Organization of Knowledge and Information Subscribe to Organization of Knowledge and Information


National Science Foundation

Taxonomists are scientists who describe the world’s biodiversity. These descriptions of millions of species allow scientists to do many different kinds of research, including basic biology, environmental science, climate research, agriculture, and medicine. The problem is that describing any one species is not easy. The language used by taxonomists to describe their data is complex, and typically not easily understandable by computers nor even other scientists. This situation makes it harder to search for patterns across millions of species documented by thousands of researchers over many decades of work worldwide.

The goal of this research is to help researchers develop and use relatively simple tools to describe species in a way that makes those descriptions easier to share...

Intelligent Medical Objects

Diesner’s team is developing a natural-language processing solution for probabilistic entity detection and classification in the domain of healthcare. The core of the solution are prediction models built by using supervised and/or semi-supervised machine learning techniques. The resulting models can be used to annotate natural language text data documents for entity classes. The team will perform fact extraction from medical text data documents as well as map tokens to predefined medical codes. Both tasks involve the same steps: 1) building and evaluating prediction models, 2) helping to integrate the prediction models into IMO’s workflow, 3) building an inference engine for practical applications, 4) building a technical solution with which IMO can update the prediction models, and 5...

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

iSchool faculty members Catherine Blake and Michael Twidale are working as expert advisors to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Information Resource Center (VIReC) on a project to analyze the socio-technical aspects of VA’s HSRData-L Listserv. VIReC is a VA Health Service Research & Development Service (HSR&D) resource center that supports VA researchers in need of information about data resources specific to their research. HSRData-L is a virtual community of VA researchers who share their collective knowledge and experience about VA data and information systems for the betterment of research focused on Veteran’s issues. The team is led at the VA by Maria Souden, VIReC associate director for communications. iSchool doctoral student Caryn Anderson, who has worked...


Jul. 13, 2018

Members of the Diesner research group will present a paper and posters at the 4th Annual International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2), which will be held July 13-15 at Northwestern University. Assistant Professor Jana Diesner is a program committee co-chair for the conference. IC2S2 brings together academic researchers, industry experts, open data activists, and government agency workers to explore challenges, methods, and research questions in the field of computational social science.

Doctoral student Shubhanshu Mishra will present a poster, “Construction of Hierarchical Subject Headings for Computer Science and Their Application to Studying Temporal Trends in Scholarly Literature,” which he coauthored with Hyejin Lee of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information; Jinseok Kim (PhD ’17), research assistant professor at the University...

May. 22, 2018

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Karen Wickett (MS '07, PhD '12) will join the faculty in August 2018. She is currently an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin.

Wickett's research areas include the conceptual and logical foundations of information organization systems and artifacts. She is most interested in the analysis of common concepts in information systems, such as documents, datasets, digital objects, metadata records, and collections. Her work recognizes the pressing need for logically consistent definitions and descriptions in digital environments. This is especially important as semantic technologies (such as RDF and linked data services) become more commonplace for digital library and curation systems.

Before her faculty...

Nov. 30, 2017

Associate Professor Catherine Blake has been named the iSchool's Centennial Scholar for 2017-2018. The award is endowed by alumni and friends of the School and given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and/or professional promise in information sciences.

A leading researcher in text mining medical literature, Blake has returned from a year as a faculty fellow at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development unit of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There she worked on projects in semantic knowledge representation and medical ontology research.

Blake's earlier focus on how people synthesize evidence from literature directly informs her computational approaches to accelerate scientific discovery. She utilizes her industrial experience as a software developer, formal training in information and computer science, and more than a decade of experience in text mining scientific...

Aug. 1, 2017

Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider will serve as a keynote speaker for the eighth annual VIVO Conference, which will be held August 2-4 in New York City. VIVO is member-supported, open-source software and an ontology for representing scholarship. Hundreds of universities around the world are using VIVO software to showcase the experts, publications, and impact of researchers in academic institutions.

The international conference brings together the VIVO community and its partners to share the latest developments in Semantic Web academic profiles. Schneider will give the keynote, "Viewing universities as landscapes of scholarship."

Abstract: The university can be seen as a collection of individuals, or as an administrative engine, but what sets a university apart is the production of knowledge and knowledgeable people, through teaching, learning, and scholarly inquiry. In 2000, Michael Heaney proposed that the...

Jul. 14, 2017

An interest in organization led Dale Josephs to the field of library and information science and his current job at eBay. Josephs uses the skills he learned at the iSchool—cataloging, metadata, Python programming, and data mining—to develop new analytics tools.

Where do you work and what is your role?

As a taxonomy designer at eBay, I not only act as a traditional cataloger, placing content under the appropriate category headings, but I also evaluate and edit the categories themselves. The task is equal parts content analysis and psychology. I need to ensure that the categories don't get subdivided more deeply than the site can handle and that the category structures accurately reflect where people coming to the site would expect to find these things, while ensuring that as much site content...

Nov. 8, 2016

Associate Professor Kathryn La Barre has been invited by the Knowledge Organization Research Group (KOrg) to work with doctoral students and faculty in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. On November 10, she will deliver an invited talk titled, "Interrogating Facet Theory: Decolonizing KO," which will address the following:

Current online search and discovery systems instantiate search filters (often called facets) to intuitively support searchers as they refine queries and review result sets. Facet analytical theory was promoted by S.R. Ranganathan as a reaction against earlier approaches to knowledge organization, such as the Dewey Decimal Classification, that consider knowledge as an integral whole that can be divided into smaller and more discrete units in...

Oct. 7, 2016

Assistant Professor Vetle Torvik has been named the iSchool's Centennial Scholar for 2016-2017. The Centennial Scholar award is endowed by alumni and friends of the School and given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and/or professional promise in the field of library and information science.

Torvik expressed surprise and gratitude at receiving this honor. "I am in awe of colleagues who received it before me; their caliber is off the charts," he said. "I hope to use the award to open new doors—a stamp of approval from colleagues who know you well goes a long way to establish new collaborations necessary to solve the increasingly complex problems facing science and society today.”

Torvik joined the faculty in 2011. His current research addresses problems related to scientific discovery and collaboration using complex models and large-scale bibliographic databases. He is the author of articles in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of...