Evaluation of Thesaurus Enhanced Search Systems


The need to choose a paper that represents my work in SLIS was a very difficult one. For some reason during my time working on this degree I have found that the assignments I have learned the most on are the ones that have not been worth a sufficient percentage to be used for the capping exercise. Reviewing my work from the last two years has reminded me of how much I have learned, as well as how many more questions were brought up that I did not have a chance to explore.

The assignment that I finally decided to use for my capping exercise was originally for LIS 535: Advanced Topics in the Organization of Knowledge. The assignment was for us to compare the thesauri used by both sites in terms of the set up of the interface and how well the search system worked.

What I learned during the assignment was how complex the creation of a good, useable thesaurus is. While both of the systems I looked at did well overall, there were so many issues that factored into the evaluation. There were issues from how the search results were displayed to what kind of help function existed.

It reminded me of how much work needs to occur behind the scenes, not only in creating a thesaurus but in libraries in general. Since librarians make usability one of the core values of our profession our work is often meant to be overlooked. We try to create a seamless front to simplify the tasks of people using our services. I need to keep this in mind for when I am starting my career.

Contact Author
School of Library and Information Studies - University of Alberta