Controlled Terms Versus Uncontrolled Terms in Resource Description

A Comparative Study Based on Social Science Books

Keywords: Social tagging, Social tagging in social science, Library of congress subject headings (LCSHs), Controlled and uncontrolled vocabulary


The paper comparatively investigates the relation between controlled vocabularies assigned by the experts
in Library of Congress and tags assigned by users in Library Thing database in three subjects, Economics,
History and Sociology under Social Science domain. Based on Term matching (S= 14.80 %, E= 12.77 % and
H= 8.06 %) and Jaccard similarity coefficient (E= 0.15, S= 0.15 and H= 0.11), we found little matching between
both vocabularies. We also found that experts mostly use double-word and multi-word specific topical terms
(S= 73.14 %, E= 72.89 % and H= 61.05 %), whereas social taggers mostly use single-word general non-topical
terms (E= 54.88 %, H= 54.21 % and S= 48.55%) and little topical and few personal terms. While comparison
with LCSH subfield, we found that experts prefer topical terms for all subjects, whereas, taggers only prefer it for Economics and geographic subdivision terms for History and Sociology, but they don’t prefer chronological terms for tagging. Even, experts prefer little title-based terms (H= 196 terms, S= 195 terms and E= 175 terms) but taggers mostly prefer title-based terms (H= 673 terms, S= 564 terms and E= 444 terms) in three subjects. However, the study concludes that both vocabularies are different, but libraries can exploit those uncontrolled vocabularies and can introduce ‘hybrid metadata ecology’ which combines controlled vocabularies, classification and folksonomies for better subject access and retrieval of social science documents.

How to Cite
Samanta, K., & Rath, D. (2024). Controlled Terms Versus Uncontrolled Terms in Resource Description. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 44(3), 158-167.
Research Paper