Knowledge Organisation

Short Course - 15 credits at SCQF level 11
Knowledge Organisation 15 credits at SCQF 11

This short course takes a practical, hands-on approach to Knowledge Organisation, involving students in the construction of a controlled vocabulary, a faceted classification, sample thesaurus entries, and the design of a web portal. These well-established techniques are used to develop an Information Architecture for an organisation, visitor attraction, or an event.

The course deals with organising the knowledge recorded in documents, i.e. information. Students will create tools (e.g. indexes, classification systems, controlled vocabularies) to support the retrieval of information from traditional (library shelves) and contemporary (databases, the web) storage devices. In addition to topic notes and related materials, students are guided in their practical work by a workbook, which constitutes a step-by-step guide to the activities. The initial activities can be performed individually but the major one, which involves the construction of a thesaurus drawn from a faceted classification may be completed in teams in order to lighten individual workloads and speed up progress. However, teamwork is entirely optional.

The aim of this module is to enable students to evaluate the effectiveness of these tools based on their practical experience.

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date

September 2022

Course Length

15 weeks


  • Domain analysis
  • Concept mapping
  • Semantic and syntactic relationships
  • Principles of classification construction
  • Facet analysis
  • Vocabulary control
  • Thesaurus construction
  • Subject analysis
  • Abstracting and indexing principles
  • Citation indexing
  • Ontologies
  • Introduction to knowledge architecture
  • Metadata
  • Internet resource description
  • User interface

​On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Critically assess the efficiency of a variety of Knowledge Organisation Systems (KOS) in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment.
  2. Critically evaluate the contribution of a range of indexing techniques to provide enhanced subject representation and controlled access to relevant information in an on-line environment.
  3. Apply the principles of Knowledge Organisation critically to the construction of a faceted thesaurus.
  4. Appraise and discuss current issues in Knowledge Organisation and the contribution of current research to addressing them.


The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Learning Methods

You will learn via our online virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle which provides you with lectures and course materials and allows you to study from any location. You will participate in active, group-related learning within a supportive online community setting. You will have access to recorded lectures and opportunities to meet up online via discussion fora and live sessions.

Activity Summary

  • 30+ students per group
  • Recorded Lectures - 2 hours per week
  • Webinar - 2-3 hours per term
  • Online learning activities 3 hours per week
  • Independent Study 2-3 hours per week

The course allows students to create a practical and useful web portal for an organisation, event, or visitor attraction of their choice, constructing, in the process, an index, a faceted classification, and a sample of a thesaurus.


This module is assessed via Individual Assessment consisting of four practical elements and a reflective report.

Independent Study

The course requires you to become independent 'open learners' and take responsibility for when, where, and how your learning occurs. You will spend approximately 8-10 hours per week in the Online Learning mode of study working on your own, undertaking prescribed reading, preparing and participating in activities, taking part in online group discussions and other activities, researching and writing course reports.

Staff Delivering on This Course

This course is taught by a member of academic staff within Information Management with significant teaching experience, active engagement in research and scholarly activities in this area.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All online learning students, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.


Practical skills in knowledge organisation are widely in demand by employers - often, but not exclusively, in the library sector - as the demand for enhanced access to information, particularly on intranets and on public-facing websites, has become as widespread as the adoption of websites themselves. This course gives students a working knowledge of the basic tools, which they can construct themselves. Importantly, this practical element is underpinned by more theoretical instruction.

This course is part of the Information and Library Studies programme which is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.



The course is ideal for students who possess an undergraduate honours degree in any discipline. 

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, will need either IELTS 6.5 or its equivalent in TOEFL. Find out more:


For Session 2022/2023

  • Course Fees: £1,030

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with the team and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

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