browsing, between simple and complex terminology, and thus between isolate and hierarchy.

Stay tuned: a lengthy journal article is forthcoming.

Written by lazykoblog on August 5th, 2014

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just in case anybody’s paying attention   no comments

Posted at 8:51 pm in Uncategorized

I haven’t made a new post to this blog in quite awhile.

However, I have been sitting at my desk today for seven hours now working on Knowledge Organization. I probably have another seven hours to go to get caught up. Not including editing the next issue.

Just saying ….

Written by lazykoblog on November 22nd, 2013

sir veigh   no comments

Posted at 3:53 am in Uncategorized

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Let me repeat .. ok, never mind … but it does mean that a) I know the difference between a survey, which is what George Washington did, and a questionnaire, which is a survey (!) instrument; and b) I am appalled at the use of the “survey” for commercial interests. Every time I buy something I am asked to “fill out the survey, it will just take a few minutes” (add it all up, it’s hours per day!), and if I dare give someone less than a stellar rating (which I must do, if the rating is to have any meaning) I am punished by being phoned and queried mercilessly.


Written by lazykoblog on June 21st, 2013

there’s no such thing as   no comments

Posted at 3:50 am in Uncategorized

“woken up”

the phrase is either “I woke up” or “I was awakened”

Written by lazykoblog on June 21st, 2013

Epistemology as a dimension of knowledge organization   no comments

I was recently one of a handful of keynote speakers at ISKO Brazil, meeting in Rio de Janeiro, May 27-29. It was my first trip to Brazil, and I was just a little shocked to find myself sitting at a bar at Ipanema listening to Bossa Nova. I texted my sister, because our mother (who passed away about a year ago) used to dream of such a thing. Well, be that as it might, I won’t write here about culture shock, I’ll come back to that.

I spent some time musing about dimensions and how epistemology could be a dimension of knowledge organization. In the end my presentation became rather pedantic, but that is because I think there is too much wiggle room in ISKO about just what knowledge organization is. And I think that is problematic for a domain that thinks of itself as a science.

I’ll try to write more about this soon.

Here are some photos from my trip. escondodinho 1 escondodinho 2 ipanema 1 ipanema 2 ipanema 3 ipanema 4 obligatory Jesus

And here is a pdf of my presentation, which I think also is available on ISKO Brazil’s website, but caveat emptor, this is not a formal research presentation. Smiraglia_Epistemological Dimension of KO

More later.

Written by lazykoblog on June 12th, 2013

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Universes, Dimensions Domains, Intensions, Extensions: Knowledge Organization for the 21st Century   no comments

Posted at 3:17 pm in Uncategorized

At the 12th International ISKO Conference in Mysore, I gave the “keynote” address at the opening session. The preliminary text of the paper is in the proceedings, which all conference-goers received on site. Printed copies may be acquired from Ergon-Verlag in the West, or in Asia from the Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science ( or

The abstract is:

In KO there is work to solidify concept theory, which is at the core of our discipline; but there are other dimensions, as well as suggestions that classification must engage a multi-verse. This paper encompasses a domain analysis of KO as a means of visualizing the emergence and coherence of our domain, and as a way of denominating the parameters of the universe (or universes) in which our domain operates, as well as the dimensions of the operational paradigms at work. In other words, we look here at the extension and intension of KO as a domain. KO as a domain demonstrates coherence across time and across geo-political boundaries, particularly as it concerns its theoretical foundations. Consistently marked dimensions within the domain: theoretical versus applied on one continuum, humanistic versus scientific on another. These dimensions serve to maintain constructive and dynamic tension within the domain, which in turn keeps the research front constantly in a state of renewal.

In the event, I added a set of final slides, which all were versions of this illustration:

Image The four quadrants of the dark circle in the center illustrate the extension of KO, which has shifted temporally from the search for universal classification to attempts to increase interoperability, and the methodological continuum in the domain, which stretches from empirical science to humanist narrative. The background quadrants represent the shifting intension of the domain, which runs from concept theory to applied systems.

The following remarks are not in the proceedings, but were in my talk:

-we need to understand facets as more than simple categories;

-the same entity, viewed from within, or across, different dimensions, will have different characteristics and especially different contextual boundaries

-even instantiations on a time-space trajectory can be seen not as a linear sequence, but instead as points with related intellectual context but each standing in a different dimension

Knowledge Organization in the 21st Century must:

-not be constrained by shifting extensions, but embrace them as boundaries for faceted dimensions (rather than concretizing, see social tagging as a dimensional hallmark for re-perceiving indexing, etc.; use ontogenetic approaches to move KOS from concrete fixed systems to systems that are flexible in a time-space dimension, etc.

-embrace methodological pluralism by more fully embracing epistemological contexts—empiricism as qualitative, for example, or historicism as part of the time-space dimension.

Written by lazykoblog on August 14th, 2012

Mysore   no comments

Posted at 12:30 pm in Uncategorized

Image I’m just back in the Netherlands after a week in India for the 12th International ISKO Conference “Categories, Relations and Contexts in Knowledge Organization, University of Mysore, 6-9 August 2012.”

To say it was an exciting event is the understatement of the century in KO. We had four jam-packed days of contributed papers, invited sponsored lectures, Indian dance, Indian food, and Indian culture.

The opening ceremony was the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, with the lighting of the torch of knowledge: Image a choir to sing the anthem of the university, and the launching of IOrg’s new book Cultural Frames of Knowledge, Image, which was presented in a package of golden paper, unwrapped on the dais by Prof. Naik (a noted physicist) and the president of the university. Image I gave the keynote Image really, I did Image. So there. The text (except the last bit) is in the proceedings.

Appalling was the near total absence of North Americans and western Europeans. There were about 6 Americans, 2 Canadians, a couple of French and Germans. There were a host of Brazilians, who turned out in force. Even more appalling was the number of papers from North Americans who did not show up but had them read by people who did.

I’ve lots more to say, of more substance, in future posts. This is the official “whistle whetter.”

Written by lazykoblog on August 12th, 2012

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I Simposio Internacional sobre Organizacion del Conocimiento, Bibliotecologia y Terminologia   no comments

Posted at 9:16 pm in domain analysis,Uncategorized

This marvelous conference took place in Mexico City in August of 2007. It was announced as the First International Symposium on Knowledge Organization, Library Science, and Terminology, and was held at UNAM’s Centro- Universitario de Investigaciones Bibliotecologicas.

The proceedings became available recently, and an analysis appears in my editorial in Knowledge Organization vol. 38 no. 1 (2011): 3-8.

The original Excel data file is here: Mexico City Simposio 2007

Written by lazykoblog on March 16th, 2011

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