Integration of distributed terminology resources to facilitate subject cross-browsing for library portal systems

Purpose – The paper aims to develop a prototype middleware framework between different terminology resources in order to provide a subject cross-browsing service for library portal systems. Design/methodology/approach – Nine terminology experts were interviewed to collect appropriate knowledge to support the development of a theoretical framework for the research. Based on this, a simplified software-based prototype system was constructed incorporating the knowledge acquired. The prototype involved mappings between the computer science schedule of the Dewey Decimal Classification (which acted as a spine) and two controlled vocabularies, UKAT and ACM Computing Classification. Subsequently, six further experts in the field were invited to evaluate the prototype system and provide feedback to improve the framework. Findings – The major findings showed that, given the large variety of terminology resources distributed throughout the web, the proposed middleware service is essential to integrate technically and semantically the different terminology resources in order to facilitate subject cross-browsing. A set of recommendations are also made, outlining the important approaches and features that support such a cross-browsing middleware service. Originality/value – Cross-browsing features are lacking in current library portal meta-search systems. Users are therefore deprived of this valuable retrieval provision. This research investigated the case for such a system and developed a prototype to fill this gap.