The effectiveness of the Semantic Web (SemWeb) will be heavily dependent on the ability of computers to reason and communicate using controlled vocabularies. When the SemWeb arrives, it will have an impact on all users and designers of Web-based systems, Internet and intranet alike. Since SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) will underlie so much SemWeb functionality, it’s in the interests of everyone who designs or uses knowledge organization systems to know about it.
SKOS is the name given to a family of standards being created to express the semantic structure of controlled vocabularies (thesauri, classifications, subject headings etc.) so that they can be accessed and interpreted by programs and services. As a draft Web standard, SKOS Reference provides a data model that can be used as a vehicle for the development, use and sharing of knowledge organization systems across information sectors and within the Semantic Web framework.
Aware of the growing importance of SKOS, the British Chapter of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO UK) in cooperation with the School of Library, Archives and Information Studies at UCL has invited a group of experts to introduce this standard, explain its status, potential and scope. Our speakers are involved in the development and application of SKOS and related standards and are hoping to provoke some interesting discussion.