Terminologies, implemented

Way back when (in November), I wrote about the report from the terminologies services meeting we held in September. The report gives a ranked list of the highest priorities use cases for a terminologies service. The top vote-getter was “Leveraging terminology for search optimization,” and the elves in Dublin, Ohio (namely, Diane Vizine-Goetz and her team) got right to work. The result is the very nice Terminologies Service.

The service currently supports the following vocabularies: Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST subject headings), Form and genre headings for fiction and drama, Library of Congress AC Subject Headings, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®), and the Thesaurus for graphic materials (TGM I & II). Other vocabularies are under consideration.

The service can be queried using SRU, and the retrieved terms/headings are returned in HTML, MARC XML, SKOS, or Zthes. I am really out of my depth here, so I urge you to look at the webpage that Diane and her team have set up, and to read the documentation. Also note that the subtitle of the page is Experimental Services for Controlled Vocabularies.

Something everyone can look at is an example of the experimental services in action. Please keep in mind what you are looking at is not a production service. This is subject to the “usual” disclaimers (may go down without notice, has not been prettied up for end users, etc.) But it will give you some idea of how the service could be used. In this case, it expands a users search term, targeting TGM I. I like the terms “grapes” and “beer.” Thanks to our colleagues at Indiana University (particularly Mike Durbin and Jenn Riley) for sharing.


I am particularly interested in hearing from you. How would you be interested in using web services for terminologies?

3 Comments on “Terminologies, implemented”

  1. Hi Rebekah! Getty vocabs are definitely on the radar, but we need to come to an agreement with the Getty that won’t leave their vocabularies exposed but will allow authorized institutions to use them. Stay tuned!

  2. Coming from one who works without an authorities file in her institution’s home-grown access-system, I am all atwitter. Under the “Other vocabularies are under consideration” category, will AAT be considered? Just curious. We split our affinities between AAT and TGMII. If, however, there is collaborative development energy focused toward TGM and away from AAT I would deeply consider taking sides.

  3. For those interested in a bit more detail on how the Indiana test service that uses the Terminology Service works:

    IU is using the service to expand access to photographic materials that have subject cataloging using TGM I. Our application expands the query a user enters by mapping all TGM I lead-in terms to authorized terms, and expanding all matched authorized terms to include all of its narrower terms, at any level of recursion. The application also provides broader and related terms as search suggestions.

    This is just one of the *many* ways we think Terminology Services could be used. I’m just thrilled there is collaborative work going on in this area. We definitely need to be building more intelligence into our discovery systems, and leveraging our controlled vocabularies is one way we can be doing that.

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