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Brian Vickery has been a prolific writer as this list — which covers a period of forty active years — indicates. There are almost certainly omissions. He has, for example, been an incisive if gentle reviewer, in this and other journals, of the contemporary literature. Only a few of his extended reviews are included here. The bibliography illustrates the breadth of Brian's professional interests: from Bradford's law in the forties to expert systems in the eighties, with significant contributions to contemporary developments throughout the interim. The range is formidable and characteristic.
During the years following the end of World War II, there was a considerable expansion of library services in industry, and some of the scientists engaged in this activity sought to establish strong links with professional librarians, particularly in universities and city libraries with collections of scientific literature. Among them were Denis Arnold, Wilfred Ashworth and Brian Vickery, and it was at a conference of the London and Home Counties Branch of the Library Association that I first met both Arnold and Vickery. It was my good fortune to discover very quickly a community of interest with Brian, based on our industrial experience, and a similar outlook on a wide range of matters social and political.
An assessment of B.C. Vickery's contribution to the development of classification for retrieval. This has been both practical and intellectual. On the practical side his…
An assessment of B.C. Vickery's contribution to the development of classification for retrieval. This has been both practical and intellectual. On the practical side his work in the early CRG and elsewhere enhanced the status of classification for retrieval as a significant field of study. On the intellectual side he demonstrated the use of his own elaborated version of Ranganathan's facets for the purposes of western special libraries. He analysed the essential features of retrieval systems generally as the required framework within which classification could usefully play a part. The paper discusses some remaining ‘grey areas’ in faceted classification, classificatory fragments implicit in many thesauri, and the value for expository purposes of a mildly polemic approach to issues in classification.
This paper forms part of the series “60 years of the best in information research”, marking the 60th anniversary of the Journal of Documentation. It aims to review the influence of Brian Vickery's 1971 paper, “Structure and function in retrieval languages”. The paper is not an update of Vickery's work, but a comment on a greatly changed environment, in which his analysis still has much validity.
A commentary on selected literature illustrates the continuing relevance of Vickery's ideas.
Generic survey and specific reference are still the main functions of retrieval languages, with minor functional additions such as relevance ranking. New structures are becoming increasingly significant, through developments such as XML. Future development in artificial intelligence hold out new prospects still.
The paper shows the continuing relevance of “traditional” ideas of information science from the 1960s and 1970s.
With preceding chapters setting the stage, this one will provide a view of Brian C. Vickery's accomplishments from the vantage point of several thousand miles. His career…
With preceding chapters setting the stage, this one will provide a view of Brian C. Vickery's accomplishments from the vantage point of several thousand miles. His career in information science has been an impressive one. What has made it so? To answer that question, it is first necessary to examine his research accomplishments, then their impact, which has spread farther than might have been anticipated at the time of their publication.
There is a huge amount of information and data stored in publicly available online databases that consist of large text files accessed by Boolean search techniques. It is widely held that less use is made of these databases than could or should be the case, and that one reason for this is that potential users find it difficult to identify which databases to search, to use the various command languages of the hosts and to construct the Boolean search statements required. This reasoning has stimulated a considerable amount of exploration and development work on the construction of search interfaces, to aid the inexperienced user to gain effective access to these databases. The aim of our paper is to review aspects of the design of such interfaces: to indicate the requirements that must be met if maximum aid is to be offered to the inexperienced searcher; to spell out the knowledge that must be incorporated in an interface if such aid is to be given; to describe some of the solutions that have been implemented in experimental and operational interfaces; and to discuss some of the problems encountered. The paper closes with an extensive bibliography of references relevant to online search aids, going well beyond the items explicitly mentioned in the text. An index to software appears after the bibliography at the end of the paper.
The issues involved in the construction of an expert system for retrieval are described, together with some of the techniques that have been used in artificial…
The issues involved in the construction of an expert system for retrieval are described, together with some of the techniques that have been used in artificial intelligence and information science to tackle them. The solutions adopted by the prototype expert system PLEXUS are described, with particular reference to the semantic processing that takes place. The paper concludes with a discussion of continuing issues on which work is currently proceeding.