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Observatory for Knowledge Organisation Systems

February 1, 2017 - February 3, 2017

Co-organised by the Department for Library Information and Archiving Sciences of the University of Malta and Wikimedia Community Malta, and hosted by Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta, Malta.  

The event organisers are grateful to Malta Libraries and Malta Tourism Authority for their in-kind support. 

The Observatory will be accompanied by a debate “Documenting Maltese Heritage through Wikipedia – added value or waste of time?” (6-7.30 pm, 2 February 2017) and the Wikimedia edit-a-thon (9-12 am, 3 February 2017). The edit-a-thon requires registration.

We will also work on a special issue for the Open Information Science journal of De Gruyter Open.



Systems to organise our knowledge are as old as knowledge production itself. Today we talk about knowledge graphs, and in them library classifications stay next to domain-specific controlled vocabulary, and domain specific ontologies. Waving all this structured information into one connected graph requires interoperability of data and metadata schema, but also keeping track of provenance and versions. This includes to curate also the versions of Knowledge Organisation Systems which enable access to our cultural heritage. To be able to develop research strategies we first need to gain an overview about the multiplicity of KOS, their size and features. This workshops brings together experts to discuss a first framework for such a typology which will develop in a backbone for a KOS observatory.


The venue of the event is Spazju Kreattivthe national Centre for creativity. It would be most practical for participants to book their accommodation in Valletta or in Floriana which would both be walking distance.

Castille hotel is just 2 minutes from the venue; another hotel nearby is Osborne hotel. In the last years many small boutique hotels opened in Valletta – but it might be sensible to avoid the area close to St John Cathedral because the bells might disturb your rest.



There is a direct bus from the Airport to Valletta (this is its terminus), the bus number is X4. This is the timetable of X4 (the airport is closest to the stop Hal-Luqa on the timetable).

If you are going to use public transport you could buy single ticket (1.50 EUR in the winter season) directly from the driver; drivers are giving back change. There are also cards which can be obtained from the airport booth; 12-trip card costs 15 EUR.

If you wish to book a driver transfer from / to airport (the driver will be waiting for you holding your name) please get in touch with the local organiser, Milena Dobreva. Taxies in Malta apply fixed rates based on distance of the trip, they do not use meters.


The Venue

Studio B of Spazju Kreattiv is our main venue with coffee breaks taking place in the Atrium. St James Cavalier is a proper fortress with several entrances. This is the entrance which is accessible from the side which is visible from Castille square. The arched entrance is more inviting (historically this used to be the cannon ramp), and there is a smaller entrance with a staircase on its right side. Please enter through the smaller entrance and folly the corridor; the first hall on the right side after the cafeteria Inspirations is Studio B, our venue.



Click here.

Invited speakers

Prof. Joseph T. Tennis from the Information School of the University of Washington will explore an interesting topic, Do We Have All the Terms for this Art?: Exploring the Nature and Continued Conceptualization of KOS through their Collective and Individual Histories.

Joseph Tennis, KOS

Prof. Joseph Tennis, invited speaker at the Observatory for KOS (KNOWeSCAPE event)

Prof. Richard P. Smiraglia from the School of Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee will present a talk on KOS on a space-time continuum: Empirical Implications for a KOS Observatory.

Richard Smiraglia; KOS

Prof. Richard Smiraglia, invited speaker at the Observatory for KOS (KNOWeSCAPE event)

Other participants and speakers (list still being updated) include:

Suzanne Barbalet (UK Data Archive, University of Essex, The UK)

Suzanne Barbalet

Wouter Beek (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Wouter Beek

Wouter’s talk is entitled “The ‘K’ in Semantic Web stands for ‘Knowledge'”.

Sarven Capadisli (University of Bonn, Germany)

Sarven Capadisli

Sarven will introduce dokieli: decentralised authoring, annotations and social notifications.

Inkyung Choi (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA)

Inkyong Choi

Inkyung will present a talk entitled “Map of cross-cultural bibliographic classifications: the adaptation of the KDC into the DDC”.

Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard (Digital Humanities Lab, Denmark)

Birte will talk about designing a website for digital humanities, including the use of the taxonomy TaDiRAH.

Paul Groth (Elsevier Labs, The Netherlands)

Paul Groth

Paul will give a talk entitled “New sources of change in knowledge organization systems.”

Peter Hook (Wayne State University, USA)

Prof. Peter Hook

Peter will present a talk entitled Visualizing Knowledge Organization Systems: Context, Frameworks, Steps, and Exemplars.

Rob Koopman  and Shenghui Wang (OCLC)


 Rob Koopman        Shenghui Wang

Rob and Shenghui will talk about semantic indexing techniques and their application in studying concept drift.

Marc Kosciejew (University of Malta)

Marc Kosciejew

Marc will talk on Materializing Knowledge: Distinctions Between Documentation and Classification.

Jan Kozłowski (Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Republic of Poland)

Jan Kozlowski
Jan will give a talk entitled “Distant cataloguing”–a step towards digital and qualitative humanities.

Philipp Mayr (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany)

Phillip Mayr

Philipp will talk on “Measuring the usefulness of Knowledge Organization Systems in Information Retrieval applications.”

Rebecca O’Neill (Wikimedia Ireland)

Rebecca O'Neill

Rebecca will talk on wikipedia and citizen curation.

Panayiota Polydoratou (ATEI, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Dr. Panayiota Polydoratou

Panayiota will look into some of the challenges and lessons learned from the translation of UDC in Greek, a joint work with Christina Kirkorian.


Seamus Ross (University of Toronto, Canada)

Prof. Seamus Ross

Seamus will chair the debate “Do we need to showcase better the Maltese heritage within the Wikipedia movement?”.

Mike Rosner (University of Malta, Malta)

Owen Sacco (University of Malta, Malta)

Owen Sacco

Owen will talk about semantic-based game generation.

Aida Slavic (University of Zagreb, Croatia; UDCC)


Aida will talk about Universal knowledge classifications: from linking information to linked data.

Andrea Scharnhorst (Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), The Netherlands)

Kalpana Shankar (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Prof. Kalpana Shankar
Kalpana will present a talk on Social Science Data Archives, institutional sustainability, and implications for KOS.

Sahar Vahdati (University of Bonn, Germany)

Sahar Vahdati

Sahar will talk about OpenResearch: Collaborative Management and Analysis of Scholarly Communication Metadata.

About Valletta

During events like this, the participants mostly can enjoy the night views and the views from the airplane.






February 1, 2017
February 3, 2017
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Milena Dobreva
milena.dobreva AT um.edu.mt
View Organizer Website


Valetta, Malta + Google Map