The IFLA Subject Analysis and Access (SAA) Section is seeking proposals for papers to be presented at their Open Session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Considerations will also be given to proposals for presentations without full papers.

Theme: “Identifiers for identities: Rectifying the (mis)representation of demographic groups”

Each knowledge organisation system (KOS) comes with its own cultural perspective, its worldview, and its unique way of putting concepts into the structure. Working with vocabularies, thesauri, and classification systems requires an understanding of their respective cultural backgrounds and recognizing the power of standardised language to ascribe identities.

In recent years, knowledge organisation systems have been criticised as to how they represent marginalized groups, be they defined by ethnicity, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, or gender. The cultural competence of any given KOS must be questioned in order to avoid repeating discriminatory stereotypes and misrepresentations. What labels does KOS provide for different groups? Under which generic terms are they grouped? What is the cultural context of the given name and what implications arise from the heading/name chosen or its position within a semantic hierarchy? Can there ever be a neutral representation?

In our open session, we want to highlight projects that rectify some of the misrepresentations, eliminating the prejudices (or biases) of the past, and embrace greater inclusivity in KOS.

This session will focus on ongoing KOS projects which, motivated by cultural humility, address the representation of demographic groups and offer innovative ideas for change.

The Deadline for proposal submissions (300-500 words) is 1 May 2023.

You will find detailed information on subthemes, deadlines, and submission information at CFP for SAA’s Open Session at the WLIC 2023 in Rotterdam  (