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Re: Google's taxonomy?

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  • Martin Carbone
    ... about the guidance given Google Directory editors about creating ... Thanks Marijane. I copied about 9 pages from the links you provided and will study
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 7, 2008
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      --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, marijane white <marijane@...> wrote
      about the guidance given Google Directory editors about creating
      categories, sub-categories and topics:

      --------- reply ------

      Thanks Marijane. I copied about 9 pages from the links you provided
      and will study them.

      As it is, the information is helpful, because it is readily apparent
      that Google is winging it. Their "guidance" is very off-the-cuff and
      not the least bit rigorous. I expected more from a company that has so
      much money, resources, brainpower, promise and ambition.

      The "Preferred Terms" section is evidently an attempt to set up what I
      call a controlled vocabulary (they talk about the fact that they do
      not use a "prescribed thesaurus").

      Can the professional indexers on this list give Google and the rest of
      us neophytes some advice on the difference between "preferred terms",
      "controlled vocabulary" and "prescribed thesaurus"? I suspect these
      terms should not be used as synonyms if we are going to communicate
      efficiently. If they are truly synonyms, shouldn't some czar-of-words
      declare which should be used and which should be discarded? Is their
      an authoritative source for this information? If they are not
      synonyms, shouldn't their differences be made known?


      Marty Carbone
    • Janice Keeler
      To the question on definitions and an authoritative source - there is a U.S. national standard that includes definitions of terms like controlled vocabulary
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 7, 2008
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        To the question on definitions and an authoritative source - there is a U.S. national standard that includes definitions of terms like controlled vocabulary and thesaurus.  This was drafted by a committee of experts, posted on the internet for public comment, then revised and approved in 2005. See http://www.niso.org/standards/standard_detail.cfm?std_id=814
        ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 – Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies.
         
        Here are some excerpts:
        Controlled vocabulary - "A list of terms that have been enumerated explicitly [...] If multiple terms are used to mean the same thing, one of the terms is identified as the preferred term in the controlled vocabulary and the other terms are listed as synonyms or aliases."
         
        Thesaurus - "A controlled vocabulary arranged in a known order and structured so that the various relationships among terms are displayed clearly and identified by standardized relationship indicators..."
         
        Simple examples of controlled vocabularies would be
        • company lists showing whether to use I.B.M. or IBM or International Business Machines as the preferred term
        • lists of US state postal codes or Canadian provinces
        • lists of countries (is it United States or USA, United Kingdom or Great Britain or UK?)
        A thesaurus or taxonomy is more complex because relationships other than just a list of preferred terms and synonyms are included.
         
        There are other national and international standards on related concepts. but I agree that using "preferred terms" and consistent meanings of terms would clarify discussions of these topics.  I think most people involved in this would agree on the basic distinctions between a controlled vocabulary and a thesaurus, but I've heard a variety of definitions of taxonomy, thesaurus and ontology in this professional context.
        Regards,
        Janice
         
         
         Martin Carbone <martycarbone@...> wrote:
        --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com, marijane white <marijane@.. .> wrote
        about the guidance given Google Directory editors about creating
        categories, sub-categories and topics:

        --------- reply ------

        Thanks Marijane. I copied about 9 pages from the links you provided
        and will study them.

        As it is, the information is helpful, because it is readily apparent
        that Google is winging it. Their "guidance" is very off-the-cuff and
        not the least bit rigorous. I expected more from a company that has so
        much money, resources, brainpower, promise and ambition.

        The "Preferred Terms" section is evidently an attempt to set up what I
        call a controlled vocabulary (they talk about the fact that they do
        not use a "prescribed thesaurus").

        Can the professional indexers on this list give Google and the rest of
        us neophytes some advice on the difference between "preferred terms",
        "controlled vocabulary" and "prescribed thesaurus"? I suspect these
        terms should not be used as synonyms if we are going to communicate
        efficiently. If they are truly synonyms, shouldn't some czar-of-words
        declare which should be used and which should be discarded? Is their
        an authoritative source for this information? If they are not
        synonyms, shouldn't their differences be made known?

        Marty Carbone


      • Martin Carbone
        ... To the question on definitions and an authoritative source - there is a U.S. national standard that includes definitions of terms like controlled
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 8, 2008
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          --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, Janice Keeler <keelerjs@...> wrote:
          To the question on definitions and an authoritative source - there is
          a U.S. national standard that includes definitions of terms like
          controlled vocabulary and thesaurus. This was drafted by a committee
          of experts, posted on the internet for public comment, then revised
          and approved in 2005. See
          http://www.niso.org/standards/standard_detail.cfm?std_id=814
          ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 – Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and
          Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies.
          --------- reply follows -------

          Thanks -- it is much appreciated. It should be very helpful to me. I
          will read it carefully.

          Marty Carbone
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