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A Faceted Classification as the Basis of a Faceted Terminology: Conversion of a Classified Structure to Thesaurus Format in the Bliss Bibliographic Classification, 2nd Edition


Facet analysis is an established methodology for building classifications and subject indexing systems, but has been less rigorously applied to thesauri. The process of creating a compatible thesaurus from the schedules of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification 2nd edition highlights the ways in which the conceptual relationships in a subject field are handled in the two types of retrieval languages. An underlying uniformity of theory is established, and the way in which software can manage the relationships is discussed. The manner of displaying verbal expressions of concepts (vocabulary control) is also considered, but is found to be less well controlled in the classification than in the thesaurus. Nevertheless, there is good reason to think that facet analysis provides a sound basis for structuring a variety of knowledge organization tools.

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Thanks are due to Paul Coates who developed the original suite of BC2 programs, and who has devised the programs for thesaurus display. Also to Jean Aitchison, the doyenne of the faceted thesaurus, and Leonard Will, both BCA committee members and longtime supporters of BC2, who have undertaken the major part of the work in drawing up the specification for those programs. Their combined expertise in this area (both are members of the working party for the new British Standards for controlled vocabularies) has been invaluable.

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Correspondence to Vanda Broughton.

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Broughton, V. A Faceted Classification as the Basis of a Faceted Terminology: Conversion of a Classified Structure to Thesaurus Format in the Bliss Bibliographic Classification, 2nd Edition. Axiomathes 18, 193–210 (2008).

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  • Classification software
  • Conceptual relationships
  • Facet analysis
  • Faceted classifications
  • Thesaurus construction
  • Thesaurus software
  • Vocabulary control