Essential Thesaurus Construction

Jun 2006 | 304pp

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Essential Thesaurus Construction

Vanda Broughton

Many information professionals working in small units today fail to find the published tools for subject based organization that are appropriate to their local needs, whether they are archivists, special librarians, information officers, or knowledge or content managers. Large established standards for document description and organization are too unwieldy, unnecessarily detailed, or too expensive to install and maintain. In other cases the available systems are insufficient for a specialist environment, or don't bring things together in a helpful way. A purpose built, in-house system would seem to be the answer, but too often the skills necessary to create one are lacking.

This practical text examines the criteria relevant to the selection of a subject management system, describes the characteristics of some common types of subject tool, and takes the novice step-by-step through the process of creating a system for a specialist environment. The methodology employed is a standard technique for the building of a thesaurus that incidentally creates a compatible classification or taxonomy, both of which may be used in a variety of ways for document or information management. Key areas covered are:

  • What is a thesaurus?
  • Tools for subject access and retrieval
  • What a thesaurus is used for
  • Why use a thesaurus?
  • Examples of thesauri
  • The structure of a thesaurus
  • Thesaural relations
  • Practical thesaurus construction
  • The vocabulary of the thesaurus
  • Building the systematic structure
  • Conversion to alphabetic format
  • Forms of entry in the thesaurus
  • Maintaining the thesaurus
  • Thesaurus software
  • The wider environment.  

Readership: Although primarily aimed at the practising information professional, the book is also suitable for students of library and information science.

1. What is a thesaurus?  
2. Tools for subject access and retrieval  
3. What a thesaurus is used for  
4. Why use a thesaurus?  
5. Types of thesaurus  
6. The format of a thesaurus  
7. Building a thesaurus 1: vocabulary collection  
8. Vocabulary control 1: selection of terms  
9. Vocabulary control 2: form of entry  
10. Building a thesaurus 2: term extraction from document titles  
11. Building a thesaurus 3: vocabulary analysis  
12. The thesaural relationships  
13. Building a thesaurus 4: introducing internal structure  
14. Building a thesaurus 5: imposing hierarchy  
15. Building a thesaurus 6: compound subjects and citation order  
16. Building a thesaurus 7: conversion of the taxonomy to alphabetical format  
17. Building a thesaurus 8: creating the thesaurus records  
18. Managing and maintaining the thesaurus: thesaurus software  
19. Conclusion  
20. Glossary  
21. Bibliography  
Appendix 1. Sample titles for thesaurus vocabulary  
Appendix 2. Sample terms for the thesaurus  
Appendix 3. Facets at stage 1 of analysis  
Appendix 4. Facets at stage 2 of analysis  
Appendix 5. Completed systematic display  
Appendix 6. Thesaurus entries for sample page

"…Essential Thesaurus Construction will surely be of great value to the community of present and future information professionals."
- Library Review

Vanda Broughton MA DipLib is a Lecturer in Library and Information Studies at the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London. She has taught, written and led training courses on thesauri for many years. She is joint editor of the new edition of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification scheme, is a member of the UDC revision working group, and also of the UK Classification Research Group.