An International approach to knowledge organization: the case of UDC

Aida Slavic, UDC Consortium (Netherlands)

Abstract | From its conception in the 1890s in Brussels, its move to The Hague under the FID ownership and its continuation as a scheme managed and owned by an international consortium of publishers, the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) has been true to its original purpose and mission captured by its name. Its “universality” concerns both knowledge coverage and its application as a tool in knowledge organization, irrespective of purpose, type of collection or domain of use. Its faceted nature lends itself to extensibility and adaptability in a wide range of use-cases and purposes. Although one may dispute classifications as being universal, especially given all the biases embedded in knowledge and science at any given time, it is fair to say that UDC provides a significant level of neutrality and flexibility that makes it viable in different cultural, political and linguistic environments. Today, UDC is known to be used in collections in around 140 countries and translated to some extent in 57 languages. The usage data confirmed in 2019 show at least 250,000 libraries or collections of various kinds using the scheme. There are, however, significant changes in the attitude towards bibliographic classifications that raise questions about the way these systems should continue to serve their knowledge organization purpose. The author summarizes issues in the library domain with a vast corpus of legacy classification data and in the Web environment which has, to all appearances, different requirements with respect to classification data. This presentation provides an overview of the way UDC is managed and distributed today and its potentials in the context of new and changed uses of classification schemes in automating classification and resource discovery processes.

Bio | Aida Slavic is the editor-in-chief of the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) and works on the development and the maintenance of the scheme for the UDC Consortium, based in The Hague. She is also an Associate Professor (visiting lecturer) in the Department of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Zagreb (Croatia), where she a lecturer at the master and doctoral programmes on the subject of indexing languages, knowledge organization, information retrieval and classification systems. Aida holds a doctoral degree in library and information studies from University College London and Masters and a Bachelor degrees in library and information science from University of Zagreb. Her research interest is in use of classification in the networked environment, knowledge organization, classification, metadata and semantic technologies. Aida serves on the Editorial Board of the Knowledge Organization journal, is member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) and member of the Standing Committee of the IFLA Subject Analysis and Access Section.

Event Timeslots (1)

Day 1 | Thursday, June 20
Aida Slavic, UDC Consortium (Netherlands)