library catalogs, search engines, tags, unrestricted keywords, similarity matching, folksonomies


Libraries, private and public, offer valuable resources to library patrons. As of today the only way to locate information archived exclusively in libraries is through their catalogs. Library patrons, however, often find it difficult to formulate a proper query, which requires using specific keywords assigned to different fields of desired library catalog records, to obtain relevant results. These improperly formulated queries often yield irrelevant results or no results at all. This negative experience in dealing with existing library systems turn library patrons away from library catalogs; instead, they rely on Web search engines to perform their searches first and upon obtaining the initial information (such as titles, subject headings, or authors) on the desired library materials, they query library catalogs. This searching strategy is an evidence of failure of today’s library systems. In solving this problem, we propose an enhanced library system, which allows partial, similarity matching of (i) tags defined by ordinary users at a folksonomy site that describe the content of books and (ii) unrestricted keywords specified by an ordinary library patron in a query to search for relevant library catalog records. The proposed library system allows patrons posting a query Q using commonly-used words and ranks the retrieved results according to their degrees of resemblance with Q while maintaining the query processing time comparable with the one achieved by current library search engines.

Original Publication Citation

Maria Soledad Pera, William Lund, and Yiu-Kai Ng. "A Sophisticated Library Search Strategy Using Folksonomies and Similarity Matches", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), Volume 6, Issue 7, pp. 1392-146, July 29.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Computer Science