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DonXML writes about Controlled Vocabularies (CVs), Thesauri and tagging blogs, images, etc. here.  He and I have talked about this at length.  As expected there are a number of naysayers about this concept.  We predicted that it would be difficult to convince people that tagging via CV is valuable, practical and possible.  Of course it would only benefit those who were willing to do a small amount of extra work.  But it really isn't much more than what we do now with categories.

On the flip side of this, imagine the side effect.  We would be one step closer to the semantic web.  By giving people the ability to express what they mean by a word and being able to map their word to somebody else’s via a Thesaurus the semantic web would evolve by virtue of this process.  And the commingling of Thesauri could effectively evolve into a comprehensive Ontology.  And all of it will be possible by enabling people to control and manage their own CV and publish it for others to use.

So for instance, I would have the following CV & Thesaurus;

Technology - Anything relating to electronics, their use, operation, programming, and configuration.
  --Computers (NT) - All electronic devices used to automate manual processes.
    --Laptop (NT) - A portable computer that is large enough to be held on a lap, with most capabilities of a PC.
    --PC (NT) - A computer that is generally stationary and used at a desk.  The PC can be a tower or desktop configuration.

Information Technology (R) - The industry related to transmission, management and manipulation of electronic information.
  --Networking (NT) - The interconnection of computers.
    --LAN (NT) - Acronym for Local Area Network.  A LAN is usually a private/closed network of computers for a common use such as business.
    --Internet (NT) - A massive network available to the public exposing public and propritary resources and information.
       --Web Site (NT) - A resource available on the internet usually containing a common set of resources or services.
       --Blog (NT) - A web site dedicated to journaling thoughts about a large array of topics.
    --Search (R) - A practice of locating information on the internet by submitting one or more characters in a text box.
    --Categories (R) - A means to enable focused searching of information by providing a “key“ to the content contained in a web site.
       --Controlled Vocabulary (NT) - A structured list of terms and their meanings.  A CV is similar to a Category, but provides more specific information such as a definition.
       --Thesaurus (R) - A means of interrelating terms managed in multiple Controlled Vocabularies.


Thesaurus Key
[R - Related Term]
[NT - Narrower Term]
[BT - Broader Term] (inverse of NT)

In this example I am using Technology as my root term and traversing the Thesaurus tree from there.  I included the Thesaurus, but that discussion may cloud the topic of CVs, so I'll back off of that for now and create another post for that. 

Now I would proceed to tag this blog with the term Controlled Vocabulary.  If you subscribed to my CV/Thesaurus you could create your own cross-reference and search my blogs on your terms or my terms.  And you would know what I meant by each of my tags.  No more guessing.  No more false drops on your search.  To my earlier point, if you build one of these and publish it, and I publish one of these and we cross reference each others and publish that, we begin the march toward the semantic web.



Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:39 PM Other | Back to top

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