Controlled Vocabulary

A list of standardized terminology, i.e., words and phrases, designated for use in the indexing and retrieval of information in a particular context or application.The difference between a Semantic Model, e.g., a taxonomy, and a controlled vocabulary is a matter of context. A semantic model focuses on the identification of concepts, relationships, and terms; it provides the structure of a set of terms. A controlled vocabulary focuses on when and how a particular set of terms will be used; it indicates that a particular set of terms should be used in a particular context. For example, the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a Taxonomy; when MeSH indexers apply the subject headings to research literature, they are using MeSH as a controlled vocabulary. In this way, the Core Semantic Model provides the controlled vocabularies used to populate fields in the Core Metadata Model.

Key Resources