The Organization of Information (2nd ed.)

William Foster (Professional Development Coordinator for Information and Library Management, School of Computing and Information, University of Central England, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




Foster, W. (2004), "The Organization of Information (2nd ed.)", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 282-283.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

It is only five years since the first edition of Taylor's book appeared, but such is the rapid pace of change in some aspects of knowledge organisation that she has felt the time is ripe for a second. Taylor quite rightly acknowledges that today's courses on the organisation of information inevitably delve into the newer areas of system design, encoding standards and metadata and this book attempts to provide a suitable modern textbook to support them. The book is broad in scope, embracing many aspects of cataloguing, indexing and information systems design. However, the traditional topics are covered in less depth than some other textbooks, and Taylor sees the new volume very much as a companion to Wynar's Introduction to Cataloging and Classification, which she is also responsible for.

The structure of the book has been well thought out and Taylor has avoided the mistake of placing all the “new” material at the end. It is divided into 12 chapters. Chapters 1‐3 present the background to knowledge organisation, and the need to provide suitable retrieval tools. These provide both a historical perspective and an overview of today's range of information environments and their individual requirements for knowledge organisation. Chapters 4‐8 explore aspects of systems design, with three chapters devoted to metadata and another to encoding standards. In these she seamlessly links the traditional approaches to authority control to more recent developments in electronic resource cataloguing. A wide‐range of encoding standards is presented, from MARC through to semantic Webs, but none are discussed in any particular depth. Chapters 9‐12 are more traditional, looking at subject analysis, indexing, classification and aspects of vocabulary control.

Taylor makes no attempt to be comprehensive in any particular area, but the strength of the book is its impressive scope and is ideal for those who need a brief overview of particular topics. The book has plenty of good examples to support the text, and the contents pages are more detailed than one usually finds. There is also an extensive glossary as well as a bibliography and a good index. There are references and suggested readings at the end of chapter. At the end of Chapter one she helpfully includes separate reading lists for, inter alia, the organisation of information in archives, museums, digital libraries and knowledge management. Overall this is an excellent book and I will certainly be recommending it to my students.

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