Mapping the KO Community

Heather Moulaison Sandy, Andrew Dillon


Knowledge organization (KO) is considered a distinctive disciplinary focus of information science, with strong connections to other intellectual domains such as philosophy, computer science, psychology, sociology, and more. Given its inherent interdisciplinarity, we ask what might a map of the physical, cultural and intellectual geography of the KO community look like? Who is participating in this discipline’s scholarly discussion, and from what locations, both geographically and intellectually? Using the unit of authorship in the journal Knowledge Organization, where is the nexus of KO activity, and what patterns of authorship can be identified? What indices can be generated to describe the KO community of researchers as it has evolved? Cultural characteristics were applied as a lens to explore who is and is not participating in the international conversation about KO. World Bank GNI per capita estimates were used to compare relative wealth of countries and Hofstede’s Individualism dimension was identified as a way of understanding attributes of countries whose scholars are participating in this dialog. Descriptive statistics were generated through Excel, and data visualizations were rendered through Tableau Public and TagCrowd. The current project offers one method for examining an international and interdisciplinary field of study, but also suggests potential for analyzing other interdisciplinary areas within the larger discipline of information science.

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