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CONTROLLED VOCABULARY IN INFORMATION ORGANIZATION F. MiksaThe University of Texas at Austin, School of InformationINF 389K: Lifecycle Metadata for Digital ObjectsProfessor Pat Galloway, Instructor9 October 2006
Topics to be CoveredBackground Concepts related to Information OrganizationDefinitionsPurposes of and Special Considerations when Creating Controlled VocabulariesElements of Controlled VocabulariesSample Tools of Controlled Vocabularies
1. General Concepts of Information Organization-IInformation organizationa broad term standing for the process of making information systems.
Information systems are created to provide access to:Informational objects (visual, audio, tactile) found in or with a variety of differentmaterial media (stone, skins, paper, celluloid, electronic, etc.)production states (unique, reproduced; eye-readable, non-eye-readable requiring special mechanisms for reading, etc.)production methods (hand-created, mechanically or electronically produced, etc.)symbol systems (language, graphic, etc.)genre or kinds (books, articles, poems, tracts, pictures, spoken word sound recordings, music sound recordings, motion pictures, electronic data bases, websites, email, etc.)Information inside informational objects (inside books, articles, music sound recordings, websites, databases, email, etc.) [i.e., data strings]Information as it is used in this lecture refers to either or both of these things.
General Concepts of Information Organization-IIInformation organization systems have been the product of modern social traditions, for ex.,Bibliography (15th c. +)Library cataloging (16th c. +)Indexing & abstracting (Late 19th c. +)Documentation (1890s-1960s)Archival organization (French Rev. +)Records organization (1900+, especially Post-WWII)Museum organization (19th c. +, especially 1990s +)Computerized Information Storage & Retrieval (1950s+)Convergence of information organization traditions
General Concepts of Information Organization-IIIInformation organization system components:Environments-contextsContentUsers (needs, desires, habits in searching for information)File types: Item files // Surrogate files (or combinations of these)System vocabulary: the set of terms in a system available for searching and to which information is linked (i.e., each given system has its own vocabulary used in searching. Note!System vs. Entry vocabularyTerms: Words, codes, & other metadata that represent attributes of information or information objects (names, titles, concepts, other attributes, etc.) and by means of which that information is searched in a given system.Constitute metadata used in searchingGenerated from or imposed on information or information objects to which they referSystem vocabularies and traditions of Information organization has to do with how information objects have been represented
Information Object RepresentationA systems vocabulary pertains to the attribute terms used for searching. Shall it be natural language (NL)i.e., i.e., strictly as found in the information or information objector controlled (CV) in some manner?
Information Object Representation in Library Cataloging
Library CatalogingMARC TaggingSee MARC 21 Concise Format at
ENCODED ARCHIVAL DESCRIPTION (EAD)(See its TAG Library--http://www.loc.gov/ead/tglib/element_index.html)
FULL TEXT INDEXING (Natural Language)(e.g., Google, for the term Controlled Vocabulary )( Queensland Univ. of Techy )
2. DefinitionsCONTROLLED VOCABULARYA controlled vocabulary is an established list of standardized terminology for use in indexing and retrieval of information. An example of a controlled vocabulary is subject headings used to describe library resources. (Library & Archives Canada)A list of terms that have been enumerated explicitly. This list is controlled by and is available from a controlled vocabulary registration authority. All terms in a controlled vocabulary must have an unambiguous, non-redundant definition.(ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005)[O]rganized lists of words and phrases, or notation systems, that are used to initially tag content, and then to find it through navigation or search. (Amy Warner)A controlled list of index terms is generally known as a controlled vocabulary or as an authority list. (F. W. Lancaster, Vocabulary Control for Information Retrieval)
Definitions (contd)AUTHORITY CONTROL/AUTHORITY WORKAuthority control is the means by which catalogers maintain consistency of form, or a controlled vocabulary, in catalog headings (names, places, titles, subjects). (Moving Image Collections [MIC] website)[T]he consistent use and maintanence of the forms of names, subjects, uniform titles, etc. used as headings in a catalog. An authority file is a set of authority records listing the chosen form of a heading and its appropriate cross-references. Types of authority files include name authority files, series authority files, and subject authority files. University of Buffalo Library. Central Technical Services Website
Definitions ComparedControlled vocabulary is ordinarily spoken of in terms of subject or topical indexing.Authority work is ordinarily spoken of in terms of the specially created headings constructed in library catalogs, including those related to authors and titles, as well as those related to subjects (i.e., both subject headings and classification call numbers).Keeping a record of CV is ordinarily done in the form of a thesaurus, whereas keeping a record of names, titles, and subject headings in authority work is ordinarily done in the form of an authority file. Most such files of the latter kind are open-ended and incomplete with respect to listing all possible terms.
Purposes of Controlled Vocabulary (CV) From the standpoint of the searcher:It disambiguatesequivalent termshomographic termsIt provides term relationships to aid system navigationfor assisting in query formulation or reformulationfor searching efficiencyFrom the standpoint of the information objects & data strings to which it refersIt links similar or like objects and data stringsIt gathers together similar or like objects and data stringsIn short, CV accomplishes the act of collocation.
Considerations when Creating a of Controlled Vocabulary (CV)Relationship to automatic indexingLabor-intensive (even though it represents a value-added activity of information organization)Thus, expensiveThus, given human work, will contain errorsNot all retrieval needs itRetrieval as mappingvsRetrieval as Question-Answer
Elements of Controlled VocabulariesDisambiguation of Equivalent Names & TitlesNamesPersons, family namesWith surnamesSingleCompoundForenames onlyCorporate body names (inc. private & public sectors)Geographic namesTitles Variant titlesAmbiguous titlesConstructed titles Concepts/Subject terms, etc.Near-synonymy [synonym rings in Zeng, Kent State]For examples of names and titles, see Miksa, Kinds of Access Points, or, his Chapter 7 (Access Points: Kinds and Forms)
Relationships between Terms & Examplesfrom ZengKent State4Semantic LinkingEquivalencyHierarchyAssociative[Other]
Structures of CVsfrom ZengKent State3ListsSynonym ringsTaxonomyThesaurus
Establishing Terms and the Idea of WarrantSee ZengKent State2 specifically, section 2.4Literary warrantUser warrantOrganizational warrantSee the many writings of Claire Beghtol on the idea of warrant
Sources of CV termsLibrary of Congress LoC Authorities websiteLoC ClassificationWeb for Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC)DDC websiteLoC Catalogers Desktop for Subject Cataloging Manual (SCM:SH)
Established Thesauri & TaxonomiesE.g., UNESCO thesaurusQueensland University of Technology List of Sources Queensland Univ. of Techy Library and Archives Canada (Thesauri and Controlled VocabulariesBibliography)Resource Description Framework (RDF)Schema Web