A switching language is a set of intermediary terms that serve as a mechanism for moving between vocabularies. Synonyms and related concepts are:
Compatibility of information retrieval languages,
intermediate index language,
intermediate lexicon concept and
Standard Reference Code, SRC.
Maniez (1997) sketches a critical view of the concept of
switching language. He finds that compatibility is the paradise lost of information scientists, the
dream of a universal communication between information languages. Paradoxically
the information languages increase the difficulties of cooperation between
the different information databases. This noxious side-effect has become
flagrant for the latest decade since the shared cataloguing and the telecharging
facilities have increased the exchanges. After defining the notion of
information compatibility, Maniez shows that it meets the same care of
semantic coherence as the information languages themselves. Then, relying on the
lessons of linguistics and automatic translating, he describes two types of
solutions: the harmonization of several information languages (an uneasy
and costly processing); and the automatic harmonization of the indexing formulas
through prefabricated concordance tables, an easier solution which can however
be hampered by structural discrepancies.
Chamis (1988) considers the value of switching languages for identifying the
appropriate search terms of various vocabularies and the use of this information
to determine the appropriate on-line search terms for the data bases to be used.
Describes the use of an experimental switching language, the Vocabulary
Switching System (VSS), and a thesaural relationship model developed to measure
the degree of compatibility and switching capability of thesauri and
vocabularies. The Compatibility and Switching Values (CSV) were measured for 6
vocabularies and the results tabulated. The user question used for the tests was
for information on windmills, windpower utilisation and windpowered generators.
Niehoff & Mack (1985) presents the Vocabulary Switching System (VSS) as an experimental system designed to enhance search strategies and ultimately retrieval performance for those who use on-line bibliographic data bases. It contains 15 indexing and retrieval vocabularies from 12 different suppliers. It is a stand-alone, on-line, data base containing the subject descriptors and all the syndetic relationships found in the 15 vocabularies. Its major fields (modules) are: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Business Module. The overview of VSS shows its structure and explains its types of files. The several types of evaluations conducted with VSS are as follows: Evaluation of switching strategies and modules; Formal evaluation involving end users, intermediaries, VSS and publicly available data bases; Informal evaluation involving information brokers, librarians, information science and library school graduate students, and data base vendor staff. The results of these evaluation are summarized
Niehoff (1980): The Vocabulary Switching System (VSS) described addresses the problem of heterogeneous data base vocabularies and indexes, and how these differences can be neutralized to facilitate multi-base switching. VSS is an experimental, on-line, automated subject switching system, producing semantic, syntactic, and generic relatives to search terms supplied by the user. The performance of numerous experimental stacks was evaluated with the aid of coverage, precision, and speed. Several stacks showed promise for becoming an optimal switching strategy, that is, a strategy with the combined qualities of high precision and broad coverage. Results from term level analyses suggest that an optimal strategy could contain word and stem options, but the placement of these options within an overall strategy is critical. Initial attempts to evaluate VSS via an actual retrieval experiment were encouraging but inconclusive. Retrieval results indicate that no single data base is an authoritative source for information sought, and significantly higher recall is possible when multi-base searching is employed
Vilenskaya (1977): A literature survey based on papers presented at FID's 3rd International Study Conference on Classification Research, Bombay, Jan 75, plus related papers. The author concludes that: (1) the development of a unique common information language is not feasible because of the wide variety of uses to which it would be put; (2) translating from one indexing language into another (or first into an intermediate language) may result in the loss of too much information; (3) the only practical solution for today is a switching language operating at a 'crude' level. This is seen as an apparatus with whose help it would be simple to re-address an enquiry from one information center to another by converting the enquiry from natural language or from the terms of the enquirer's indexing language into the broad terms of the switching language.
Faucompre; Quoniam & Dou (1997) write about International Patent Classification catchwords as a switching language. A previous feasibility study had shown the possibilities of a full automatic correspondence and its inadequacies. The paper present the most important modifications, in particular the consideration of multilingual indexes which allow to link several indexation fields with one of the most complete representation of patent classification. The major evolution of the project affects the correspondence mechanism which now generates a global reindexation of bibliographic reference with classification codes. Also the concept of correspondence itself is discussed.
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(1988). Selection of online databases
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See also: Compatibility; Interoperability among knowledge organization systems; Univocity
Last edited: 27-04-2009
to be edited:
Dublin core as a switching language
Et "switching languages" er et klassifikationssystem
(eller deskriptorsystem), der skal muliggøre sammenkobling eller kommunikation
imellem forskellige informationssystemer.
Begrebet har i en periode været ret benyttet i den informationsfaglige litteratur, jfr. nedenfor. Det er også omtalt i Informationsordbogen 2. udg, 1991, side 85 med figur side 86. Herudfra kan man let bibringes den forestilling, at "switching languages" såvel i teori som i praksis muliggør en sammenkobling mellem forskellige systemer, således at disse kan søges under eet.
En teoretisk forudsætning herfor må imidlertid være, at de klasser eller begreber, der skal kobles sammen enten er identiske eller ægte delmængder (således at een klasse er en del af en anden klasse). Når klasser - som det oftest er tilfældet i det virkelige liv - overlapper delvist med andre klasser (og begreber med andre begreber) så kan man ikke "switche" uden tab af information: klasserne bliver mere upræcist definerede. Dette gælder også grove klasser på højt niveau. En gentagen "switchning" vil til slut gøre klasserne så upræcise, at man er lige så godt stillet uden klassifikation. Teorien om "switching language" bygger således på en positivistisk/rationalistisk tro på klassers objektivitet og uafhængighed af de forskellige systemers kontekster. Der er da heller ikke nogen, der for alvor f.eks. har forestillet sig en sammenkobling mellem forskellige danske bibliotekers klassifikationer, databaserne i Dialog eller lignende.