Thinking Like a Librarian: Applying Categorization Strategies to Content


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Have you ever bookmarked a site only to go back later and not be able to find that site in your bookmarks? And then, have you ever bookmarked a site twice–only to wonder how you could have tagged it the way you did? Have you wondered how, when you have hundreds of thousands of source files in your content library, you will find the right content to reuse? Have you wondered about effective metadata tagging across a diverse (or distributed) team?

With an ever-growing library of content, lots of people wonder how to address this complexity. Specifically, technical publications staff members are often concerned about creating taxonomies that improve search-ability for:

- Authoring staff so that content can be found quickly, improving the speed at which documentation is assembled and delivered to the customer
- Customers so that they can find the relevant information quickly, speeding accurate completion of their task and generally improving the user experience with documentation products

These are two distinct groups of searchers, and only a subset of all the searchers looking for your content. The challenge has direct, immediate impact on productivity and confidence of staff members, effective reuse strategies, and best practices for designing processes for metadata markup.

In this class, we will talk about the foundation of library science, collation, and how these strategies can help:

- Create Custom metadata for Dynamic Documents
- Support the exchange of custom metadata with source content files and fragment files
- Develop taxonomies to support multiple search criteria

Learn key strategies that will put you in the best position to execute effectively so that you and your team can meet the increasing demands of creating, managing, and distributing content.

This was done as a workshop at the 2013 TC Camp ‎

For more detailed versions see the three-part series:

Part 1
- Slides:
- Video on YouTube:

Part 2
- Slides:
- Video on YouTube:

Part 3
- Slides:
- Video on YouTube:

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Thinking Like a Librarian: Applying Categorization Strategies to Content

  1. 1. Concepts and Techniques of Library Science Liz Fraley
  3. 3. Access Points•  Facilitating content discovery is all about creating and using effective access points•  An access point is anything that you would want to use as way to fetch a certain piece of information
  4. 4. Access Points•  An Access Point can be: o  a search term (keyword) o  search phrase o  something as specific as a product number or another coded number that identifies a smaller point (clause in a contract) o  a date (everything by a person in a certain time period (check someone’s work during a certain time period) o  a title o  an author o  a company o  type of material
  5. 5. Access Points•  Access point can be a combination of access points•  An access point lets you leverage what you know about content – to find it o  What do you remember about it o  If you knew that you did this last spring, and your other search methods are failing you…
  6. 6. Scope•  Scope is a way to break up data so you can pull it out and group it in ways that are useful to the users o  Children’s materials o  Fiction o  Non-fiction o  Spanish•  You don’t necessarily care what the bucket is, you just want a bucket
  7. 7. Scope•  Is it enough to say: o  Are you going to want to be able to search for a specific ankle joint apparatus o  OR o  Bring up everything that has to do with ankles?•  Need to make sure that you can narrow and enlarge in such a way that it allows you to group things in different ways
  8. 8. Example: Organizing Principles Photo by: magnetbox Photo by: stu_spivack
  9. 9. Methods to Facilitate Search•  Controlled Vocabulary•  Natural Language•  Keywords•  Numerical•  Time/Date•  Combined Searching
  10. 10. Controlled Vocabulary•  Controlled vocabulary is a highly structured, rigorously constructed taxonomy that specifies hierarchy of terms and specifies the terms that can be used to describe (categorize) any piece of content in a library
  11. 11. Controlled Vocabulary•  Card Catalog in the library•  Files in a file cabinet
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Controlled Vocabulary•  Benefits o  Everyone is forced to look at the world the same way o  Simple, while not as precise•  Drawbacks o  Have to know that “azure” is under “blue” o  Not always obvious
  14. 14. Keywords•  Keywords expand your access points o  Philippines vs Filipino vs Pilipino•  Can be controlled language•  But also allow you to use more natural language
  15. 15. Catalogs•  Controlled vocabulary (LOC & other taxonomies like NLM)•  Also has keywords which come from the summary o  Helps to add other access points to the controlled vocabulary o  Note: summary is written to include terms that are likely to be used by the searchers
  16. 16. Example: China Photo by: cygnus921Photo by: Dainis Matisons
  17. 17. Example: TurkeyGoogle Maps Photo by: turtlemom4bacon
  18. 18. Photo by: antonellomusina
  19. 19. Natural Language•  Natural Language search uses terms that a person would naturally use in speech
  20. 20. Yahoo
  21. 21. Natural Language•  Benefits o  When there’s more than one term commonly used to describe it, it allows users to use whatever term they naturally use and still get results – ATM vs Cash Machine•  Drawbacks o  Can overwhelm you with results o  Need to make sure the terms are in there so it narrows down
  22. 22. Natural Language Drawbacks•  For example: o  You build a website with specific things in mind because you want to be known in a specific way… o  then a spider crawls the site and you get thrown in with a lot of other weird stuff based on whatever words were in there
  23. 23. Example
  24. 24. Best Practice•  Some combination of controlled vocabulary and natural language to facilitate access points•  Drawbacks can be overcome by including related terms somewhere on the page
  25. 25. User Profiles•  What searches do you do?
  26. 26. The players•  Librarians •  Searchers o  Curate o  Need help! o  Add/modify keywords o  What are they looking for? o  How do they approach the task? You are both!
  27. 27. Who is the searcher?•  To best construct both the controlled vocabulary and the summary containing keywords, you need to know who is doing the searching o  Internal searchers o  External searchers o  Internal (team-external) searchers
  28. 28. PubMed & MeSH Vocabulary•• pubmedtutorial/015_010.html•  Pubmed is located here: o
  29. 29. Getting your Pantry in order •  Do you put condiments together? •  All the red food together? •  All the sugar food together? •  Do you put it together by recipe?
  30. 30. Keys to a Good Pantry •  Know the lifecycle of your Consumers & Producers Keep in mind things like.. o  Roles o  Permissions o  Organizational scheme o  Components – staples and specialty items Photo by cheeseslave