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Using a controlled vocabulary is the same as using natural language. [True or False]

Library and Information Science Quiz Questions Answers - LIS Quiz



Using a controlled vocabulary is the same as using natural language.


A) True

B) False


B) False

Using a controlled vocabulary is NOT the same as using natural language.

Controlled Vocabulary refers to an established list, organized arrangement, or database of preferred terms and phrases (usually subject or genre/form terms) in which all terms and phrases representing a concept are brought together. A controlled vocabulary is usually listed alphabetically in a subject headings list or thesaurus of indexing terms.

In a controlled vocabulary a preferred term or phrase is designated for use in surrogate records in a retrieval tool (e.g., bibliographic records in the library catalog), the non-preferred terms have references from them to the chosen term or phrase, and relationships among used terms are identified (e.g., broader terms, narrower terms, related terms). There may also be scope notes.

A cataloger or indexer must select terms from a controlled vocabulary when assigning subject headings or descriptors in a bibliographic record to indicate the subject of the work (e.g. a book) in a library catalog, bibliographic database, or an index.

Controlled vocabularies provide a way to organize knowledge for subsequent retrieval. They are used in subject indexing schemes, subject headings, thesauri, taxonomies, and other knowledge organization systems. Controlled vocabulary schemes mandate the use of predefined, authorized terms that have been preselected by the designers of the schemes, in contrast to natural language vocabularies, which have no such restriction.



1. Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey, Library of Congress, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Online Training," (accessed March 17, 2020).

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