2008 GlossaryOfTermsRelToThesauri

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Subject Headings: Glossary, Thesaurus, Structured Vocabulary, Information Retrieval.


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  • browsing
    • finding information by examining lists or sequences of items, typically starting with general items and, on the basis of what has been found there, moving to more specific items
  • caption
    • statement of the subjects represented by a notation in a classification scheme
    • A caption may have to be read in conjunction with its hierarchical context. It need not be as complete or as self-contained as a scope note or even a preferred term in a thesaurus.
  • citation order
    • order in which preferred-terms or notations are combined in a pre-coordinate indexing system or a classification scheme to form strings representing compound concepts
    • The choice of citation order determines which concepts are the most important to be grouped together in a catalogue or list, and increases consistency in the construction of strings for similar subjects.
    • Citation order is usually specified in terms of the facets to which concepts belong or the roles that they play in relation to other concepts in the string. A sequence that is often appropriate, especially for technical subjects, is:
  • classification
    • grouping together of similar or related things and the separation of dissimilar or unrelated things and the arrangement of the resulting groups in a logical and helpful sequence
  • classification scheme
    • schedule of concepts, arranged by classification
  • coined term
    • a new term created to express a concept for which no suitable term exists in the required language.
  • collection
    • the set of documents that may be accessed by a structured vocabulary, whether the items in it are collected in one place or distributed over a network
  • concept
    • unit of thought
    • The semantic content of a concept can be re-expressed by a combination of other and different concepts, which may vary from one language or culture to another. Concepts exist in the mind as abstract entities which are independent of the terms used to label them.
  • concept scheme
    • set of concepts, optionally including statements about semantic relationships between those concepts.
    • Thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, terminologies, glossaries and other types of controlled vocabularies are all examples of concept schemes.
  • controlled vocabulary
    • prescribed list of terms or headings each one having an assigned meaning
    • Controlled vocabularies are designed for use in classifying or indexing documents and for searching them. They normally contain a unique preferred term for each concept or entity with links to that term from non-preferred terms. They may also show relationships between terms.
  • descriptor
  • document
    • (use for information resource)
    • item that can be classified or indexed in order that it may be retrieved
    • This definition refers not only to written and printed materials in paper or microform versions (for example, books, journals, diagrams, maps), but also to non-printed media, machine-readable and digitized records, Internet and intranet resources, films, sound recordings, people and organizations as knowledge resources, buildings, sites, monuments, three-dimensional objects or realia; and to collections of such items or parts of such items.
  • facet
    • (use for fundamental facet)
    • grouping of concepts of the same inherent category
  • folksonomy
    • a collection of terms allocated to resources by users in order to categorise or index them in a way that the users consider useful
    • Terms in folksonomies, often called tags, are typically added in an uncontrolled manner, without any underlying structure or principles. They may be idiosyncratic, but may also use current terminology more quickly than it can be incorporated into a controlled and structured scheme.
  • glossary
    • a list of terms, together with definitions, specific to a given field of knowledge, usually presented in alphabetical order
    • Such terms are usually of a technical, abstruse or archaic nature. A glossary is often related to a specific document and appears as an appendix to it.
  • identifier
    • A specific term that is not included in a controlled vocabulary, but which may be assigned to a document because it is considered useful for retrieval
    • Identifiers are often proper names, trade names, codes, jargon and specialised terms. They should be distinguished from controlled vocabulary terms by being recorded in a separate field of a catalogue record or by being flagged in some way. Some computer systems assign a unique number or code to each concept or term for purposes of managing the vocabulary, and it may be known as a 'concept identifier', 'term identifier' or simply 'term ID'. This type of identifier should not be confused with the usage defined here.
  • indexing
    • intellectual analysis of the subject matter of a document to identify the concepts represented in it, and allocation of the corresponding preferred terms to allow the information to be retrieved
    • The term "subject indexing" is often used for this concept, but within a context that does not deal with other elements such as authors or dates, "indexing" is sufficient.
  • information resource
    • (use document)
  • information retrieval
    • all the techniques and processes used to provide for identifying items relevant to an information need, from a collection or network of documents
    • Selection and inclusion of items in the collection are included in this definition; likewise browsing and other forms of information seeking.
  • interoperability
    • ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged
    • Vocabularies can support interoperability by including relations to other semantic structures, by presenting data in standard formats and by using systems that support common computer protocols.
  • keyword
    • A word or phrase occurring in the natural language of a document that is considered significant for retrieval.
    • In addition to the above preferred meaning this word is also used loosely with the following two other possible meanings, which are often confused. The use of "keyword" with these meanings should be avoided.
  • mapping (process)
    • the process of establishing relationships between the terms, notations or concepts of one vocabulary and those of another
  • mapping (product of mapping process)
