Observing trajectories of KOSs Across Space and Time: The DANS KOS Observatory (KOSo)

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Knowledge Organization Systems (KOSs) include a wide variety of schemas ranging from ontologies, to classifications, thesauri, taxonomies, semantic networks, etc. These schemas can be updated and revised (or conversely become obsolete or lost) and are therefore prone to change over time. A wish expressed frequently by the research front in the KO community was for an “observatory” of KOSs. In 2017, via the KNAW Visiting Professor programme, DANS [1] began to focus more on understanding how KOSs change over time, how they can be archived, how version identification and control can be addressed, and also, how KOSs can be aligned to the ‘FAIR’ Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). This research ambition coupled with community interest lead to the creation of the KOSo (Knowledge Organization Systems Observatory). Concretely, the observatory involves the identification of KOSs within the social sciences and humanities or the life sciences. KOSs have been described and ordered in the observatory through a process of empirical association in order to resist the potential pitfall of already organizing these resources through the lens of other KOSs (e.g. already describing the KOS in terms of existing controlled vocabularies). KOSo employs both metadata terms and formal classifications, using the Information Coding Classification in a synthetic format together with the KO Literature Classification, thus rendering for each KOS a domain-centric term faceted with a KOS-form term. Additionally, we classify domains using the NARCIS Classification, which is a framework to represent the research foci of the Dutch national research infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings from North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization - NASKO
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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