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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Decentralized coordination of controlled vocabularies

  • Author(s): Golden, P
  • Shaw, R
  • Buckland, M
  • et al.

Controlled vocabularies may aid coordination within systems while simultaneously hindering coordination across them (Lancaster 1986, 181). Many solutions to this quandary have been proposed, but most of these assume a context in which there is a strong central organization able to impose a coordinating superstructure. In decentralized contexts, exhaustive full-text indexing has largely supplanted attempts to achieve cross-system compatibility of controlled vocabularies. We report on an approach to achieving some degree of cross-system compatibility of controlled vocabularies in a context where 1) there is no centralized control, and 2) full-text indexing alone is inadequate for bringing together related documents.

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