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205RE: [TaxoCoP] formal vs. informal terms

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  • kate.simpson@freshfields.com
    Jul 1, 2005
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      will your interface display the informal terms?
      even if it does, the great thing about distinguishing between preferred terms and non-preferred terms is that you can *teach* users a language - every time they do a search, or browse a tree-like structure (for example), as long as it is the formal term that is the term in the search box or the term that is the link (and with the use of "do you mean...?") users will learn the formal terms and drop the informal terms over time. The point of using something like a thesaurus, that can represent some of the relationships that exist between terms, is to include as many of the synonyms and informal terms that might exist to meet the diverse range of possible users and to represent some of the complexity and richness of the English language, and that's even required within a closed group.
      I work in a law firm and lawyers just cannot agree on one term for a legal concept. We can try and create a common language for the firm to use, but it has to be done as a learning process. Add into that the other eight supported languages for the firm and the number of synonyms/informal terms increases dramatically - allowing users to use their own terms until they get used to alternatives is essential I think!
      I've found some of the most donkey-like reactions when lawyers think you are *forcing* them to use a certain term/phrase over another...!
      -----Original Message-----
      From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Layton, Charles F
      Sent: 01 July 2005 14:32
      To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [TaxoCoP] formal vs. informal terms

      I had an interesting exchange with some of the decision makers in my area yesterday.  I had been planning on building a taxonomy that included informal terms (such as porkchop fitting and batwing doors) and mapped them to the formal terms (as described in maintenance manuals).  The person in charge of engineering didn't like the idea because he thought it supported the use of the informal terms and he wanted people to use the formal terms.  The person in charge of maintenance preferred having the informal terms in the taxo because those are the ones people actually use.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that a number of people know only the informal terms, not the formal ones.  I want to optimize performance, so I'd like to include the informal terms.

      Have any of you run into this before?  How did you address it?


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