Vocabulary Management at the Department for Education


  • Helen Challinor Department for Education


UKeiG is committed to promoting the theory and practice of organising digital knowledge and information. ISKO UK, the UK Chapter of the International Society for Knowledge Organisation, is one of our partner organisations, overseeing the presentation of the prestigious Tony Kent Strix Award featured in this issue. ISKO brings together researchers and practitioners who develop and apply conceptual tools like semantic analysis and faceted classification. In previous issues we have emphasised that taxonomy and effective and systematically applied metadata continue to be key to breaking down information silos in organisations by enriching and structuring content, providing semantic context and integrating and linking disparate external and internal information resources. They underpin effective data management, information management and enterprise search. Helen Challinor contributes a fascinating case study of a project - Vocabulary management at the Department for Education - that takes us back to the essential basics of information retrieval, of nomenclature and thesauri. “This case study considers the use made of controlled vocabularies at the Department for Education. It outlines the principles of vocabulary management, before explaining the uses made of controlled vocabularies within the department. It includes explanations about why decisions were taken, how users were engaged and a forward look.”

Helen writes: “Most developers have no idea that there is a science underpinning the management of subject vocabularies, and why would they? Neither do end users, and why would they? Devising innovative ways of explaining the nuances of vocabulary construction to developers and end users has been challenging, enjoyable and a significant deliverable from the project.”

Keywords: Taxonomies, Vocabularies, Thesauri, Knowledge Management, Information Management