How much do I want to read more? 7/10
If you're reading a lot this book can help as it deals with book's metadata: keywords, index, categories…
Thousands and thousands of books obviously can't be all read in a lifetime, hence the importance and the art of searching for the most relevant material.
I only read the first chapter so far, and look forward to continue.
Chapter 1: Searching Generally
The history of language, writing, and indexing is a fascinating one. When thinking of how we access the vast libraries of information that exist in the world, we must remember that before the writing of literate cultures there were oral cultures.
History of Searching
Some of our older readers will remember libraries with card catalogs—those handsome wooden cabinets with tiny drawers to accommodate cards with information about the books or other materials owned by the library.
cards arranged alphabetically for authors, cards for subjects, and cards for titles.
If an author’s name was Christopher C. Brown, the name was inverted “phonebook” style to Brown, Christopher C.
Users had to omit initial articles (for English, omitting a, an, or the from the beginning of titles).
The late 1970s and 1980s saw the development of online catalogs.
one major advancement of technology that was transformative: the ability to search the online catalog record by keyword.
users wouldn’t need to think about inverting an author’s name. If all that was known of a title was several words within the title and perhaps an author’s first name, the book could likely be found.
Keyword searching likewise transformed access to scholarly journal literature.
TENSION BETWEEN CONTROLLED VOCABULARY AND FULL TEXTUALITY
The “holy grail” of searching is to find “all and only” the relevant materials.
SUBJECT HEADINGS VS. SUBJECT DESCRIPTORS
In some cases six or more subjects can be precoordinated. Here is example of six semantic notions in a precoordinated Library of Congress subject heading: United States—Armed Forces—Yugoslavia—Pay, allowances, etc.—Taxation—Law and legislation. Yet even with all this effort to capture the “aboutness” in as few lines as possible, it is still failing to capture more granular subjects that are dealt with within books.
FULL-TEXT SEARCHING: A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING
How do we think about information if it is not first categorized and normalized for us?