Towards a diversified knowledge organization system

Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet (Department of Information Science, Faculty of Humanities, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 9 September 2019



The need for inclusive and logically consistent representation of diverse and even confronting viewpoints on the domain knowledge has been widely discussed in the literature in the past decade. The purpose of this paper is to propose a generic model for building an open coherent diversified knowledge organization system (KOS).


The proposed model incorporates a generic epistemological component, the validity scope type, assigned to each statement in the constructed KOS. Statements are clustered by their association with various validity scope types into internally coherent subsystems. These subsystems form a knowledge organization network connected through the universal (consensual) subsystems with more than one validity scope type. The model extends the Galili’s Cultural Content Representation paradigm, which divides the knowledge content of a scientific theory into two confronting parts: body and periphery.


The knowledge organization network model makes it possible to comparatively examine similarities and differences among various viewpoints and theories on the domain knowledge. The presented approach conforms with the principle of Open Knowledge Network initiative for creation of open accessible knowledge.

Practical implications

The proposed model can be used for ontological reasoning by a variety of information services, such as ontology-based decision-support and learning systems, diversified search and customer management applications.

Social implications

The model enables explicit representation of social and cultural minority voices and historical knowledge in the KOS.


The main contribution of the proposed model is that it generalizes and enhances various previously proposed representations of epistemological aspects of KOS and allows for multiple inter-linked subsystems to coherently co-exist as part of the extensible network.



Zhitomirsky-Geffet, M. (2019), "Towards a diversified knowledge organization system", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 5, pp. 1124-1138.

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