Request oriented indexing

Request oriented indexing is indexing in which the anticipated request from users is influencing how documents are being indexed. The indexer ask himself: “Under which descriptors should this entity be found?” and “think of all the possible queries and decide for which ones the entity at hand is relevant” (Soergel, 1985, p. 230).


Request oriented indexing may be indexing that is targeted towards a particular audience or user group. For example, a library or a database for feminist studies may index documents different compared to a historical library.  It is probably better, however, to understand request oriented indexing as policy based indexing: The indexing is done according to some ideals and reflects the purpose of the library or database doing the indexing. In this way it is not necessarily a kind of indexing based on user studies. Only if empirical data about use or users are applied should request oriented indexing be regarded as a user-based approach.






Soergel, D. (1985). Organizing information: Principles of data base and retrieval systems. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.


See also: Indexing theory


Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 02-03-2010