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"Bias within Knowledge Organisation Systems: From Critical Analysis to Critical Praxis." H. Hanratty. D. McMenemy. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2019. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

Bias is prevalent within knowledge organisation systems due to the historic worldviews reflected in globally prevalent classification schemes. Furthermore, it is perpetuated by the implicit biases of the information professionals who build and maintain those systems. Bias within knowledge organisations systems is an ethical issue since it affects discoverability of resources, and therefore the ability of users to access information.
In order to discern a way to mitigate bias within knowledge organisation schemes, an extended literature review was conducted to define bias from a psychological perspective and to discover how bias manifests within knowledge organisation systems. Previous suggestions to address biased knowledge organisation systems were then analysed from a critical theoretical perspective.
It was found that without consideration of implicit bias and its effect on cataloguing and classification processes, the proposed solutions do not adequately address the causes of bias.
A new suggestion was proposed in which information professionals undertake bias literacy training in order to develop an awareness of their implicit biases and develop skills to mitigate their effects. It is also recommended that information professionals are encouraged to critically engage with the ethical issues around bias, and move toward a professional culture of critical praxis.