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Clare Lawton Beghtol

b. Feb. 15, 1942, Lincoln, Nebraska; d. Mar. 3, 2018, Toronto ON


BA (University of Chicago)
Graduate Studies in American Civilization (Brown University)
1981 MLS (University of Toronto)
1991 PhD (University of Toronto)


1967- Teacher, Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University)
1969- Editor, Copp Clark, Toronto
1971-1978 Freelance editor and writer
1981- Chief Cataloguer/Indexer, Research Unit, CBC-TV Current Affairs
1987-1992 Director of Research, Ketchum Canada Inc.
1993-1998 Tenure-track position, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
1998- 2002 Associate Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
2002-2004 Associate Dean, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
2007-2009 Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
2009-2018 Professor Emeritus



Beghtol, Clare (1994). The classification of fiction: the development of a system based on theoretical principles. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

Beghtol, Clare, Lynne C. Howarth, and Nancy J. Williamson, eds. (2000). Dynamism and stability in knowledge organization: proceedings of the sixth International ISKO Conference, 10-13 July 2000, Toronto, Canada. Würzburg, Germany: Ergon Verlag.

Williamson, Nancy J., and Clare Beghtol, eds. (2003). Knowledge organization and classification in international information retrieval. Binghamton, N.Y.: Haworth Information Press. Also published as Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 37, no.1/2.

Book Chapters:

Beghtol, Clare (2001). “Relationships in classificatory structure and meaning.” In Relationships in the organization of knowledge, edited by Carol A. Bean and Rebecca Green, 99-111. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.

Beghtol, Clare (2002. “Cataloging and knowledge organization.” In Encyclopedia of communication and information, v. 1, 117-122. Woodbridge, Conn.: Macmillan Reference USA.

Beghtol, Clare (2006). “The facet concept as a universal principle of subdivision.” In Knowledge organization, information systems and other essays: Professor A Neelameghan Festschrift, edited by K.S. Raghavan and K.N. Prasad, 41-52. New Delhi: Ess Ess Publications.

Journal Articles:

Beghtol, Clare (1986). “Bibliographic classification theory and text linguistics: aboutness analysis, intertextuality and the cognitive act of classifying documents.” Journal of Documentation 42, no. 2 (June): 84–113.

Beghtol, Clare (1986). “Semantic validity: concepts of warrant in bibliographic classification systems.” Library Resources and Technical Services 30: 109-125.

Beghtol, Clare (1986). “The gender gap in library education and publication.” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 27, no. 1 (July): 12–30.

Beghtol, Clare (1989). “Retrieval effectiveness: theory for an experimental methodology measuring user-perceived value of search outcome.” Libri 39, no. 1: 18–35.

Beghtol, Clare (1990-1991). “Access to fiction: a problem in classification theory and practice. Parts I and II.” International classification 16: 123-140 and 17: 21- 27.

Beghtol, Clare (1995). “Domain analysis, literary warrant, and consensus: the case of fiction studies.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 46, no. 1 (January): 30–44.

Beghtol, Clare (1995). “Within, among, between: three faces of interdisciplinarity.” Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 20, no. 2 (July): 30–41.

Beghtol, Clare (1995). “‘Facets’ as interdisciplinary undiscovered public knowledge: S. R. Ranganathan in India and L. Guttman in Israel.” Journal of Documentation 51, no. 3 (September): 194–224.

Beghtol, Clare (1997). “‘Itself an education’: classification systems, theory, and research in the information studies curriculum.” Technical Services Quarterly 15, no. 1-2 (September): 89–107.

Beghtol, Clare (1997). “Stories: applications of narrative discourse analysis to information storage and retrieval problems for works in the Arts, Humanities, and other disciplines.” Knowledge Organization 24: 64-71.

Beghtol, Clare (1998). “Knowledge domains: multidisciplinarity and bibliographic classification systems.” Knowledge Organization 25:1-12.

