HIVK03312U Knowledge Organization, Constituent elective A

Volume 2017/2018

The course surveys basic principles and concepts at play in the design and employment of knowledge organization systems, and as such it reviews fundamental knowledge organization principles and concepts; different approaches to organizing information; traditional, new, and emerging knowledge organization systems; issues in the design of knowledge organization systems; and the ethical implications of systems of information.  The course aims to provide students with a solid grasp of the theoretical foundation of knowledge organization, a sense of the diversity in approaches and systems, and an appreciation for the conceptual foundation of knowledge organization. The course prepares students to engage in the design and utilization of knowledge organization in many different kinds of environments, including businesses, web, special collections, libraries, research and NGOs.

Learning Outcome

Competence objectives for the module

The module provides students with

knowledge and understanding of: 

  • Different types of knowledge organization systems, including metadata systems,
  • Theories and methods in relation to design, construction, and evalua-tion of knowledge organization systems,
  • Theories and conceptions for representation and organization of infor-mation, incl. documents, entities, and other materials.


skills to: 

  • Reflect on knowledge organization theories and concepts,
  • Assess relevant approaches, models, methods, and conceptions for design/​studies/​evaluation of knowledge organization systems, includ-ing in relation to their context,
  • Assess the use and implementation of knowledge organization in dif-ferent types of information systems.


competencies to: 

  • Design and/or construct a knowledge organization system,
  • Conduct an evaluation of a context or a domain for the design of a knowledge organization system.


Academic objectives

Students are able to

  • Give an account of various types of approaches, models, methods and conceptions of knowledge organization and knowledge organization systems,
  • Assess relevant approaches to the design and construction of a knowledge organization system in a specific context or domain,
  • Prepare/design a knowledge organization system.

Examples of literature that will be used in the course:

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C., & Susan Leigh Star. 2000. Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Day, Ronald E. 2014. Indexing it all: The subject in the age of documentation, information, and data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, fire and dangerous things:  What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 

  • Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2011. The googlization of everything. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Lectures, in-class exercises, discussions, student presentations.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 45
  • Exam
  • 120
  • Preparation
  • 245,8
  • Total
  • 410,8
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

In this course I provide students with individual, written, and oral feedback on their portfolio papers throughout the semester.  Students will use that feedback as they revise their paper for final submission.  I provide individual oral feedback on the students’ final submissions and their grades in the course. 

Type of assessment
Written assignment
Language: English or Danish
Extent: 15-20 standard pages for an individual exam
The written assignment consists of 2-3 individual portfolio exercises written during the course and subsequently revised prior to the final submission deadline.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Winter exam 2017


February 2018: Written take-home assignment, set subject. 10-15 standard pages, with 7 days to complete the assignment. Make-up exam/re-exam can only be completed individually