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Conference Report


D-Lib Magazine
November 2005

Volume 11 Number 11

ISSN 1082-9873

Report on the 4th European Networked Knowledge Organization Systems/Services (NKOS) Workshop

Mapping Knowledge Organization Systems


Doug Tudhope
School of Computing
University of Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
Wales, UK

Red Line


The 4th European Networked Knowledge Organization Systems/Services (NKOS) Workshop, organized by Doug Tudhope and Marianne Lykke Nielsen, took place on September 22 in Vienna as part of ECDL 2005. The full-day workshop was attended by 25 people. All presentations are on the Workshop website <>.

Knowledge Organization Systems/services (KOS), such as classifications, gazetteers, lexical databases, ontologies, taxonomies and thesauri, attempt to model the underlying semantic structure of a domain. A vast legacy of these intellectual knowledge structures is available, with new ones continually created. Modern digital information systems afford more options for mapping and using these intellectual structures than traditional physical libraries. The workshop addressed some of the challenges involved in leveraging the full potential of KOS for advanced DL applications.

The first session (chaired by Doug Tudhope) continued the user-centred theme introduced in the 2004 workshop. Pertti Vakkari discussed a study comparing a general thesaurus with a domain-specific thesaurus in matching naturally occurring expressions in a medical setting, taking account of thesaurus relationships. Azam Sanatjoo reported on a user-centred case study on work-oriented thesaurus design at the Danish Royal Veterinary & Agricultural University. Marianne Lykke Nielsen presented an evaluation study of the innovative Metadata++ multi-tree KOS that combines multiple vocabularies, with domain users from the US Forest Service. This was followed by a discussion session on practical, real-world applications of KOS. Ron Davies led the discussion and gave an initial overview with examples from a recent project building a unified taxonomy for a large, multi-department organisation. It emerged that, in addition to technical concerns, attention to organisational human factors in an environment where notions of users and applications are changing, dealing with multiple types of KOS and addressing cost/benefit issues are important.

The second session focused on mapping and semantic interoperability issues. It was chaired by Traugott Koch, who outlined the issues, drawing on a recent state of the art review by the DELOS Cluster on Knowledge Extraction and Semantic Interoperability. Alistair Miles reported on developments with the W3C's SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organisation Systems) Core RDF Schema and discussed current issues, including mapping/multilinguality, versioning, services/API and an extension capability. Margherita Sini discussed the FAO's experiences with a major multilingual project mapping between the FAO Multilingual Thesaurus (AGROVOC) and the Chinese Agricultural Thesaurus (CAT). Bob Bater discussed another real life case study of KOS application to a knowledge management application for the London Underground, involving third order knowledge mapping. Peter Schier presented initial results from a project exploring spreading activation techniques over an ontology created by an associative mapping of domain KOS.

Marianne Lykke Nielsen chaired the third Briefing Session which reported on the latest results from four ongoing KOS-related projects. Stella Dextre Clarke gave an update of the work to revise the UK BSI Thesaurus Standards. Ed Fox discussed NKOS research implications arising from the (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Initiative) Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. Lillian Cassel discussed practical KOS construction issues posed by the Citidel Project's need for a unified classification for a computing education Digital Library. Jean-Claude Ziswiler presented initial results from a project to build Digital Libraries by integrating 'hyperbooks' of small domain ontologies and loosely structured fragments.

In the final concluding discussion, participants identified various open issues and themes for continuing work/collaboration and future workshop sessions:

  • Need to collect Case studies and Cost/benefit studies
  • Evaluation methodologies for KOS-based design, mapping, retrieval
  • SKOS-related discussions on applications and extensions, SKOS mapping schema, SKOS API
  • Distributed KOS creation and mapping tools
  • Semi-automatic KOS-based tools for mapping
  • Develop links between KOS and Knowledge Management communities
  • Support for significantly old KOS and databases

Further information on the workshop and links to the presentations can be found on the Workshop website at <>. NKOS is a community of researchers, developers and practitioners seeking to enable KOS, as networked interactive information services via the Internet. This was the fourth European NKOS Workshop – for details of the previous ECDL workshops, the recent DC05 workshop and the seven US NKOS Workshops to date, see the NKOS website <>.

Submissions are currently sought for a special edition of the New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia on Knowledge Organization Systems and Services – the submission deadline is January 16 2006. See call for papers on the journal website, <>.


Copyright © 2005 Doug Tudhope

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