8. About ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005
Guidelines for the Construction,
Format, and Management of
Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies


Abstract: Presents guidelines and conventions for the contents, display, construction, testing, maintenance, and management of monolingual controlled vocabularies. It focuses on controlled vocabularies that are used for the representation of content objects in knowledge organization systems including lists, synonym rings, taxonomies, and thesauri.

172 pp.    ISBN: 1-880124-65-3   
ANSI Approval Date: 07/25/05

An American National Standard
Developed by the
National Information Standards Organization

Approved July 25, 2005
by the
American National Standards Institute

Published by the National Information Standards Organization
NISO Press, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.

Available at NISO Approved Standards page or directly from: http://www.niso.org/standards/standard_detail.cfm?std_id=814

Table of Contents

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The History of this Standard

ANSI/NISO Z39.19, now in its fourth edition, is truly “built on the shoulders of giants.” The first edition of ANSI/NISO Z39.19, published in 1974, was prepared by Subcommittee 25 on Thesaurus Rules and Conventions of the American National Standards Committee Z39 on Standardization in the Field of Library Work, Documentation, and Related Publishing Practices—the forerunner to NISO. The authors of that first standard drew heavily on standards of practice developed by experts in the field including the Engineers Joint Council, the Committee on Scientific and Technical Information of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, and UNESCO. In the late 1970’s the standard was revised by Madeline Henderson and a new edition was released in 1980.

In 1988, under the leadership of Dr. Bella Haas Weinberg, work began to revise Z39.19 and a significantly expanded standard, taking into account variations in approach, was released in 1993. In 1998 the standard was reviewed by the NISO Members during its regular five-year review cycle. The NISO members supported reaffirming the standard, however, many members advised that there soon would be a need to reexamine the standard in light of the rapidly evolving electronic information environment. In response, NISO organized a national Workshop on Electronic Thesauri, held November 4-5, 1999, to investigate the desirability and feasibility of developing a standard for electronic thesauri. This revision of Z39.19 grew out of the recommendations developed by consensus at that Workshop. (The Report on the Workshop on Electronic Thesauri, November 4-5, 1999 is available at: http://www.niso.org/news/events_workshops/thes99rprt.html.)

Similar revision work is under way internationally on ISO 2788, Guidelines for the Establishment and Development of Monolingual Thesauri. In the UK, work is under way to revise and extend BS 5723, which is equivalent to ISO 2788. Publication of the new BS 8723: Structured Vocabularies for Information Retrieval – Guide Parts 1 and 2, which cover similar ground as Z39.19, became available in 2005. Parts 3, 4, and 5, expected during 2006-2007, will deal respectively with other vocabularies than thesauri such as classification schemes, business classification schemes for records management, taxonomies, subject heading schemes, and ontologies; interoperability between vocabularies; and protocols and formats for interoperation between vocabularies and other components of information storage and retrieval systems.

This standard continues to be a reflection of its time. When Z39.19 was first conceived, thesaurus terms were generally applied when indexing collections of documents, most commonly printed resources such as journal articles, technical reports, newspaper articles, etc. As new information storage and retrieval systems have emerged, the concept of document has expanded to include patents, chemical structures, maps, music, videos, museum artifacts, and many other types of materials that are not traditional documents. This revision addresses this more inclusive notion of document. Furthermore, the display methods described in earlier editions of the standard were almost entirely for printed products. This revision expands the description of display options and provides new examples to illustrate these display options.

The revision process was supported by The H.W. Wilson Foundation, the Getty Grant Program, and the National Library of Medicine. Through their generosity and interest, these institutions brought validation and resources that enabled this revision to be launched and arrive at a successful and timely conclusion.

Committee Members

Emily Fayen, Project Lead

Vivian Bliss

Carol Brent

Dave Clarke

John Dickert

Lynn El-Hoshy
Library of Congress

Margie Hlava
Access Innovations

Patricia Harpring

Stephen Hearn
American Library Association

Cynthia Hodgson
NISO Editor

Sabine Kuhn

Pat Kuhr
H.W. Wilson

Diane McKerlie
Design Strategy

Paula McCoy

Peter Morville
Semantic Studios

Stuart Nelson
National Library of Medicine

Allan Savage
National Library of Medicine

Diane Vizine-Goetz
OCLC, Inc.

Trish Yancey

Marcia Lei Zeng
Special Libraries Association

| Table of Contents |
| 1. Why Vocabulary Control | 2. Principles | 3. Structures | 4. Semantic Relationships |
| 5. Displays | 6. When to use | 7. Examples of use | 8. About Z39.19 |
©NISO, 2005 http://www.niso.org/

Source: Based on ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 ISBN: 1-880124-65-3 
Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies

Last updated 1-18-2007