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The Significance of Vocabulary Michael Buckland

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  • 1. The Significance of Vocabulary Michael Buckland School of Information Management and Systems University of California, Berkeley
  • 2. The Significance of Vocabulary
    • An economic claim: Vocabulary problems reduce the benefits and return on investment in information services.
    • Vocabulary is used for indexicality, therefore issues of identity are central to LIS.
    • Vocabulary is central to digital libraries.
    • Vocabulary central to explaining the history of conceptions of LIS!
  • 3. A correctly formed Library of Congress Subject heading, but who would think of such search terms? God --- Knowableness --- History of doctrines --- Early church, ca. 30-600 --- Congresses.
  • 4. Economic Rationale:
    • Massive investment in repositories
    • Large investment in categorization schemes: classifications, thesauri, concept codes, headings, …
    • Categorization schemes usually specialized and stylized
    • Increasingly unfamiliar to searchers, hence ineffective, inefficient use
  • 5. Remedy Support for searching unfamiliar metadata vocabularies: Interface to translate searcher’s vocabulary into system’s vocabulary.
  • 6. Examples Automobile import, export data (Census Bureau) Automobiles? No data. Cars? “ Railway or tramway stock” (Passenger motor vehicles, spark ignition engine.)
  • 7. “ Automobiles”, also know as . . . TL 205 180/280 3711 in Library of Congress Classification in U.S. Patent Classification in Standard Industrial Classification
  • 8. Example: Coastal pollution F SU COASTAL POLLUTION 0 F TW COASTAL POLLUTION SUMMARIZE SUBJECTS LCSH Marine pollution Coastal zone management Water --- Pollution Petroleum industry and trade Beach erosion Coasts Barrier islands MeSH Seawater Water pollution Bacteria Water microbiology Air pollution Environmental monitoring Bathing beaches
  • 9. International Harmonized Commodity Classification System: “Computer”
    • HS 84 : “Nuclear reactors, boilers, machines and mechanical appliances”
    • HS 8471 : “Automatic data processing machines and units thereof, magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data”
    • HS 847120 : “Digital auto data proc mach contng in the same housing a CPU and input & output device”
  • 10. INSPEC Thesaurus subdomain-based indexes:
    • “ Water” subdomain: Fission reactor safety; Fission reactor fuel; Polymers; Organic insulating materials; Water supply; Cable insulation; Insulation testing; and Insulating oils.
    • “ Biology” subdomain: Water; Biomechanics; Physiological models; Neurophysiology; Cellular effects of radiation.
    • “ Information Studies” subdomain: Agriculture; Natural resources; Forecasting theory; Operations research; Erosion.
  • 11. Example: Vietnam War. U.C. MELVYL Online Catalog FIND XSU VIETNAM WAR Search Results: 0 records FIND XSU VIETNAMESE CONFLICT Search Results: 4,190 records
  • 12. Dictionaries don’t always help Emanuel Goldberg: Aerial photography using a “ Drachen ” Actual meaning: Aerodynamic tethered balloon. Standard contemporary English was: Aerostat. German: Drachen (= Kite in dictionary)
  • 13. “ Entry vocabulary” search interfaces:
    • Software and algorithms map natural language vocabulary to specialized metadata terms.
    • Allows users to enter ordinary language queries while taking advantage of existing subject headings, categorization
    • Uses co-occurrence statistics to link users’ ordinary language terms to system vocabularies
    • Statistical association between lexical items in titles and abstracts and the system’s metadata vocabulary
    • Suggests most likely system vocabulary
  • 14. Thesaurus navigation
    • Facilitates browsing where structure is present: Broader, narrower, related terms
    • Guides searcher to other parts of the structure
    Retrieval set analysis
    • Navigation within micro-domain
  • 15. Web access: WWW forms-based application supported by Perl Supports searches on remote repositories Four subdomain dictionaries in three databases --- BIOSIS (Biological abstracts): subdomain “water” --- INSPEC: subdomains: “information science”, “water” --- U.S. Patent Office classification
  • 16. Statement of work:
    • Varied prototype Entry Vocabulary Modules.
    • Unintrusive development of EVMs by agents
    • Sensitivity to subdomains.
    • Natural language processing to augment statistical term frequency.
    • Recommendations for metadata “codebooks” for numeric databases.
    • www.sims.berkeley.edu/metadata/