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Bridging the Gap Between Search and Engineering Domain Content: A User Focused Assessment of Controlled Vocabularies

Pirone, Ashleigh (2022) Bridging the Gap Between Search and Engineering Domain Content: A User Focused Assessment of Controlled Vocabularies. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Users engaging with knowledge-intensive search environments are often frustrated in their attempts to find what they need. In the past ten years, literature in the field of Library and Information Science has shown that the knowledge organization employed by these search environments has suffered from outdated methods and practices, including an emphasis on browsability of information rather than direct searchability, the use of outdated or offensive terminology, and an emphasis on using the “right” subject in search, rather than the words that are natural to the user, which is a more user-centered design. This study argues that it is critical to update the indexing process to better accommodate users’ expectations for a “Google-like search” to be more user-centered and take the guesswork out of information discovery. It finds that without query expansion to users’ natural language, subject terms match only 26% of the time. This study also demonstrates that this is possible to accomplish without loss of the specificity of precision offered by subject indexing. And finally, using the chi-squared goodness-of-fit assessment and a bi-directional card sort method, this study presents a new method for assessing subject and user vocabulary alignment.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLangmead,
Committee MemberHe,
Committee MemberRapchak,
Committee MemberBrink,
Date: 17 January 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 November 2021
Approval Date: 17 January 2022
Submission Date: 19 November 2021
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 231
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: subject indexing; controlled vocabulary; information retrieval; knowledge graph; engineering-domain
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:00


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