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Dagobert Soergel
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Thesauri and ontologies in digital libraries

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This introductory workshop is intended for anyone concerned with subject access to digital libraries. It provides a bridge by presenting methods of subject access as treated in an information studies program for those coming to digital libraries from other fields. It will elucidate through examples the conceptual and vocabulary problems users face when searching digital libraries. It will then show how a well-structured thesaurus can be used as the knowledge base for an interface that can assist users with search topic clarification (for example through browsing well-structured hierarchies and guided facet analysis) and with finding good search terms (through query term mapping and query term expansion ?synonyms and hierarchic inclusion). It will touch on cross-database and cross-language searching as natural extensions of these functions. The workshop will cover the thesaurus structure needed to support these functions: Concept-term relationships for vocabulary control and synonym expansion, conceptual structure (semantic analysis, facets, and hierarchy) for topic clarification and hierarchic query term expansion). It will introduce a few sample thesauri to illustrate these principles. Lastly the workshop will give a checklist for evaluating thesauri.
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