Best Practice Thesaurus Construction guidelines and demonstration launched, available for use in libraries and archives across the world

MoTIF is a collaborative project undertaken by the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) and the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

The MoTIF project created a set of guidelines called Thesaurus Construction Guidelines: An introduction to Thesauri and Guidelines on their Construction. The guidelines are now freely available online and are accompanied by MoTIF, an online pilot thesaurus of Irish folklore.

Thesauri are vital and valuable tools in content discovery, information organisation and retrieval -activities common to all fields including cultural heritage and higher education as well as business and enterprise. The guidelines act as a comprehensive introduction to thesauri and provide guidance on their construction using facet analysis, an increasingly popular method of organising terms selected for inclusion in a thesaurus and one recommended by ISO 25964, the international standard for thesauri.

Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, noted that “We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to work on this project, to produce best practice guidelines and a working demo, for open re-use in the community. DRI wants to share best practices with the community to enable cost savings and improved standards of preservation and access, and these guidelines are a part of that goal.”

The idea arose following the Digital Archiving in Ireland: National Survey of the Humanities and Social Sciences DRI report, which noted a large number of either custom made vocabularies or international vocabularies adapted for use with Irish content in the institutions surveyed. Our guidelines offer advice on how to bridge this vocabulary gap and ensure that information professionals have the advice they need to improve their own data practices by adhering to international standards and best practice.

The project also built an online application, MoTIF, a pilot thesaurus which focuses on terms relating to Irish folklore, nature, animals, people, their occupations and activities primarily as they relate to the sustenance and support of the home and community. 

The pilot thesaurus was constructed using TemaTres, the open source thesaurus management software, and allows users to search and browse the pilot thesaurus online. The MoTIF pilot thesaurus illustrates the principles of thesaurus construction outlined in the guidelines and uses terms sourced primarily from The Handbook of Irish Folklore by Seán Ó Súilleabháin, a key resource for folklorists in Ireland and the foundational document for the collecting strategy of the Irish Folklore Commission, now the National Folklore Collection in UCD.

Visit the MoTIF pilot thesaurus of Irish folklore.

For more information about the Linked Logainm project partners please see:
Digital Repository of Ireland - www.dri.ie
National Library of Ireland - www.nli.ie
Please contact Catherine Ryan, the DRI Digital Librarian, for further information.