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Thesaurus structure design: a conceptual approach for improved interaction

María J. López‐huertas (Facultad de Biblioteconomía y Documentación, Colegio Máximo de Cartuja Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 May 1997



The need for thesauri to help users in their search for information in online information systems has been discussed for several decades. Many wide‐ranging contributions have been made to solve this problem. Nevertheless, investigation is needed to design a thesaurus structure based on what is relevant for users and generators of information within a specific subject domain. This paper explores the possibility of creating a thesaurus from the cognitive viewpoint. This approach is based on a system (in this case represented by a thesaurus) that organises its representation of knowledge or its classification as closely as possible to the authors‘ and users’ images of the subject domain with the objective of increasing the interaction between users and texts, and thus the communication in a given information retrieval system. From this point of view, the thesaurus structure is considered as the essential foundation on which to base such an interactive thesaurus. Furthermore, this structure is conceived as representing the merging point for both the generators‘ and the users’ models of the subject domain and for their information needs. This paper is dedicated mainly to the generators‘ side involved in this process. It demonstrates how an author’s writings can be used to identify the generators‘ model and perception of the subject domain, and how these can later be inserted in the thesaurus structure. Discourse analysis is used as a main method to identify the categories and its relevance for building such a structure is discussed. It also outlines a general approach for the user side to set up different methods of getting the users’ information needs into the thesaurus structure.



López‐huertas, M.J. (1997), "Thesaurus structure design: a conceptual approach for improved interaction", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 53 No. 2, pp. 139-177.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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