Weekly post: Christina T

Akin to the efficiency of copy cataloging, where can we find and download controlled vocabulary lists by discipline? There are many sites. Here’s one for photographers who use Adobe Lightroom; another with translated terminology put together by the International Monetary Fund; and a list for astronomy librarians.

Leise, Fast, and Steckel’s “What is a Controlled Vocabulary” is an easy-to-understand overview. The list of benefits for organizations — knowledge management, website content management systems, and internal communications — is apt. CVs are semantic layers “between the term entered by the user” and “the underlying database to better represent the original intention of the term.” With artificial intelligence and language algorithms that can make sense of “patterns,” however, might we be able to program computers to translate the “raw, rich, goey glory” of “natural language” without controlled vocabularies?


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