LSC 551 – Thesaurus Construction

Assignment #3 – Thesaurus Construction

I chose as my topic for the thesaurus exercise, Information Policy, from LSC 557: Information and Libraries in Society. It was a subject I found interesting during the course, and I recall hoping at the time that future coursework would lead me to it again. I developed the thesaurus by first reading a number of academic journal articles and book chapters, per the assignment directions, extracting from them terms that seemed appropriate. Starting with 98 jotted down terms and phrases, I transcribed them in to an Excel spreadsheet, then alphabetized that list to remove any obvious duplications. That took it down to 91 terms. Removing close synonyms reduced the number to 84. Then, per the directions but veering slightly off track, I searched each of the remaining terms in the Twitter database, where so many librarians and LIS students contribute tweets and links. I set as a benchmark of 75 percent relevant hits per page to accept the term. That further reduced the number of terms to 54. I printed out the results and began the tedious process of assigning/determining equivalent, hierarchical, and associative relationships. Establishing relationships actually resulted in the inclusion and exclusion of a few additional terms.

The resulting thesaurus divides the subject into four broad areas: information infrastructure; copyright issues; library and related legislation; and information life-cycle. I borrowed the initial structure in part from the Rubin chapter on information policy, and in part from the structure of journal articles I used to come up with the terms. The process of filling in scope notes resulted in slight rearrangement of some of the terms.  References cited, along with their type and the terms they provided are on the following pages. Scope notes, hierarchical and associative terms and synonymous terms are included in the body of the thesaurus.

Shifting from the spreadsheet to MultiTes was not without problems.  First I tried the Quick DATA Entry option  (it seemed easy and “quick”).  Got them all entered with appropriate relationships listed, source notes, and line spacings.  Then when I went to check for inconsistencies, the results went on for pages and pages.  I had done something wrong.  So I opened a new file, entered each term in, one by one. I discovered that you have to do the whole list, then go back to add source notes for selected terms, which I found as odd, but it was ok.  I went back and added all my source notes (ten were required).  When I checked for internal consistency, there were only two errors, which I immediately fixed.  The results of the hierarchical and alphabetical displays  were not exactly what I had anticipated, but perhaps it was my anticipation that was errored.

Arnold, A. (2004). Developing a national information policy—considerations for developing countries. The International Information & Library Review, 36(3), 199-207. (academic journal article: national information policies, developing country information policy, information value, information infrastructure, information technology standard, information policy domain)

Bender, D. R., Kadec, S. T., & Morton-Schwalb, S. I. (1991). National Information Policies: Strategies for the future Special Libraries Association. (academic journal article: national and federal information policies; national information goals; access to government information)

Braman, S. (2006). Change of state: Information, policy, and power. MIT Press Cambridge, MA. (book: meta-technologies, embedded computing, information production chain, information life cycle.)

Jaeger, P. T. (2007). Information policy, information access, and democratic participation: The national and international implications of the bush administration’s information politics. Government Information Quarterly, 24(4), 840-859. (academic journal article: policy-access relationships, policy shaping information access, freedom of information, privacy, secrecy, intellectual property, ICT, information policy legislation).

Kahin, B., & Nesson, C. (1996). Borders in cyberspace: Information policy and the global information infrastructure MIT Press: Cambridge. (book: government commercialization of information in the EU, unrestricted information policy in the US).

Mêgnigbêto, E. (2010). Information policy: Content and challenges for an effective knowledge society. The International Information & Library Review, 42(3), 144-148. (academic journal article: multi-level formulation of information policy, public domain information, multidimensional and multidisciplinary information, information literacy).

Quinn, A. C. (2003). Keeping the citizenry informed: Early congressional printing and 21st century information policy. Government Information Quarterly, 20(3), 281-293. (academic journal article: critical infrastructure for information age, Freedom of information Act, Privacy Act of 1974, U.S. Patriot Act, E-Commerce).
Relyea, H., & Berman, L. (1981). The presidency and information policy The Center. (book: Presidential Records Act of 1978, Freedom of Information Act, political communications)

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of library and information science. Neil-Schuman Publishers: New York. (book: privacy, information access, internet (network) neutrality, digitization of government documents, copyright protects, first sale doctrine, fair use doctrine).

