Information Studies


Research areas

On-going research in knowledge organization

Staff are involved in the continuing development of a number of large international standards for knowledge organization, both for descriptive work, and for subject cataloguing. Work associated with the Bliss Bibliographic Classification ranges from the development of subject specific terminologies to blue sky research into digital management and application of faceted systems.

Recent publications also include several historical studies of classification and cataloging practice, and the development of online catalogues.

Universal Decimal Classification

Vanda Broughton has been associated with the Universal Decimal Classification since 1997, when her first post at DIS was as Research Assistant on the UDC revision under the Editorship of Professor I. C. McIlwaine. The following ten years was a period of considerable rationalization and innovation in the classification, with a powerful move towards a faceted structure. This also involved a complete re-examination of the classification data structure, largely carried out by DIS doctoral students Ines Cordeiro and Aida Slavic. Since 2007 Ines Cordeiro has been Editor-in-Chief, and Vanda Broughton and Aida Slavic Associate Editors, of this important international classification, the only general scheme which is principally European in origin.

The UDC Consortium recently organized a highly successful conference "Classification at the crossroads", attended by 135 delegates from 32 countries. A one day Round Table for the Editorial Board provided an excellent opportunity for the dissemination of recent work on the classification, and a discussion of revision strategy. Vanda Broughton presented her recent work on the revision of religion as the basis of a discussion of the implications of using BC2 terminologies. Incorporating the faceted structure into the MRF database has raised a number of technical and intellectual problems for the editors. This was reinforced by a presentation from Professors McIlwaine and Williamson who are involved in the lengthy conversion of BC2 Health sciences terminology to a UDC format

UDC Associate Editors Vanda Broughton and Aida Slavic at the UDC Round Table

Some publications related to UDC

  • Editor-in-Chief Ines Cordeiro (PhD UCL), Associate Editor Aida Slavic (PhD UCL) and Associate Editor Vanda Broughton are all authors of a number of publications on UDC.
  • Vanda Broughton "Concepts and terms in the faceted classification: the case of UDC"Paper presented at UDC International Seminar: Classification at the crossroads. 29-30 October, 2009, The Hague Presentation (To be published in Knowledge organization)
  • Broughton, Vanda 'A new classification for the literature of religion'. Paper read at the 66th IFLA Council and General Conference Jerusalem Israel 13-18 August, 2000 (Also published as 'A new classification for the literature of religion', International cataloguing and bibliographic control 2000(4))

Dewey Decimal Classification

John Bowman is a member of the CILIP Dewey Decimal Classification Committee which advises the DDC Editorial Policy Committee, and provides a British perspective on the evolving classification.

Bliss Bibliographic Classification

The second edition of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification (BC2), in the process of creation since the 1970s, is the largest faceted terminology currently available, and the only faceted general system of classification in the western world. It represents the most modern thinking on facet analytical theory, and the development of new schedules constantly reveals new approaches and techniques to faceted information retrieval. Maintained and managed by the Bliss Classification Association much of the work on BC2 has been carried out by staff at DIS, and by members of groups associated with DIS, such as the Classification Research Group, and ISKO UK. The BC2 terminologies have also played an important part in the revision programme of the UDC, and in pure research projects such as FATKS.

Some recent and forthcoming publications related to BC2

  • "Bliss Bibliographic Classification: 2nd edition"
    Encyclopedia of library & information science
    New York: Taylor & Francis [in press]
  • "Finding Bliss on the web: some problems of representing faceted terminologies in digital environments"Eleventh International ISKO Conference: paradigms and conceptual systems in KO 23-26 February, 2010, Rome
  • "Language related problems in the construction of faceted terminologies and their automatic management" inCulture and identity in knowledge organization: proceedings of the Tenth International ISKO Conference, 5-8 August 2008, Montréal, Canada. Arsenault, Clément and Tennis, Joseph, eds. Wurzburg: Ergon, 2008
  • "A faceted classification as the basis of a faceted terminology"
    2008 18(2) 193-210 Springer online DOI 10.1007/s10516-007-9027-7

Current work on BC2, in addition to the creation of new subject terminologies, is focused on the viability of automatic generation of a thesaurus format, and the wider applicability of facet analysis as a general semantic theory.
The mechanics of expressing faceted terminologies in web representation languages is also a current area of research. 

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules

John Bowman is a member of the CILIP/British Library Committee on AACR which, in conjunction with committees in the the US, Canada, and Australia, oversees the Rules, through representation on the Joint Steering Committee of AACR. As the British Library website says:

Cataloguing rules are not static; they must respond to changing needs. A number of continuing issues affecting implementation of AACR have been compounded in recent years by the fast-moving pace of technological development and its impact on publishing patterns.

As a result, a new code is in the process of creation, with the working title 'Resource description and access' (RDA) which addresses the needs of the digital environment. John is also a member of the RDA Examples Group of the Joint Steering Committee of AACR.