Controlled Vocabularies

Controlled vocabularies make my day. They help streamline processes and assist catalogers by providing a set list of terms from which to select to describe a given item or document. The entire premise of controlled vocabularies, as I understand them, is that by describing items in the same way information organizations make organizing, retrieving, and selecting information much easier for everyone.

This article goes into depth about the how and somewhat of the why of creating a controlled vocabulary. I really enjoyed it as the article follows a logical progression of how to create a CV. The first step of the processes is to define the scope of the CV. Everything that follows hinges on that scope, how big, to what depth, who will the CV serve all these questions are involved in the question of scope. I often wish we had a CV for say the internet, but the scope of that project would be so large as to be useless even if people would follow it. I was glad to see that later in the article, there was a discussion of crosswalks and how to transfer information from one system using a CV to another system. For as much as I love CV having a ton of silo CV’s can’t be the best answer.

Building Controlled Vocabularies for Metadata Harmonization http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Dec-12/DecJan13_Zaharee.html
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2 thoughts on “Controlled Vocabularies

  1. Good post! I’ll just add that CVs present the traditional economics of information organizing (aka,, “library economy”) quandary: Do we develop one for our application or do we adopt an existing one? CVs are very expensive, not only to start up, but also to maintain over time…

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