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Crossing the boundaries: interoperability between vocabularies Stella G Dextre Clarke Senior Metadata Consultant, Bridgeman Art Library; Independent Consultant Summary Interoperability: At the metadata schema level At the vocabulary level Practicalities of vocabulary mapping

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crossing the boundaries interoperability between vocabularies

Crossing the boundaries: interoperability between vocabularies

Stella G Dextre Clarke

Senior Metadata Consultant,

Bridgeman Art Library;

Independent Consultant

summary
Summary
  • Interoperability:
    • At the metadata schema level
    • At the vocabulary level
  • Practicalities of vocabulary mapping
  • Interoperability at the data exchange level
  • Standards to help us through the maze
in a networked world interoperability is all the rage
In a networked world, interoperability is all the rage
  • CIDOC-CRM
  • Web 2.0
  • Mash-ups
  • Semantic Web (well, not quite with us yet, but said to be coming shortly)

… and it’s not just about Museum A sharing with Gallery B

how to achieve interoperability
How to achieve interoperability?
  • Step 1: apply a metadata schema consistently to all your records and export via a standard metadata format
  • Step 2: implement a metadata cross-walk e.g. The Getty crosswalk at http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/standards/intrometadata/metadata_element_sets.html
  • So far so good – it’s not so difficult
but interoperability needs to apply at two levels
But interoperability needs to apply at two levels
  • Between metadata schemas, e.g:

Artist → Creator → Maker

Location → Place → Coverage.spatial

Keywords → Subject

  • Between vocabulary terms, e.g:

rowing boats → rowboats → pulling boats

gramophone records → phonograph records

garments → clothes → clothing

how to achieve interoperability at the vocabulary level
How to achieve interoperabilityat the vocabulary level?
  • Step 1: apply a controlled vocabulary consistently to all your records
  • Step 2: implement a vocabulary cross-walk (a.k.a. set of mappings)
  • But ready-made crosswalks are not so easy to find; you may have to build your own, and it can be a long job…
building the mappings an easy example
Building the mappings – an easy example

Vocabulary A Vocabulary B

Churches Churches

look a little closer is it so easy
Look a little closer. Is it so easy?

Vocabulary A Vocabulary B

Churches Churches

NT Byzantine churches NT Anglican church

Gothic churches Protestant church

Norman churches Roman catholic church

another example compare 5 different vocabularies
Another example: compare 5 different vocabularies

Look for the concept “schools” in the following:

  • IPSV (UK public sector)
  • AAT (art/architecture)
  • GEMET (environmental)
  • ERIC (education)
  • MeSH (medical)
urls for those vocabularies
URLs for those vocabularies
  • IPSV http://www.esd.org.uk/standards/ipsv/
  • AAT http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/aat/
  • GEMET http://www.eionet.europa.eu/gemet
  • ERIC http://www.eric.ed.gov/
  • MeSH http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/
typical differences between vocabularies
Typical differences between vocabularies
  • Different term for the same concept (and same term can signify a different concept)
  • Hierarchical structure around the concept
  • Scope note, definition, synonyms and other attributes of a term/concept
  • Concepts designated by terms or by codes or notation
  • Language of access (e.g. French, German)
  • Layout and format
more practicalities two way versus one way mappings
More practicalities: two-way versus one-way mappings

Poultry

Parrots

Chickens

Canaries

Birds

Ducks

Budgies

Geese

Vocabulary 3

Vocabulary 1

Vocabulary 2

but what happens with chain mapping
buses → coaches

coaches → trainers

trainers → training shoes

Job vacancies → jobs

Jobs → posts

Posts → post

post → mail

Any one of the mappings could be OK in one context, but not when chained.

Most howlers can be avoided, but only if you check carefully

Timber → wood

Wood → woods

Woods → forests

Firewood → logs

Logs → records

Records → archives

But what happens with chain mapping?
so best avoided
So best avoided…

A

B

F

C

D

H

E

G

P

Q

R

S

a bit of practical reasoning
A bit of practical reasoning

You can’t rely on a computer to do the matching

But it’s such a huge job, you can’t do it without a computer!

Ergo, use a computer to suggest matches, but do a human check on each one

one more practical need for interoperability
One more practical need for interoperability
  • Data exchange between vocabularies and the computer applications that exploit them
  • Either for importing a vocabulary into an application (e.g. into a search engine or a cataloguing package)
  • Or to allow online interrogation of a vocabulary by a searching or indexing application
  • What we need are standard formats and protocols
so what standards do we have
So what standards do we have?
  • ISO 2788, ISO 5964 and national equivalents
  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19
  • SKOS, Zthes, ADL, MARC, SRW/SRU
  • BS 8723
  • ISO NP 25964
vocabulary construction and management
Vocabulary construction and management
  • ISO 2788-1986 Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri

= BS 5723:1987 and other national standards

  • ISO 5964-1985 Guidelines for the establishment and development of multilingual thesauri

= BS 6723:1985 and other national standards

  • ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 Guidelines for the construction, format and management of monolingual controlled vocabularies
vocabulary data formats only
Vocabulary data formats only
  • Simple Knowledge Organization Systems (SKOS) format is in XML/RDF and destined for Semantic Web. http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/
  • Zthes – an application profile of Z39.50, for exchange of thesaurus data. http://zthes.z3950.org/
  • MARC has a format for “authority records”, suitable for library applications. at http://www.loc.gov/marc/authority/
vocabulary data protocols only
Vocabulary data protocols only
  • SKOS API designed for live querying of vocabularies on the Web. http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/reports/thes/skosapi.html
  • ADL Thesaurus Protocol for querying and navigation around monolingual thesauri on the Web. http://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/thesaurus/specification.html
  • SRW/SRU (Search and Retrieve via the Web/URLs) is for a variety of search types, not just vocabularies. http://www.loc.gov/standards/sru/
vocabulary construction and management interoperability
Vocabulary construction and management + interoperability

BS 8723: Structured vocabularies for information retrieval – Guide

  • Part 1: Definitions, symbols and abbreviations
  • Part 2: Thesauri
  • Part 3: Vocabularies other than thesauri
  • Part 4: Interoperability between vocabularies
  • Part 5: Exchange formats and protocols for interoperability

Motivation throughout is “interoperability”

iso np 25964 adoption of bs 8723 as an iso standard
ISO NP 25964 (adoption of BS 8723 as an ISO standard)
  • The proposal to revise ISO 2788 and ISO 5964, basing the work on BS 8723, was submitted to ISO TC 46/SC 9 members in April 2007
  • Project now approved
  • At least 9 countries participating: France, Germany, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, Ukraine, USA
in conclusion
In conclusion
  • In a networked world, we need interoperability at the vocabulary level
  • Building the mappings is a job for people, not computers (but computer support is vital)
  • Mapping may not be easy, but it’s fun… for the person with the right mindset
  • We need to apply standards to all aspects of vocabulary work, data exchange as well as construction and maintenance