Shuler, J. (2005). A post-election perspective: Whither information policy? part two. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 31(1), 63-66. (academic journal article: public goods infrastructure, global digital data network, public knowledge, public knowledge diffusion).

Shuler, J. (2004). INFORMATION POLICY: Ask not for whom the bells toll. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 30(1), 77-79. (academic journal article: public good, digital divide).

Shuler, J. A. (2007). Public policies and academic Libraries—The shape of the next digital divide. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(1), 141-143. (academic journal article: academic librarianship policy, fiduciary responsibility in the digital age).

Shuler, J., & Sulzer, J. (1998). The community information organization: An initiative for communities and academic libraries. Collection Management, 23(3), 9-20. (academic journal article: community partnership, citizenship literacy, information literacy, networked community democracy, government information, community information organization, community network, multi-library cooperation, community partnership models).

November 22, 2013, the week ending

Blog entries have been irregular of late.  Shifting back and forth between prose and poetry can be exhausting.  But here we are.

Good trip to Philadelphia on Monday to close out Modpo 13.  Here is a shot of Al and the table TA’s:


View the final webcast by clicking on this link.

and here is a shot of the assemblage at KWH, after lunch:


The bus trip up was quick but crowded!  And the train ride back to DC was lovely as always. I so love Amtrak! Class Monday night was cancelled, so I came home and did some work on my thesaurus project (although I know I won’t really get in gear until the day before it is due, which would be today!).

Tuesday was uneventful.  More reading, more pulling out words for the thesaurus project.  Really enjoying the readings, though I know that is not supposed to be the point of the project.  Also savored all day Tuesday the descent from Monday’s ModPo high. Wednesday I had part two of my retirement medical exam.  Good numbers on cholesterol, blood chemistry and pressure.  Half decaf coffee is doing the trick!  Thursday, created a spreadsheet for the physical thesaurus (I am a spreadsheet kinda guy). Thursday afternoon I drove out to Chevy Chase for a quasi interview with an executive recruitment firm (I say quasi because it was the first meeting, more like a let’s get acquainted chat). Thursday night Info Lit class on Adobe Connect. Which brings us to Friday, today, all-day-long finalizing of the thesaurus project and presentation.  Bring the weekend!

November 17, 2013


Loving this excerpt from a paper I am using as part of a thesaurus construction project:

“The public sphere — public press, public forums, public schools, public libraries, and other means of free discourse about social and political information — became the mediator between the rights of the individual and the power of the state in democratic societies.  At the root of the public sphere is access to information.  Some entities of the public sphere, such as public libraries,have made providing information access their defining characteristic.”   P.T. Jaeger

late entry: November 8, 2013. Day in the life

We met at Brookings to conduct interviews for our LSC 555 project. Good information.  Passed by Krispy Kreme on Dupont Circle.  Out of glazed until 2pm. Nothing else will do.  What were they thinking?  Returned home to catch up on correspondence.  Up late doing RA editing and preps for trip to Philidelphia.



late entry: November 7, 2013. Day in the life

the days are starting to run together. Thursday I was in the house until late afternoon, finetuning my storyboards.  Then Metro-ed to CUA for an evening class  We knocked off around 9:15pm, then home.

November 6, 2013 – Library Student Day in the Life

Home studying most of the day.  Short trip to the Instruction Manual Factory retirement processing office to drop off old divorce papers.  Reviewed notes from 555, including Access practice. Reviewed notes from 551, including thesaurus construction project. Gathered some thoughts for tomorrow’s meeting with the oral history folks at ADST. Mostly dithered with 644. Had a brief Baghdad flashback, nothing to be too concerned about, though. They come and go. Here is a link to a review of the play we saw Sunday, The Iceman Cometh. Highly recommended.

iceman cometh review

November 5, 2013 – Library Student Day in the Life

Completed some reading over tea.  Filomena made a big breakfast of eggs, baked fish and toast.  Made the neighborhood rounds: the post office, the public Library, the optical store, the instruction manual factory and back home.  Made an appointment for my retirement physical at the instruction manual factory.  Returned home and dithered for several hours over my 644 project (Information Literacy).  Went to bed early after a long chat with Filomena about themes from The Iceman Cometh.