Subject thesaurus for Higher Ed Learning and Teaching #theta2015

Towards a New Library of Resources for Higher Education Learning and Teaching (abstract)
Philip Hider, Barbara Spiller, Pru Mitchell, Robert Parkes and Raylee Macaulay

OLT Resource Library – repository for higher ed learning and teaching material coming out of funded projects.

Search effectiveness issues – average recall 0.45; average precision 0.33

Came up with new schema with mandatory fields:

  • Project title
  • Project summary
  • Topic (controlled)
  • Discipline of application (controlled)
  • Identifier (ORCID)
  • (and many optional)

Evaluated various thesauri for subject search (felt this was most important search) – content factors and maintenance factors. ATED (Australian Thesaurus of Education Descriptors) did best (Schools Online Thesaurus also did well) and did well at concept matching on words and on phrases. Not perfect fit (as broad education not higher ed) but came up trumps.

Literature comes in from publishers/researchers -> ‘goes through’ ATED -> Australian Education Index -> harvested by various external databases.

Had to map OLT keywords/concepts to ATED. 27% were exact matches. 1000+ terms to look at and map manually. OLT had a lot of proper names where ATED didn’t. Most were covered by ATED but the term need to be considered as a use reference. Some were new discipline areas; some teaching and learning concepts or technology concepts hadn’t yet got into ATED.

Good example of using conferences and trend reports to generate vocabulary terms that should be added to a thesaurus, rather than waiting for them to reach journals.

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