L L E T I N
Using Software to Teach Thesaurus
Development and Indexing in Graduate Programs of LIS and IAKM
by Marcia Lei Zeng
Lei Zeng is with the School of Library and Information Science at Kent
State University, Kent, OH 44242; email: email@example.com.
This article was originally developed as a presentation
for the Data Harmony User’s Conference held in
I teach two courses related to thesaurus development and indexing. Indexing and Abstracting (LIS60649) covers manual and machine-aided indexing, creation of various types of traditional indexes, thesaurus construction and creation of sitemaps and site indexes. Knowledge Organization Systems: Taxonomy, Thesaurus, Ontology (IAKM60002) is a core course for IAKM students and a special topic course for LIS students.
1 shows the types of knowledge organization systems (
must understand not only how to construct KOS but also how to use
Several software programs have been introduced to the classes. They include the following:
In the next section, I will compare the pros and cons of using some of them.
Pros and Cons of
Thesaurus Management System. Several years ago, I designed and created a software program with the assistance of a programmer. It has been available on the Web. I have used this software to check students’ manually created thesauri. Students have used it to create their thesauri and to merge thesauri. The software allows online editing, including defining and changing terms and term relationships (facet/category, second language term, scope note and relationships such as USE, UF, BT, NT, RT, TT and CC). The strengths and weaknesses of the Thesaurus Management System follow:
is an open-source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework. The
tool allows users to construct domain ontologies, customize data
entry forms and enter data. It is also a platform that can easily be
extended to include graphical components, media and various storage
formats such as OWL, RDF, XML and HTML. Products like Protégé can
be used to host thesauri as well, as illustrated by Wielinga's work,
which employed Art and
Architecture Thesaurus and Visual
Resource Association (VRA) Core Metadata Categories (www.cs.vu.nl/~guus/papers/Wielinga01a.pdf).
In my class, ontology creation is taught after students have learned
different types of
Weaknesses (for thesaurus use):
MAIstro. Data Harmony has been providing me with demo and full versions of MAIstro for several years. In the beginning I used it to demonstrate how a thesaurus could be built with this software and how machine-aided subject indexing could be performed based on a thesaurus. Later we were given permission to install the full software package on our server and install the administrator and client parts on all 25 desktops of our electronic teaching classroom. With the software installed, each student was able to create his/her own thesaurus using the thesaurus master component and also to test the thesaurus against selected documents through the machine-aided indexer component of the software.
MAIstro allows for editing the term record (related terms, non-preferred terms, scope notes, editor’s notes, facet and history) through a user-friendly interface. A specific portion of a thesaurus can be separately stored or printed. This portion could be any major thesaurus component, such as the hierarchical display, all term records (the typical printed thesaurus main body), permuted display or alphabetical index.
In addition, the software makes it possible to store and use candidate terms, to show word frequencies and to trace the deleted terms. These three functions are the most useful maintenance and management methods. The records can be stored in various formats including XML, HTML, MARC and a newly added OWL format. In general, MAIstro enables the ANSI/NISO-Z39.19 compliant creation and maintenance of thesauri, allows users to create a vocabulary or import one from external sources and employs a knowledge-based-indexing process.
MAIstro has the following strengths and weaknesses in a teaching environment:
Weaknesses (in a teaching environment):
The access to both open sources and established commercial products during a student’s study is invaluable. Without the support of Data Harmony, it would probably never have been possible for the school to have access to a $60,000 software package, not to mention obtaining multiple copies for our classes. Data Harmony also provided prompt and professional support for any questions we had. The developer is considering our suggestions for further enhancement. I believe that the use of the software by a large group of student users provided useful feedback to the developer.
The impact of using MAIstro and other software in teaching and training is significant. After completing this course, students are able to recognize the importance of vocabulary control and knowledge organization, understand the relationships between vocabulary control and indexing, and understand user warrant and literary warrant principles and apply the knowledge to larger content management tasks.
G. (2000, April). Systems of
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Scientific and Technical Information Program. NASA thesaurus machine aided indexing (MAI). (software). Accessed June 10, 2005, at http://mai.larc.nasa.gov/
ontology editor and knowledge acquisition system. Accessed June
10, 2005, at http://protege.stanford.edu/.
Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
(2004). Web Ontology Language (OWL). Accessed June 11, 2005, at www.w3.org/2004/OWL/.
Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
(2004). Resource Descripton Framework (RDF). Accessed June 11, 2005, at www.w3.org/RDF/.
Wielinga, B., Schreiber, G., Wielemaker, J., & Sandberg, J.A.C. From thesaurus to ontology. International Conference on Knowledge Capture, Victoria, Canada, October 2001. Accessed June 10, 2005, at www.cs.vu.nl/~guus/papers/Wielinga01a.pdf
Zeng, M. L. (1999). Thesaurus management system. (software). Accessed June 10, 2005 at http://circe.slis.kent.edu/mzeng/thesaurihome.html.
Zeng, M. L. (2000, June 7). Taxonomy of knowledge organization sources/systems. Revised July 31, 2000. Accessed June 10, 2005, at http://nkos.slis.kent.edu/KOS_taxonomy.htm.
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