Controlled Vocabulary


Links to Articles and Resources on other Sites* (categorized by topic)

Articles on Controlled Vocabularies, and Classification Systems
Looking for Metadata in All the Wrong Places: Why a controlled vocabulary or thesaurus is in your future.
Cuisinarts, E-Commerce, and ... Controlled Vocabularies, from Dr. Dobbs Journal
•Jean Bedford explains how "Using Vocabularies to Improve Findability" works in this article on the BeyeNetwork.
•Christine Wodtke tells why it's important to "Mind Your Phraseology" in this piece in the Digital Web magazine (alternate link from
•A two level hierarchy (9 top level subject areas) used for research by subject matter at Kansas University.
•Prof. Tim Craven's (University of Western Ontario) online module to teach you the basics of constructing an information retrieval thesaurus.
•A PDF with a discussion of Free Text vs. Controlled Vocabulary systems from Lebanon Valley College.
ASPP, American Society of Picture Professionals has some resources for devising methods to file and retrieve images; as well as webinars you can view for free.
•The CENDI presentation archive has a number of media files (Powerpoint and PDF's) regarding the use of controlled vocabularies and the internet. CENDI (Commerce, Energy, NASA, Defense Information Managers Group) is an interagency group of senior Scientific and Technical Information (STI) managers from 14 United States federal agencies. There is also a page regarding Taxonomies, Terminologies, and controlled vocabularies including their CENDI Science Terminology Resources.
"All About Facets and Controlled Vocabularies" is an introduction to a series of four articles by Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel on the Boxes and Arrows website.
"What is a Controlled Vocabulary" in another article by Fast, Leise and Steckel, which discusses the concept of what a Controlled Vocabulary is, and how it is used.
"Creating a Controlled Vocabulary" is another article by by Leise, Fast and Steckel that describes a process for building your own controlled vocabulary (CV). Rather than the "what, this article focuses on the “how”including a process for creating any kind of controlled vocabulary and introduces the concept of facets.
•The blog entry "Build Digital Asset Catalogues That Reflect The Needs Of Your Business" touches on a number of issues that emerge when employees are asked to take on the management of a controlled vocabulary and the application of keywords, in addition to their regular duties.
• The article titled "Designing a Controlled Vocabulary for use with Digital Asset Libraries" gives an overview of the topic, touching on structure and depth of controlled vocabularies.
•Barbara H. Kwasnik, discusses "The Role of Classification in Knowledge Representation and Discovery" in this journal article PDF. A PDF reprint of the original web page may be more readable.
• Michael Buckland, from the University of California makes a case for "Vocabulary As A Central Concept In Library And Information Science."

•Real world examples of key wording in action, shows a wide variety of associated pictures with key words.
"Tagging and Why It Matters" an essay from David Weinberger, author of "Everything is Miscellaneous" discusses how tagging empowers readers and has social and business benefits.
•The Captioning Style Guidelines for Department of Defense Imagery can be viewed online or in a 52 page downloadable PDF (an older version is on
Sarah Saunders of Electric Lane writes about effective keywording in the Word Up... article that was published in the British Journal of Photography.

•Controlled vocabulary considered as Metadata for subject searching, .
•Learn about the concept of "Crosswalks" in Introduction to Metadata: Pathways to Digital Information from the Getty Museum website.
"The Discipline of Organizing" by Robert Glushko covers metadata within a framework for the theory and practice of organizing information. An overview is also available as a downloadable PDF from the Association for Information Science and Technology.
•A Metadata Glossary - Victor Lombardi explains the differences between taxomonies, ontologies and controlled vocabularies.
•Woody Pidcock gives his explantion about the differences between, "a vocabulary, a taxonomy, a thesaurus, an ontology, and a meta-model" in this PDF.
•Debbie Campbell explains how the Dublin Core Metadata and the Australian MetaWeb Project are involved to make metadata work on the web.
•Jim Goldstein interviews David Riecks by for his Exif and Beyond podcast series regarding, Controlled Vocabulary, and the GetMetaSmart tour.

ISO 25964 the international standard for thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies As much a textbook as a formal standard, this resource provides a comprehensive summary of recommendations for good practice, developed by an international working party of information professionals. The standard itself requires purchase, however this site is a great resource as it has a great deal of background information such as: a data model for a thesaurus, an email discussion list, and links to further reading and resources.
•Heather Hedden reviewed ISO 25964 for The Indexer in these two PDF's: Part 1 | Part 2
ANSI-NISO Z.39.19 standard "Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies" is the predecessor to ISO 25964.
•Peter Morville answers the question: How do you build a thesaurus? in Dr. Dobbs Journal
•Online Dictionaries, Glossaries and Encyclopedias - 101
•An article discussing Criteria for Evaluating Thesaurus Software by Jochen Ganzmann, including a checklist.

