Wednesday, April 20, 2005

ANSI/NISO Z39.19 draft revision

Whew! I'm finally back from 3 trips in 3 weeks, and have slogged through enough email to think about the blog again. I had lots of interesting developments waiting for me when I returned - new blog fodder!

ANSI/NISO has released a draft revision of Z39.19, now titled "Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies." I haven't had a chance to read the document yet, but it sure looks interesting! From the table of contents, I'm glad to see a small section on synonym rings, as we encountered these not working the way we expected in an implementation of OracleText. At first glance, the scope of the standard seems to have expanded. There are sub-sections of the "principles" section on ambiguity and facet analysis that I don't recall being in the existing standard (but don't quote me on that!). I'm extremely interested in the section on displaying controlled vocabularies. In my opinion this is the biggest barrier to end users of systems using controlled vocabularies today - displays that completely separate the vocabulary from the search interface, requiring users to know of their existence, understand their structure, and take the time to consult them! I look forward to seeing if this draft standard can make them more understandable.

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