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What are the purposes of a controlled vocabulary?

Library and Information Science Quiz Questions Answers - LIS Quiz




QUESTION

Multiple Choice

What are the purposes of a controlled vocabulary? (Select all that apply.)


OPTIONS

A) To allow for consistent retrieval of resources.

B) To allow for comprehensive searching of a catalog.

C) To allow user-supplied tags that are specific to the user that applies them.

D) To allow for the control of synonyms.

E) To link terms that are related to each other, for ease of retrieval.

F) To repeat all the nouns that appear in the titles of every resource.


ANSWER

A, B, D, E





The purposes of controlled vocabulary are:

A) To allow for consistent retrieval of resources.

B) To allow for comprehensive searching of a catalog.

D) To allow for the control of synonyms.

E) To link terms that are related to each other, for ease of retrieval.





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.

Note: The process of creating, maintaining, and using a controlled vocabulary is called Vocabulary Control.

Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey¹ describe Controlled Vocabulary as below:

What is a controlled vocabulary? 
  • A standardized subject language used to describe the contents of the resources.
  • They generally include:
    • One term chosen as the preferred term
    • Control of its synonyms
    • Disambiguation among homographs/homonyms 
    • Identification of relationships among the terms
    • Cross-references

For consistency and improved retrieval, libraries and other information institutions attempt to suppress the anarchy of natural language when it comes to describing the aboutness of resources. Subject cataloging is more consistent when the vocabulary that is used is controlled.

The main objective of vocabulary control is to promote the consistent representation and comprehensive searching of subject matter.

This is achieved through the control of synonymous and nearly synonymous terms, by distinguishing among homographs and homonyms, and by linking together terms whose meanings are related in some fashion (identifying broader, narrower, and related terms).

But the use of controlled subject languages is only part of subject cataloging; the other part involves classification.









SEE ALSO



REFERENCES

1. Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey, Library of Congress, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Online Training," https://www.loc.gov/catworkshop/lcsh/index.html (accessed March 17, 2020).




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