    • statements of the relationships between the terms, notations or concepts of one vocabulary and those of another
  • metadata
    • data that describes characteristics of a document
    • Metadata is essentially a catalogue record, providing (a) access points by which records of documents can be sorted or retrieved and (b) descriptive information, by which the relevance of a document can be assessed without consulting it in full. Preferred terms or notations selected during the indexing process are commonly applied as metadata elements to describe the subject of a document.
  • multi-word term
    • term consisting of more than one word
    • e.g. human resource management.
    • Multi-word terms typically label complex concepts and are admissible in a thesaurus as preferred terms.
  • notation
    • symbol or group of symbols representing a simple or compound concept
    • Notation may be used to sort and/or locate concepts in a pre-determined systematic order, and optionally to display how concepts have been structured and grouped. A notation can provide the link between alphabetical and systematic lists in a thesaurus and between the alphabetical index and the classified sequence of a classification scheme.
  • one-to-many mapping
    • mapping where a single term, notation or concept in one vocabulary is represented by two or more terms, notations or concepts in another vocabulary
  • one-to-one mapping
    • mapping where a single term, notation or concept in one vocabulary is represented by a single term, notations or concepts in another vocabulary
    • The representations in the two vocabularies may or may not be identical.
  • ontology
    • specification of the concepts of a domain and their relationships, structured to allow computer processing and reasoning
    • As the nature of the relationships can be specified as part of the ontology, many more types of relationship are possible than in a thesaurus.
  • preferred term
    • (use for descriptor)
    • term specified by a controlled vocabulary for use to represent a concept when indexing.
    • e.g. schools; school uniform; costs of schooling; teaching.
    • A preferred term should preferably be a noun or noun phrase.
  • semantic network
    • actual or virtual graphical representation of concepts and the relationships between them
    • A semantic network is a way of representing an ontology. The vertices of the network represent concepts and the edges represent semantic relationships between them. The vertices are sometimes called "nodes", which are not to be confused with the node labels of a thesaurus or a faceted classification.
  • semantic relationship
    • (use paradigmatic relationship)
  • subject heading list
    • (use subject heading scheme)
  • subject heading scheme
    • (use for subject heading list)
    • controlled vocabulary comprising single terms available for subject indexing, plus rules for combining the single terms in strings
    • The principles for constructing subject heading lists differ from the principles of thesaurus construction. Subject heading lists may have provision for the construction of pre-coordinated indexing strings including headings and one or more levels of subheading.
  • synonym
    • one of two or more terms whose meanings are considered to be the same in a wide range of contexts
    • Abbreviations and their full forms may be treated as synonyms. e.g. HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; guarantees, warranties
  • synonym ring
    • group of terms that are considered equivalent for the purposes of retrieval.
    • Synonym rings are particularly useful in search thesauri, used for searching unindexed material, where a search for any one of the terms in the ring can retrieve occurrences of any of the terms in the ring.
  • syntactic relationship
    • use syntagmatic relationship
  • syntagmatic relationship
    • (use for a posteriori relationship; syntactic relationship)
    • relationship between concepts that exists only because they occur together in a document being indexed
    • Such relationships are not generally valid in contexts other than the document being indexed, and therefore they do not form part of the structure of a thesaurus.
  • taxonomy
    • monohierarchical classification of concepts, as used, for example, in the classification of biological organisms
    • The above definition is a personal opinion; the definition proposed in BS8723-3 is "structured vocabulary using classificatory principles as well as thesaural features, designed as a navigation tool for use with electronic media". The term is used loosely to mean various types of classification schemes, subject heading lists or thesauri, particularly when applied to the indexing of Internet resources. In my opinion this use should be avoided because of its vagueness and uncertainty; when a non-specific meaning is intended, concept scheme or controlled vocabulary should be used instead.
  • term
    • word or phrase used to label a concept
    • Terms in a thesaurus can be either preferred terms or non-preferred terms.
  • thesaurus
  • topic map
    • concept scheme conforming to the specification given in the international standard ISO/IEC 13250 : Topic maps
    • ISO/IEC 13250 gives the following three definitions for "topic map":
      • a) A set of information resources regarded by a topic map application as a bounded object set whose hub document is a topic map document conforming to the SGML architecture defined by this International Standard.
      • b) Any topic map document conforming to the SGML architecture defined by this International Standard, or the document element (topicmap) of such a document.
      • c) The document element type (topicmap) of the topic map document architecture.
    • The introduction to ISO/IEC 13250 says: "In general, the structural information conveyed by topic maps includes:
      • groupings of addressable information objects around topics ('occurrences'), and
      • relationships between topics ('associations')".
  • vocabulary control
    • restriction of choice of indexing terms to those in a specified list
    • This restriction increases the likelihood of indexers and searchers choosing the same term to label a concept.


 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
2008 GlossaryOfTermsRelToThesauriStella Dextre Clarke
Alan Gilchrist
Ron Davies
Leonard Will
Glossary of Terms Relating to Thesauri and Other Forms of Structured Vocabulary for Information Retrievalhttp://www.willpowerinfo.co.uk/glossary.htm2008