•An article on Keyword Theory by James Cook discusses the pros and cons of open vs controlled vocabulary.
•A version of "Porter's Stemming Algorithm" is online. Developed by Dr. Mobasher, Bamshad from Depaul University, it might be used to think of word origins you may have not considered.
•The Digital Libraries Initiative's D-Lib magazine archive is available online.
"Keeping Found Things Found" explores another means for Personal Information Management.
•The "Stuff I've Seen" (SIS) program attempts to answer the riddle: The more data you have, the more you know...The more you know, the more you forget...The more you forget, the less you know....So why have data?
•The DAM Glossary is a resource containing definitions relating to Digital Asset Management and related fields. It covers a range of different subjects including metadata, hardware, interoperability, asset manipulation.
The DAM Coalition website (now under the ProVideo Coalition) has a section dedicated to Controlled Vocabulary for Digital Asset Management.

Media Asset Management
"Direct Annotation: A Drag-and-Drop Strategy for Labeling Photos" links to a Word document by Ben Shneiderman, Hyunmo Kang.
•The University of Maryland Human Computer Interaction Laboratory has developed a prototype application called PhotoFinder as part of its research effort on Personal Photo Libraries. Read about "Web-siteStarter: Exporting photo library to the web" in this Word document. Later work is at
When Image Is Everything: Finding and Using Graphics from the Web by Nicolas G. Tomaiuolo. Want to know where to go for images, how to find and download them, and the copyright issues involved? Then focus in on this descriptive article and you'll get the picture!
•The "Adding Descriptions to Digital Photos" article by Mike Ashenfelder (Library of Congress) gives a good overview of the process.

Businesses and Organizations involved in Metadata and Taxonomy creation and Maintenance

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is the group that is engaged in the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models. While the name might imply that the group is in Ireland, it actually refers to Dublin, Ohio, the location of the first meeting of the Library and Information Science professionals that devised the "core" set of metadata for cataloging content on the internet.
Taxonomystrategies is an information management consultancy that specializes in applying taxonomies, metadata, automatic classification, and other information retrieval technologies to the needs of business.
CIP4 is international, world wide operating standards body located in Switzerland working to encourage computer based integration of all processes that have to be considered in the graphic arts industry, in particular the specification of standards, such as the Job Definition Format (JDF).
•The Resource Description Framwork (RDF) is a project of the WC3, the standards body that brought you HTML and the internet (after a fashion).
Webchoir is a full-featured, integrated vocabulary control system with solutions for: information producers, indexers, and seekers.
SmartLogic (formerly SchemaLogic) provides commercial solutions to simplify data integration and information retrieval through the use of collaboratively shared schema.
PoolParty is a firm dedicated to taxonomy and thesaurus management.
•The PLUS Coalition has built a glossary and usage matrix controlled vocabulary to be used in the licensing of photographic images.
•An Introduction to XFML discusses the creation and implementation of an alternative to controlled vocabularies named, obviously enough, "Faceted Classification."
•The eXchangeable Faceted Metadata Language provides the XFML format for all to use in representing glossary/thesauri structures. The XFML 1.0 spec can be downloaded from a page on this site.

Software for Creating and Maintaining Thesauri

Term Tree Thesaurus Software is from Australia and has a Windows only application that can be used to create and manage subject (ISO 2788) or records management scheme (AS4390 - ISO 15489) thesauri, synonym rings, controlled vocabularies or taxonomies.
•The Willpower Information website has a whole section on Software for Building and Editing Thesauri.

Blogs and Podcasts

•The SAA Metadata Manifesto Blog provides updates and notices about best practices in the use of image metadata.
•The Photo Metadata Blog is updated periodicaly with news items referring to metadata issues.
•The Exif and Beyond podcast covers a wide variety of topics centered on digital photography and image management.
•Henrik de Gyor shares what he has learned as a Digital Asset Manager for an educational organization in his Another DAM Blog -- such as dealing with collections, metadata management, permissions and training for all users throughout an enterprise.
•Philip Spiegel covers topics regarding Digital Asset Management, Media Asset Management, Metadata, and Archive Operations in his DAM ideas blog.
•The Cataloging Futures blog is a stated "Work" in Progress regarding the future of cataloging and metadata in libraries.
•The DAM Survival Guide blog from David Diamond shows how his book makes DAM initiative planning easier
•The DAMagedWorkflow site is a blog about Digital Asset Management from Andrew Mannone.
•The TameYourAssets site was developed by Ian Matzen as "an exploration of the ways digital assets can be used and managed"

*last updated Februrary, 2018


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