Beghtol, Clare (2001). “In interesting times: from the twentieth century to the twenty-first.” American Archivist 64: 143-158.

Beghtol, Clare (2001). “Knowledge representation and organization in the Iter bibliography: a web-based digital library for scholars of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.” Knowledge Organization 28, no.4: 170-179.

Beghtol, Clare (2002). “A proposed ethical warrant for global knowledge representation and organization systems.” Journal of Documentation 58, no. 5 (October): 507–532.

Beghtol, Clare (2003). “Classification for information retrieval and classification for knowledge discovery: relationships between “professional” and “naïve” classifications.” Knowledge Organization 30: 64-73.

Morris, Jane, Clare Beghtol, and Graeme Hirst (2003). “Term relationships and their contribution to text semantics and information literacy through lexical cohesion.” Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 27, no. 3 (September): 140–141.

Beghtol, Clare (2004). “Exploring new approaches to the organization of knowledge: the subject classification of James Duff Brown. Special Issue. Pioneers in Library and Information Science.” Library Trends 52, no. 4: 702-718.

Beghtol, Clare (2004). “The Iter Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance: collaboration between information specialists and subject specialists in the Arts and Humanities.” Journal of Digital Information Management 2, no. 1 (March): 4-9.

Zins, Chaim, Anthony Debons, Clare Beghtol, et al. (2007). “Knowledge map of information science: implications for the future of the field.” Brazilian Journal of Information Science 1, no.1: 3-29.

Beghtol, Clare (2008). “From the universe of knowledge to the universe of concepts: the structural revolution in classification for information retrieval.” Axiomathes 18: 131-144.

Beghtol, Clare (2008). “Professional values and ethics in knowledge organization and cataloging.” Journal of Information Ethics 17, no. 1: 12-19.

Beghtol, Clare (2010). “Nancy J. Williamson and the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO).” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 48, no. 1:26-35.


Acting Editor-in-Chief, Knowledge Organization,1999-2000
Chair, American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Special Interest Group/Classification Research (SIG/CR), 1993-1994
President, International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), 1998-2002
Member, Universal Decimal Classification Advisory Board
Member, American Library Association
Member, Canadian Library Association


“Beghtol was a scholar of classification theory and one of the top theorists world wide.”
“It can be said that she is the leading classification theorist in North America” wrote her colleague, Nancy Williamson.
“Her areas of research and publication include[d] classification theory, the relationship of conceptual universals to cultural warrant, subject access systems and the relationship of interdisciplinarity to information systems and services.”

When Beghtol retired from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto in 2009, academics honoured her in a special issue of “Knowledge Organization” 37 (2) 2010. Lynne C. Howarth, a colleague, who authored this festschrift, wrote “Beghtol’s research and theoretical writings have been important in and to the development of the field of knowledge organization, and have exerted a palpable influence, such that Beghtol would appear to align with the definition of “pioneer”.

“Dean Wendy Duff [Faculty of Information, University of Toronto] remembered co-teaching one of her very first classes with Beghtol, who, she said, “discussed the theories of classification with brilliance and clarity. She was the most amazing scholar and a deeply caring human being. One could not have had a better role model.”

In her spare time, Beghtol also wrote poetry. The journal Atlantis published two of her poems in 1980: “On the significance of cats”, and “Ice wind”.


Williamson, Nancy J. (2010). ``Clare Begtol: teacher, researcher and theoretician.” Knowledge Organization 37, no 2: 101-105.
Haworth, Lynne C. (2010). “Clare Beghtol: exploring new approaches to the organization of knowledge.” Knowledge Organization 37, no. 2: 95-100.
Obituary: Clare Beghtol (1942-2018). University of Toronto, Faculty of Information. Accessed June 29, 2020.
Beghtol, Clare (2001). “Knowledge representation and organization in the Iter bibliography: a web-based digital library for scholars of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.” Knowledge Organization 28, no.4: 170.

history/biographies/beghtol_cl.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/13 13:43 by lbruce