ChatGPT and LCSHs | MetaRanger

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2023-03-16 02:00:02

When assigning descriptive values to metadata elements, vocabulary and syntax is of the utmost importance. Whenever we label a metadata element subject we should realize that one person’s “World War II” is another’s “WW II.” If the value for the subject element were “World War II” for one resource and “WW II” for another, we’d be able to safely assume that both were, generally speaking, about World War II. Further still, “WWII,” “World War 2,” “WW 2” and “WW2” are probably also descriptive enough for us to determine that any resources with these values for the subject element are also about World War II. All six hypothetical resources have different values for subject, but because we’re able to process their meaning in our heads without thinking twice, we know that in actuality they all represent the same thing: the Second World War

But from an information science perspective, all seven of these values are different. Databases, catalogs, search algorithms—just as (35.95 ≠ 36.00), (“WW2” ≠ “WWII”). We know that such a distinction is pretty much pedantic, but computers are proudly pedantic. You will never be able to convince one that a number, which isn’t another number, is, actually, that other number. Similarly, it can only see “WW2” and “WWII” as two different values.

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