See also: Identify Academic Classifications – full list
See also: Identify Database Metadata Elements

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Ringgold Identify Academic Classifications – An Explanation for Customers


Ringgold has worked with a range of publisher and intermediary clients for over 10 years. To this point a basic classification scheme has been used – namely Ringgold Types and Ringgold Tiers. Over the course of discussions with clients and internally, Ringgold decided to reclassify the Identify Database to provide a higher level of granularity of subject interests and to further the scope of classifications to include new determining factors that will greatly aid current and future clients to understand the world of potential interactions that they have with organizations in the scholarly and online content fields. The first records to be reclassified are the Academic sector records, we plan to re-classify the records in other sectors over time.

Academic classifications

The academic classifications that are described in this document are not replacing Ringgold Types and Ringgold Tiers, but are an additional layer of classification that can be used by all Ringgold clients to better understand and dissect their own customer base and interactions with organizations world-wide. They consist of nine new sets of data, entitled:

  • Economic Model
  • Governance
  • Reach
  • Mission
  • Subject Interests
  • Description
  • Level
  • Activity Status
  • Number of Sites

Explanation of the facet classifications

Economic Model

The legal status of the organization. Either:

  • For-profit
  • Non-profit

The way the organization is managed, by whom and for whom. There may be up to two classifications added from:

  • Academia
  • Corporate
  • Government
  • Membership

The geographical scope of the organization in terms of its locations and services to its audience or customers. Either:

  • Local
  • Regional
  • National
  • International

What an organization does, is trying to achieve, and what its purpose is. Many classifications may be included to fully cover an organization’s mission. They are broken down into the following main classes, of which several have sub-classes:

  • Management
  • Service Provision
  • Production or Manufacture
  • Advocacy and Standards
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Healthcare
Subject Interests

A description of what the organization is involved in, pursues and investigates. These are defined in terms of academic or vocational discipline. The subjects are designed to enable Ringgold clients to determine which organizations are interested in the subjects in which they publish or in which their own clients publish. The subjects are hierarchical in nature and structured within broad disciplines which narrow to the most granular level, there are five hierarchical subject levels and over 800 subjects in total. The top level subjects constitute the very broadest of terms, such as Humanities or Pure Science. The second level subjects are the main disciplines, each containing much more granular subject classifications. For full details please see the attached Excel file.

In the academic sector of the Identify Database these subjects are based on:

  • Faculties
  • Departments
  • Courses
  • Research programs
  • Medical services performed

In Government organizations subjects will be based on the services provided or managed.

Corporate organization subjects will define what they actually undertake and the disciplines which make up the products or services provided.


The terms used by an organization to describe itself. What the organization thinks it is. As few description classifications are used as possible. These terms quickly enable Ringgold clients to find or group together organizations of a similar type, e.g. hospitals, universities, or faculties. For full details please see the attached Excel file.


Ringgold has created a fixed hierarchy for organizations. Where the actual hierarchy in Identify is unlimited and can reach as high as central government, many Ringgold clients like to define what they use as the “top level” of a hierarchy, as this differs from client to client, Ringgold created a fixed hierarchy which enables clients to pick their own “top level” and apply it to their customer base.

The levels range from Level 4 at the top to Level -4 at the bottom, with 9 Levels in total. Universities are always assigned Level 0 – in the middle. Whereas a University System is Level 1 and a direct subsidiary of the University (e.g. a faculty or department) is always level -1. For full details please see the attached Excel file.

Activity Status

The current operational status of an organization. Either:

  • Active – operational
  • Dormant – currently not operating but not closed down, e.g. a consortium that has no funding
  • Ceased – closed down, ceased trading, no longer operational at all
Number of Sites

The number of contiguous locations that an organization operates from. Either:

  • Single
  • Multiple


Download this document

See also: Identify Academic Classifications – full list
See also: Identify Database Metadata Elements


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