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The (proposed) W3C standard SKOS stands for Simple Knowledge Organisation System. Its goal is to

SKOS is an XML / RDF vocabulary for representing semi-formal knowledge organization systems (KOS), such as thesauri, taxonomies, classification schemes and subject heading systems. [...]
SKOS has been designed to provide a low-cost migration path for porting existing organization systems to the Semantic Web. SKOS also provides a light weight, intuitive conceptual modeling language for developing and sharing new KOSs. It can be used on its own, or in combination with more formal languages like the Web Ontology Language (OWL) [OWL]. SKOS can also be seen as a bridging technology, providing the missing link between the rigorous logical formalism of ontology languages such as OWL and the chaotic, informal and weakly-structured world of social approaches to information management, as exemplified by social tagging applications. (SKOS Simple Knowledge Organization System Primer).

See also: Topic maps (an older non-RDF standard with similar intentions, but more mature probably) and subject heading and controlled vocabulary

Some more details

Fundamental SKOS vocabulary elements:

  • concepts
  • labels
  • relations
  • concept schemes




As of March 2008 SKOS is (still) a W3C Working Draft...