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The 2005 Working Drafts of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification (aka "SKOS 2005") have been superseded by 2009 versions ("SKOS 2009").

SKOS Simple Knowledge Organization System Reference (2009)


The Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) is a common data model for sharing and linking knowledge organization systems via the Semantic Web.

Many knowledge organization systems, such as thesauri, taxonomies, classification schemes and subject heading systems, share a similar structure, and are used in similar applications. SKOS captures much of this similarity and makes it explicit, to enable data and technology sharing across diverse applications.

The SKOS data model provides a standard, low-cost migration path for porting existing knowledge organization systems to the Semantic Web. SKOS also provides a light weight, intuitive language for developing and sharing new knowledge organization systems. It may be used on its own, or in combination with formal knowledge representation languages such as the Web Ontology language (OWL).

Latest version:

SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification (2005)

This document has been superseded.


SKOS Core is a model and an RDF vocabulary for expressing the basic structure and content of concept schemes such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, 'folksonomies', other types of controlled vocabulary, and also concept schemes embedded in glossaries and terminologies.

The SKOS Core Vocabulary is an application of the Resource Description Framework (RDF), that can be used to express a concept scheme as an RDF graph. Using RDF allows data to be linked to and/or merged with other data, enabling data sources to be distributed across the web, but still be meaningfully composed and integrated.

Superseded version: