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208Re: formal vs. informal terms

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  • craighubleyca
    Jul 4, 2005
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      --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, "Layton, Charles F"
      <charles.layton@n...> wrote:
      > 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?

      Yup, run into it all the time. The answer I usually apply is:

      1. define the formal terms very very exactly with lots of cross links
      and engineering tests

      2. define the informal terms colloquially quoting the maintenance
      people exactly - chances are, what they are talking about is not
      exactly the same scope as the formal terms - they may have developed
      some distinctions that are not made formally

      3. make sure that where there is substantial overlap, they point to
      each other, and that underlying task or action descriptions are in
      common - you might need to add another level just for this, but you
      can't avoid it - there must be some agreement on the "bottom level"

      3a. if you're using a wiki, then, make liberal use of redirects and
      make sure to include the informal and formal terms both as legitimate
      titles and links

      4. encourage these folks to actually start talking to each other -
      chances are there are worse problems arising from them not talking
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