Specialist Vocabularies

The draft recommendations for governing specialist vocabularies associated with HECoS are as follows.

Please comment on matters such as priority, relevance, clarity, and sufficiency.

Recommendation 7
PSRBs will be able to register external specialist vocabularies and term sets, in an appropriate technical format, with the HECoS governing body.  The HECoS governing body will undertake due diligence to assure the provenance of the vocabulary  (e.g. was it submitted by a recognised PSRB) and that it obeys the appropriate formatting rules.  If the vocabulary satisfies these requirements it will become ‘recognised’ by HECoS.  Higher Education providers will be able to code their courses using these ‘recognised’ vocabularies, while data consumers will be able to infer the broader HECoS term as required.  An advantage to this recommendation is that it avoids the necessity of having to code courses twice; once using HECoS and once using a specialist vocabulary.


This is one of a set of pages seeking comment on the draft Governance Model.


One thought on “Specialist Vocabularies

  1. This seems a sensible approach but practically there may be difficulties. Firstly there may be a proliferation of specialist code list / thesauri doing a similar but slightly different job from that envisaged by the HeCos coding system. Secondly where would these vocabularies sit in relation to the HeCos coding structure? There is reference to them sitting under a broad term but it might be questioned whether this is too simplistic a view point. Surely some specialist vocabularies will be spread across a several hierarchies within HeCos. Thirdly a careful concordance will be required between the specialist vocabulary and HeCos will be needed to ensure equivalence between the two wordlists is accurate.

    We could see a system whereby the specialist vocabularies would be encourage to use and take part in improving the existing hierarchy. If this was inadequate then they would then need to map their primary level to either an existing ‘preferred’ term within HeCos or have adopted a ‘non-preferred’ term with a directly equivalent related term in HeCos. Under these the specialist and more detailed classification could take place. If this mapping does not occur at the lowest HeCos level then there are major risks in terms of confusion and accurate coding.

    It would be intereting to explore this area further to clarify what the issues might be, the impact they have, and the solutions which might be implemented. Any classification system needs to be consistent and coherent for whatever audience it is trying to deliver to.

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