Bella Haas Weinberg Thesaurus Design Seminar

Just attended Bella Haas Weinberg's annual Thesaurus Design Seminar in New York yesterday. Dr. Weinberg was the chair of z39.19 (Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri). I recommend it highly to anyone interested in the topic. The seminar comes once a year in the spring and is usually announced to ASIST members.

Am starting to go through Weinberg's bibliography and will likely list the articles I read with some short commentary. Was interesting to note (to me anyway) that Weinberg says that the term taxonomy is simply used today to mean "classification", and is often used synonymously with thesaurus. She also mentions that the difference between subject heading lists and thesauri are subtle and that this was a debate that went on at length during the development of z39.19. She indicated that one of the main functional differences between thesauri and subject heading lists is that thesauri are used for post-coordination and SH lists for pre-coordination, and that pre-coordination is essential for print environments.

Was a good seminar. I came away with a better understanding of thesaurus design, and I now have a better feeling that an understanding of the guidelines for thesaurus design is needed so you can credibly flex the rules to suit your implementation.