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ETL505 – Thesauri.

Posted by arlekeno on August 25, 2012

Below is an an answer to the question ‘What is a thesaurus?’. It comes from the Introduction to the MDA (Museum Documentation Association) Archaeological Objects Thesaurus.

A thesaurus is a tool which helps indexers and searchers to choose words consistently to describe things or concepts. The thesaurus is structured in such a way that related words are grouped together and cross-referenced to other groups of words which may be relevant to the subject. Where there is a choice of words with the same or similar meanings, the thesaurus provides a single preferred word and, by arranging terms in a hierarchy, allows the selection of more general or specific words. The purpose of the thesaurus is to standardise the use of terminology, which not only helps in indexing information but also in its retrieval.

From Willpower Information’s

My main purpose in this paper is to make three points:

  • A simple name list without some rules will rapidly become a mess.
  • Only three simple rules are needed; using them will make life easier for you, not harder.
  • So long as you stick to these rules, you can take an existing thesaurus and adapt it to your needs; you are not limited to using the terms which are listed in it already, and you are not obliged to use more detail than you need.

What are these rules?

  1. Use a limited list of indexing terms, but plenty of entry terms
    — link these withUSEandUSE FOR (UF)relationships.
  2. Structure terms of the same type into hierarchies
    — link these withBROADER TERM/NARROWER TERM (BT/NT)relationships.
  3. Remind users of other terms to consider
    — link these withRELATED TERM/RELATED TERM (RT/RT)relationships.

All good here, looks a lot like the SCIS Subject Headings. Not to mention some good Boolean logic etc. I hope my catalogue does this, but I doubt it.

A bit up in the air on the rules for Broader terms and Narrower terms. Esp in the Previous subject heading rules. For me it is always like Japanese Address, You go Most general to most specific and include all.

Still need more info on what HEIRACHIES means in this field.


The Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT)

OK, SO SCIS is based on Literary warrant ( what already exists) in pre-computer days, ScOT was designed specifically for PC world and systematic coverage of the national syllabus (Hider pg178). .. Will ScOT replace SCIS? N.B., Scis is pre-coordinated (& Inverted headings), which may not be as important to Gen 4 search engines.

Used more commonly for abstracting and indexing systems and online indexing ( are lib catalogues more like online indexes now? ) pg147 More specific, single terms, and better relationships.

Anyway, to the SCOT website. THE VISUAL INTERFACE IS SO MUCH BETTER FOR A VISUAL LEARNER LIKE ME!   Ok, pg 9 of 15 deals a little with the Hierarchies I think.

Just compared a list of words in Scot to Scishl. The thesaurus had better relationships and more specific terms. (and a better screen layout).

Last Question on ScOT… How do i search TaLE with it?


Some of the tools we have examined in this module can be used to provide better subject access to online materials as well as to physical ones; indeed, some of them have been designed for online resources – search engines, for example. However, there are some aspects of web resources which make things particular hard, when it comes to subject access.

  • First, there are so many more resources on the web than in even the biggest library, so vocabulary control is particularly challenging.
  • Second, there are many different media, often within the same resource, and how to integrate text-based retrieval with non-text-based retrieval remains a largely unanswered question.
  • Third, there are many different users, who might want the same resources materials, but for different reasons and content.
  • Fourth, web resources are notoriously granular – is the subject of a website what is on the home page, or on the majority of pages, or all the pages, or on all parts of all the pages?
  • Fifth, web resources change very frequently. A new page may be added with a new subject; a website may be revamped so that some subjects are no longer covered.

We have certainly not yet created a set of tools which fully overcome all these problems.

Text book Chap 9:

We wish library Cats were as good as google … sigh.

Subject Directories, pg 170. Again, “filtering up”? And yahoo is one? and

Will skip the web searches, did that last subject or two I think, Straight to subject gateways or portals, Selected and controlled, E.G.
The internet library for librarians.
I wonder If I can use it for essays.

Pg 176, a good Subject access system needs, Simplicity ( coz a lot of it isn’t done by experts). Interoperability (distribution across countries, subject areas etc) and Scalability (rang of places it can be used).

DDC to be used for online standard? i think it could work. We all looked at it as kids.

Ontologies and taxonomies? Interesting pg182.

Ooh, I would like to be an information architect.  but Social tagging and folksonomies we did a few subjects back. pg183

Seriously, we should make IT people do this subject.

Open this link later

Taxonomies : beyond thesauri and classification?

Liz Edols

INF209 – Describing and Analysing Information Resources INF425 – Describing and Analysing Information Resources ETL505 – Bibliographic Standards in Education 2001

Keyword Searching and school library OPACs.

Ok, all about boolean v Keyword searches in SCIS, not much new here. But a good article on “Automatic Indexing” By Glenda Brown 1996

Social Tagging and Folksonomies, again, already done this.

It is the responsibility of the teacher librarian to ensure the subject access to resources provided through the catalogue is suitable to the needs and abilities of the library’s users and that the subject access potential of the library automation system/OPAC in use is fully utilised.

Where SCIS bibliographic records are used in the OPAC the teacher librarian should:

  • use SCIS products to create a full controlled vocabulary reference structure;
  • maintain the subject authority file to ensure there are no anomalies which will adversely affect subject retrieval;
  • with caution, add local or additional subject headings and cross references when it is important to do so. Ensure the validity of the controlled vocabulary approach is not breached by such additions;
  • be thoroughly conversant with the means provided in your OPAC for using the natural language approach;
  • utilise this potential by adding to subject records in the notes area where this will be of benefit to your users;
  • tutor your users in the effective use of the controlled vocabulary and natural subject access available to them.

In Module 6 we move on to the related area of classification.




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