Blog 9

1. What is the purpose of metadata? What are the categories of metadata?

The most common description of metadata is that it is data about data. A more precise decsription is that metadata is definitional data that provides information about documentation of other data managed within an application or environment.

2. What is a controlled vocabulary? How is a controlled vocabulary beneficial to a web site and/or organisation?

A controlled vocabulary is a list of equivalent terms, often in the form of synonym rings, or preferred terms. Controlled vocabularies are beneficial to sites because they allow for broader searches through content without having large effects on the effectiveness of the search system.

3. List the four main types of controlled vocabularies.

Synonym Rings

Authority Files

Classification Schemes


4. What is the purpose of a synonym ring? Give examples of terms that would be considered equivalent under a synonym ring. What might happened during a search if you didn’t use a synonym ring? (Give an example.)

Synonym rings connect sets of words that are equivalent for the purpose of retrieval during searches. Eg:


When synonym rings are not used the results of a search can become very limited. For example, “pocketpc” would not return the same results as “pocket pc”.

5. What is the purpose of an authority file? Describe how an authority file can educate users during search.

Authority files are lists of preferred or acceptable terms but do not include synonyms or other variants as synonym rings do. Authority files are best used for categorisation to ensure that all documents are labelled in a consistent manner.

6. Create an authority file for abbreviations of the Australian states and territories (Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory).

QLD, Queensland

NSW, New South Wales

SA, South Australia

ACT, Australian Capital Territory

VIC, Victoria

WA, Western Australia

NT, Northern Territory

7. Describe the purpose of a classification scheme. How does a web site benefit from a classification scheme?

A classification scheme is a hierarchical arrangement of preferred terms. These schemes benefit sites by providing a tool for information architects and indexers to work with.

8. Create a classification scheme for several major dog breeds based on whether the dog is toy, small, medium, large, or giant.

Toy Small Medium Large Giant
Chihuahua Affenpinscher Bulldog German Sheperd Saint Bernard
Pug Beagle Boxer Rottweiler Greyhound
Pomeranian Dachshund Golden Retriever

11. What topics would the following codes retrieve under Dewey Decimal Classification:

a. 025.524

Information search and retrieval

b. 787.87092

The Man Who Invented The Electric Guitar: The Genius Of Les Paul

c. 641.623

Food and Drink – preparation

d. 634.772


e. 522.29


16. What is the purpose of thesauri? How is a thesaurus beneficial to searching on a web site?

A thesaurus is a semantic network of concepts, connecting words to their synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, broader terms, narrower terms and related terms. Unlike traditional thesauri that help people go from one word to many, this type of thesaurus actually does the opposite and tries to remove the ambiguity of language to provide more accurate search results.

19. Consider the preferred term “car”. List a variant term(s), broader term, narrower term, and related term(s).

VT: automobile

BT: vehicle

NT: sedan

RT: road

20. Consider the preferred term “sword”. List a variant term(s), broader term, narrower term, and related term(s).

VT: blade

BT: weapon

NT: claymore, katana

RT: bow


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