Thesaurus and hierarchical pick-lists of keywords

Hello everybody,

We would like in several research projects (on biodiversity and agriculture) share our bibliography through Zotero.

In our experience, letting everybody free to add his own tags / keywords introduce huge noise and rapidly nobody else can effectively use the bibliography database.

We thus would like to build our bibliographic data-base "around" a mandatory thesaurus of keywords / tags hierarchically ordered.

Moreover using standardized tags / keywords should let us exchange information with international data-bases such as those using e.g. Agrovoc of the FAO, the GBIF keywords, taxonomic databases or the Inspire European based databases.

It would also train our colleagues in using appropriate and normed tags / keywords for both papers searches and their publication indexing.

We thus would like to use - through a user-friendly data entry form - a common thesaurus with hierarchical keywords proposed in pick-lists. Ideally this thesaurus should be "uploaded" from either Word list or CSV files for changes / updates when needed.

Moreover, we would like this interface impede end-users to automatically integrate keywords from e.g. bibliography search platforms or scientific journals to avoid increasing the noise due by integrating non-standardized keywords.

I was wondering whther such an interface / plugin would exist as we certainly are not alone to look for standardized keywords / tags in our bibliographic database.

If such tool is not available, I am looking for people who would be able to develop such interface / pugin to Zotero

Best regards
Senior scientist, not computer man...
  • definitely doesn't exist.
    Would also not be a simple feat to develop, starting with the fact that the concept of hierarchical tags doesn't exist in Zotero and probably couldn't be introduced via plugin (since anything that affects database structure would break syncing).
    Not saying it can't be done and I certainly understand the use case, just saying that you're looking at serious development work here, not a small coding job.
  • would it be possible to develop what I would call a "filter" between the end-user and the Zotero DB, or between the bibliographic portail and Zotero to let pass only teh appropriate tags / keywords?

    Alternatively, would it be possible to manipulate directly the list of tags and for instance to replace it by a list of tags which would be directly be proponed to the end-users?
  • Hi,
    Any news regarding this topic?
    Should we better give up the idea of getting this feat into Zotero in a foreseeable future?
    Many thanks and best regards,
  • edited January 11, 2016
    The idea of a universal multidisciplinary, multilingual thesaurus of index terms and corresponding synonyms (Use/Used For) non-preferred terms is an impossible dream. When the idea of hierarchical term placement is added this can become a development nightmare. My team and I have been working for almost 10 years on an English language thesaurus of query terms for a database of literature of the 36 distinct professional disciplines relevant to safety. We are nearing something that approaches functionality with regards to synonyms. Given the differing perspectives of the chosen disciplines, a _multi-hierarchical_ structure is clearly necessary. Now, consider the facts that we are only working with the literature of 36 disciplines and only in the English language; a universal keyword thesaurus would require the work of a very large organization working for many years.

    Maintaining this tool will require frequent updates by some agreed-upon authority. How likely is that? In addition to my own thesaurus efforts, I serve on the advisory committees of two other thesauri. Neither of these strives for consensus but only ideas and opinions to be implemented by those with ultimate responsibility.

    In the US there are several thesauri of the above mentioned disciplines: Medicine- Medline/PubMed uses MeSH; psychology- PsycInfo has its own thesaurus; education has ERIC and its thesaurus; transportation has TRID (an integration of the European ITRD and US TRIS databases) and its Transportation Research Thesaurus; agriculture has AGRICOLA and its thesaurus; and so on. The interesting and troublesome problem here is that terms for similar concepts in these thesauri are positioned quite differently in the hierarchies. This is because the hierarchical or other relatedness of concepts are thought of differently by those in different professions when seeking information.

    In Agatha Christy's Poirot novels, the character Miss Lemon seeks the perfect file and indexing system so much so that she dreams of it at night. I can sometimes identity with that.
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