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Promoting the theory and practice of organizing knowledge and information

Knowledge Organization (KO) has its roots in the fundamental human need to understand and interact with the environment. We categorize, distinguish, name and relate things in ways that are meaningful and useful, and help us learn.
The study of logic by philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle led to the development of formal ideas of classification which have been used for centuries by physical libraries, and which have advanced still further in electronic repositories. The use of KO can also be seen in ground-breaking advances such as Linnaean taxonomy in biology and Mendeleev's periodic table in chemistry. Good KO helps people find things, and even organize their own thinking.

Now KO techniques are used in all sectors — business, industry, health, education, cultural heritage and more —
for mission-critical purposes. KO has applications in everything from websites to postcodes, from supermarket shelves to Amazon, from GPS to demographics, and from advertising to the Semantic Web.
At the personal level we test our KO skills as we try to keep abreast of our emails, or search among last year’s files on our desktop computer, or follow links across the World Wide Web.
In society, democracy and the administration of justice should be supported by well organized databases of statistics and forensic evidence.
Scientific progress currently generates terabytes of data, quantitative and qualitative, in all the media known to technology; but this is useful only when it is available to diverse researchers.
At the corporate level, organizations must keep track of what they have done in the past, as well as their commitments to partners and customers; they need immediate access to their intellectual resources — whether documented, or in the memories of employees.
In government, the delivery of services such as education, health and social care requires records to be kept accurately, while secure and easily available.
Most cultural activities increasingly organize and draw on a heritage of precious resources, physical and intellectual.

By developing and applying conceptual tools such as semantic analysis or faceted classification,
Knowledge Organization adds intelligence and value to the representation, processing, storage and transfer of information.

ISKO UK brings together the researchers and practitioners who work together to make this happen.