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Who we are

ISKO UK is the UK Chapter of ISKO, the International Society for Knowledge Organization. We are a not-for-profit scientific/professional association dedicated to promoting the theory and practice of Knowledge Organization through the pursuit of four key objectives:

  • To establish an active membership of people with an interest in Knowledge Organization (KO), whatever their background or qualifications;
  • To explore the scope and role of KO and its value to society, to publicize the results and to spread the understanding that emerges;
  • To enable members to develop a community of interest and to build bridges between those working in different sectors, particularly between researchers and practitioners.
  • To encourage and support the next generation of KO researchers and practitioners.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote the theory and practice of organizing knowledge and information.


The International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) was founded in 1989.  Currently it has more than 500 individual and corporate members and a worldwide reach, with 14 Regional Chapters. Every two years members come together in an international conference, of which the latest was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Members' subject fields include information science, philosophy, linguistics, computer science and other specialist domains such as medical informatics, and their interests are reflected in the journal Knowledge Organization

The ISKO UK chapter was established in February 2007. Our UK emphasis is to build bridges between the research and practitioner communities across the field. For the benefit of society at large, we want to see timely KO research feeding into sound practice, and ideas for research coming from practitioners.


We hold regular afternoon meetings on topical subjects, attracting excellent speakers and a large following. Occasionally we also arrange a workshop or tutorial.  Upcoming events are shown on the page  Our Events, followed by a list of past events with links to the presentations given and audio recordings. 

Every two years the Chapter arranges a conference in London, which typically attracts many members from other Chapters, as well as our UK following of members and non-members.

We make audio recordings of all speakers at our events (including our biennial conferences) and these recordings, together with the associated visual presentations, are available for download in our media repository ISKOMedia.

Grants and Awards

To encourage students and fresh graduates taking up our field, we  offer small research grants and conference grants. (Follow the links to learn more.) The research grants apply to any undergraduate dissertation or postgraduate project that is relevant to knowledge organization.The aim of the conference grants is to help students attend events where they can hear and develop contacts with leaders and colleagues in the field. Each of these will cover the registration fee of a KO-oriented conference, and may contribute also to travel expenses. 

Together with UKeiG (UK e-Information Group) and IRSG (Information Retrieval Specialist Group of the BCS) we also support and promote  the Tony Kent Strix Award, which is presented annually in memory of the pioneering information scientist Tony Kent. This annual award recognizes an outstanding contribution made to information retrieval - the prime application area for knowledge organization. All enquiries about the award should be sent to


ISKO UK is governed by an Executive Committee with the following officers:

  • Chair: David Haynes (chair[@t]
  • Vice Chair: Stella Dextre Clarke (vicechair[@t]
  • Hon. Secretary: Sylvie Davies (info[@t]
  • Hon. Treasurer: Duncan McKay (treasurer[@t]

Additional members of the Executive Committee are:

  • Philip Carlisle
  • Helen Challinor
  • Dave Clarke
  • Tara McDarby
  • Ian Synge
  • Judi Vernau


Our membership illustrates the breadth and variety of professions and roles where KO is a key element. It includes:

  • information scientists
  • digital asset managers
  • librarians
  • records managers
  • information architects
  • semantic web developers
  • taxonomists
  • media workflow managers
  • IT specialists

By attending our meetings you can hear directly from leaders in our field, as well as meeting people who share your interests. By subscribing to ISKO you'll qualify for discounted prices; many of our meetings are free to members. You will also receive the journal Knowledge Organization and regular news by email. And don't forget to blog and tweet!

Data protection

As part of your package of membership benefits you receive the chair's bulletin and occasional e-mails (no more than once a month) alerting you to forthcoming events and other activities. Please read our Data Protection policy which explains how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and other relevant legislation.


While quiet systematic knowledge organization in the calm of one's own study can be an excellent thing,  doing KO with friends and colleagues is even better. ISKO UK actively collaborates with several other professional societies, research bodies and educational institutions working in related fields. More collaborative projects and alliances are welcome.   ►Read more

Join us!