Design

Archived Page.

This page related to stage 1 of the project, which concluded in September 2014.

This page is where we seek input from people with expertise in designing subject classification schemes, using semantic technologies, text mining, etc, to explore and critique approaches to maximising the range of requirements the new scheme covers, easing adoption, and minimising impact and the cost of change.

Initial design questions

Before even a straw man proposal for a structure of a future coding scheme can be made, a number of fundamental questions about that structure need to be tackled. Because the answers to these questions can have far reaching consequences, we need your feedback on them.

To expedite the feedback process, we have prepared a small range of solutions for each of the initial design questions. Further solutions are very welcome. What would be great is to learn which of these solutions are preferred and why.

Initial question 1: How to share subjects, sub-disciplines and fields?

Initial question 2: Discipline, subject, or both?

Initial question 3: How to deal with subjects not listed?

Initial question 4: What should NSCS codes look like?

This is the third version of the initial questions, released at 21 July, 2014.

Other areas

Areas of interest that we will tackle include, but are not limited to:

  • dealing with legacy data and the need for longitudinal studies;
  • the development of a modularised approach, in which, for example, different applications work with different profiles;
  • making it easy to build highly usable software in which technicalities are hidden, and effective user support is provided (e.g. for discovery, classification, analysis);
  • enabling data-set linking;
  • ensuring that the scheme is easily implemented by software developers, and easily comprehended by data integrators, business analysts, etc.
  • flexibility to future needs, and long-term maintainability;
  • potential opportunities in relation to text-mining.

We would like to thank those people who commented in Stage 1. We have taken your comments on-board. The project deliverable PD03, “HEDIIP NSCS Structure and Candidate Scheme” (available from the HEDIIP web site) shows how we settled on a design.

 

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One thought on “Design

  1. a. Although it is difficult to fully envisage how any new system would work in practice, the flat list structure mentioned in solution 1d and 2b would appear to be the most logical and flexible means of truly reflecting subjects, however a flat list structure may dilute the ability to compare data across institutions. Although it is probably the case that the existing hierarchy within JACS is too detailed for practical use, it may be better to maintain some degree of hierarchy.

    b. Regarding how to code subjects which do not fit into an existing structure (question 3), the use of an ‘other code’ (solution 3b) seems like the ‘least-worst’ option. Grouping at a broader level’ (Solution 3b) would mean that the not-listed subject could not be separately identified and inventing new codes (solution 3c) could quickly grow out of control.

    c. Regarding what the codes should ‘look like’ (question 4), label derived codes (Solution 4b) would be the most meaningful option, but would likely result in significant development work to enable institutions’ systems to cope with the resulting increased field length. Random codes (solution 4c) would be error prone and have no ‘memorability’. Hierarchy in the codes (solution 4a and the variant solution 4d) are similar to the structure for JACS3 and would only work if there were a degree of hierarchy in the new structure. Solution 4d would appear to be more flexible than 4a in that it would allow new codes to be added more easily, but this could lead to increasing and varied field length, which could require ongoing development work to institutions’ systems.

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