35 Key Points in Chapter Five

  • How are resource descriptions used in information retrieval?

    Information retrieval is characterized as comparing a description of a user’s needs with descriptions of the resources that might satisfy them. Different property descriptions determine the comparison algorithms and the way in which relevance or similarity of descriptions is determined.

    (See “Naming {and, or, vs.} Describing”)

  • What are some of the different names given to the terms used in resource descriptions?

    In different contexts, the terms in resource descriptions are called keywords, index terms, attributes, attribute values, elements, data elements, data values, or “the vocabulary,” labels, or tags.

    (See ““Description” as an Inclusive Term”)

  • What is a descriptor?

    In the library science context of bibliographic description, a descriptor is one of the terms in a carefully designed language that can be assigned to a resource to designate its properties, characteristics, or meaning, or its relationships with other resources.

    (See ““Description” as an Inclusive Term”)

  • What is a bibliographic record?

    A bibliographic description of an information resource is most commonly realized as a structured record in a standard format that describes a specific resource.

    (See “Bibliographic Descriptions”)

  • What is the relationship between metadata and bibliographic description?

    Metadata is structured description for information resources of any kind, which makes it a superset of bibliographic description.

    (See “Metadata”)

  • What is a database schema?

    A relational database schema is designed to restrict resource descriptions to be simple and completely regular sets of attribute-value pairs.

    (See “Metadata”)

  • What is RDF?

    The Resource Description Framework(RDF) is a language for making computer-processable statements about web resources that is the foundation for the vision of the Semantic Web.

    (See “Resource Description Framework (RDF)”)

  • What is an aggregated information object?

    An aggregation is a set of information objects that, when considered together, compose another named information object.

    (See “Resource Description Framework (RDF)”)

  • What is the dominant historical framework for resource description? What is an alternative?

    The dominant historical view treats resource descriptions as a package of statements, an alternate framework focuses on each individual description or assertion about a single resource.

    (See “Frameworks for Resource Description”)

  • What are the key principles guiding design of a description vocabulary?

    Design of the description vocabulary should focus on the user of the descriptions. Svenonius proposes five principles for a description vocabulary: user convenience, representation, sufficiency and necessity, standardization, and integration.

    (See “The Process of Describing Resources”)

  • What is the disciplined process for describing resources?

    The process of describing resources involves several interdependent and iterative steps, including determining scope, focus and purposes, identifying resource properties, designing the description vocabulary, designing the description form and implementation, and creating and evaluating the descriptions.

    (See “The Process of Describing Resources” and Figure: The Process of Describing Resources.)

  • Why are schemas or models important in resource description?

    A collection of resource descriptions is vastly more useful when every resource is described using common description elements or terms that apply to every resource; this specification is most often called a schema or model.

    (See “Abstraction in Resource Description”)

  • What are XML schemas used for?

    XML schemas are often used to define web forms that capture resource instances, and are also used to describe the interfaces to web services and other computational resources.

    (See “Abstraction in Resource Description”)

  • What is the value of standardization of resource description?

    When the task of resource description is standardized, the work can be distributed among many describers whose results are shared. This is the principle on which centralized bibliographic description has been based for a century.

    (See “Scope, Scale, and Resource Description”)

  • How does resource description support selection?

    Resource description can facilitate the discovery of resources, specify their capabilities and compatibility, authenticate them, and indicate their appraised value.

    (See “Resource Description to Support Selection”)

  • What are the four generic purposes for resource descriptions?

    The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records(FRBR) presents four purposes that apply generically: Finding, Identifying, Selecting, and Obtaining resources.

    (See “Resource Description to Support Interactions”)

  • What kinds of resource descriptions are most important in interactions with digital resources?

    The variety and functions of the interactions with digital resources depends on the richness of their structural, semantic, and format description.

    (See “Resource Description to Support Interactions”)

  • What’s the relationship between sensemaking and organizing?

    Sensemaking is the foundation of organizing, as it is the basic human activity of making sense of the world. Sensemaking encompasses the range of organizing activities from the very informal and personal to systematic scientific processes.

    (See “Resource Description for Sensemaking and Science”)

  • What is the value of having multiple descriptions for the sane resource?

    Any particular resource might need many resource descriptions, all of which relate to different properties, depending on the interactions that need to be supported and the context in which they take place.

    (See “Identifying Properties”)

  • What are the two important dimensions for understanding resource properties?

    Two important dimensions for understanding and contrasting resource properties are whether the properties are intrinsically or extrinsically associated with the resource, and whether the properties are static or dynamic.

    (See “Identifying Properties”)

  • Why are some resource properties called “latent” ones?

    Recent advances in computing technology and data science techniques are making it possible to discover or create resource properties that are called “latent” because they are inferred rather than observed.

    (See the sidebar, Latent Feature Creation and Netflix Recommendations)

  • What is a controlled vocabulary?

    A controlled vocabulary is a fixed or closed set of description terms in some domain with precise definitions that is used instead of the vocabulary that people would otherwise use. A controlled vocabulary reduces synonymy and homonymy.

  • Who should create resource descriptions?

    Professionally created resource descriptions, author or user created descriptions, and computational or automated descriptions each have strengths and limitations that impose tradeoffs.

    (See “Creating Resource Descriptions”)

  • What are common criteria for evaluating resource descriptions?

    The most commonly used criteria for evaluating resource descriptions are accuracy, completeness, and consistency. Other typical criteria are timeliness, interoperability, and usability.

    (See “Evaluating Resource Descriptions”)

  • In what ways can computation support the description of non-text resources?

    Computational methods can describe and classify images, identify and classify sounds and music, and identify anomalous events in video.

    (See “Describing Non-text Resources”)


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The Discipline of Organizing: 4th Professional Edition Copyright © 2020 by Robert J. Glushko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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