Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Vânia Mara Alves Lima, Cibele de Araújo Camargo Marques dos Santos

Last modified: 2018-06-20


According to Hjorland (2008), Knowledge Organization (KO) includes in a narrow meaning document description and indexing in libraries, archives, databases and other memory institutions. The field also studies the nature and quality of the knowledge organization process (KOP) and the knowledge organizing systems (KOS) that are used for subject analysis and its representation as concepts and controlled vocabulary. The traditional approach of KO has been implicit in the management of databases with emphasis in the principle of controlled vocabulary to avoid synonyms and homonyms as indexing terms by using standardized vocabulary. The facet-analytical approach of KO refers to the semantic relations between terms and categories. Also the user-oriented views approach considers the knowledge organization done by users as folksonomies. San Segundo (2013) refers KO changes to a technological paradigm based on the process of interactive search for information which has the effect of information feedback, which flows in the digital context generating folksonomies and tools of retrieval based on the search. In the Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization, Hjorland (2017) emphasizes that the indexing and retrieval criteria have to take into consideration the subject fields and theories which characterize the domain-analytic approach. Dahlberg (2014) emphasizes that the concepts form the constituents of any specific knowledge organization, leading to the formation of classes and their definitions are the summary of content-determinant characteristics. This paper describes the challenges for knowledge organization as the fundamental theoretical reference in the development of a Web digital iconographic collaborative environment that allows institutional users – such as GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), NGOs, Universities and Research Centers – to collaborate with private users – such as students, teachers, photographers and the general public.  Firstly, these challenges include the analytical-critical studies about the construction of the controlled vocabularies to index the iconographic information of the institutional collection as well as of the tags proposed by the users for their private images. Our case study is the ARQUIGRAFIA, an open, public and nonprofit, continuous growth collaborative environment on the Web dedicated to visual culture and critical approaches to architectural images, with a special focus on Brazilian architecture and urban spaces. This characteristic of being a collaborative environment brings us some problems like the ambiguous meanings of terms such as “banco” – which in Portuguese means both “bank” and “bench” – generating a distortion in the information retrieval, as well as the folksonomy, social indexing or social tagging, i.e. the tags included by the users that do not have a terminological and vocabulary control like the terms used to index the institutional images. But if the controlled vocabulary in the institutional indexing is used to build the class hierarchy controlling the use of synonyms and grammatical variations, discriminating between homonyms, the folksonomy is used to improve the analysis and definition of properties in the relationships between term. Secondly, it is necessary to standardize the terminology and the process of indexing institutional images. According to Shatford Layne (2002) an image cannot be described generically, it is necessary to specify it, because it is always an image "of something". At the same time, the indexing process must be considered under three different aspects: the denotation – what appears in the picture, what will be recognized unequivocally by both the indexer and the user; the connotation – what the image suggests, which refers to the emotional content of the message, giving meaning to the cultural aspects; and the context – conditions of production of the image and its narrative involving issues such as how, when, where, why and who. Thirdly, the solution to the problems of metadata accordance between systems, the consolidation of standards which respond both to international interoperability requirements and to local needs for organization and information access. The procedures for the representation and retrieval of digital heritage are being made in order to ensure access to and sharing of information between all users, whether institutional or individual. The required fields for the data administration on the virtual environment were integrated and the set of metadata established. From a conceptual perspective, the Knowledge Organization makes it possible for us to have a closer look at some of its contemporary issues, specifically regarding the representation of images, and the offering of support and free help for other domains of knowledge to build their own visual collaborative environments on the web. The technological challenges concerning the design and the operation of this web collaborative environment allow us to characterize it as an online experimental laboratory and a case study on the opportunities and the risks of digital humanities projects.


DAHLBERG, I. What is Knowledge Organization. Knowledge Organization, v. 41, n.1, p. 85-91, 2014.

HJORLAND, B. What is Knowledge Organization (KO)? Knowledge Organization, v.35, n.2/3, p.86-101, 2008.

LAYNE, S. S. S.  Subject Access to Art Images. In: BACA, M. ed. Introduction to art image access: issues, tools, standards, strategies. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2002. p. 1-19.

SAN SEGUNDO, R. Panorama de investigación en Organización del conocimiento en su dimensión epistemológica. In: GUIMARÃES, J. A. C; DODEBEI, V. (orgs). Complexidade e organização do conhecimento: desafios do nosso século. Rio de Janeiro: ISKO-Brasil; Marília : FUNDEPE, 2013. p.26-33. Disponível em: http://isko-brasil.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Estudos-avan%C3%A7ados-2.pdf.