Bibliographic Induction: How KO Systems Optimize Browsing by Supporting Library Users' Prior Knowledge


  • Jonathan Schatz University of British Columbia
  • Nadia Stennes-Spidahl University of British Columbia
  • Samantha Mills University of British Columbia
  • Aaron J. Loehrlein University of British Columbia



We investigate category-based induction as an aspect of browsing a library collection. Category-based induction is one of the primary uses of categories that are stored in memory. Knowledge organizing systems represent concepts in broadly the same way as models of category-based induction. Accordingly, it is reasonable to suppose that knowledge organizing systems facilitate category-based inductions about the collections that they organize. The processes of familiarization and differentiation are key aspects of browsing (Ellis 1989). Intuitively, these approaches appear to involve category-based induction in a bibliographic context. By examining induction, we hope to shed new light on the role of knowledge organizing systems in shaping browsing behavior. We also seek to investigate the viability of using inductive confidence as a dependent variable in assessing the utility of a KOS. A system that supports induction is potentially of great benefit to people seeking to browse a collection, whether the collection exists virtually or is part of a library’s physical stacks.