Pericles project
Promoting and Enhancing Reuse of Information throughout the Content Lifecycle taking account of Evolving Semantics


Indexing terminology of documents

Indexing terminology of documents

As practical information science knows only all too well, due to language change, indexing terminology of documents keeps on undergoing modifications. Consider the following examples for terminology change over time: gramophone - record player; computer screen - monitor; duplicating machine - photocopier; European Coal and Steel Community - Common Market - European Economic Community or EEC - European Community or EC - European Union or EU; bicycle - bike - BMX. These are just a few of many more which make it an issue that in order to index and retrieve documents from certain periods, the right language must be used. Therefore in PERICLES, we want to take a closer look at this dynamics of semantic content, because this too has an impact on digital preservation.


Such changes in terminology are handled by vocabulary control and ontology building, but – and this is our key argument here – unless the dynamic nature of evolving semantic content is addressed, understood and modelled, its adequate management will always be out of reach. Therefore we suggest to visualise it as the tectonics of continental plates in geology. Our tool uses evolving heat maps and evolving landscapes as visual metaphors as if the continuum of ideas underlying terminology change was a field, sampled by thinking and mapped to a discrete representation, i.e. language. In this metaphor, by the time it appears in language, conceptual content is carried by space-delimited uttered and/or written vehicles such as words and expression forms above them. Hence we call the above mapping process conceptual dynamics.

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