What are controlled vocabularies?

A controlled vocabulary is an organized arrangement of words and phrases used to index content and/or to retrieve content through browsing or searching. It typically includes preferred and variant terms and has a defined scope or describes a specific domain.1

Some of the most important organization for our global e-commerce rests on the shoulders of librarians who are quietly organizing the world of knowledge as they have for so many thousands of years. “ has 50+ catalogers on their staff and Microsoft’s internal portal has three full-time taxonomists on the payroll.2

The Science Reference Library Classification was developed during the middle of the 1960s as a scheme to arrange books on the shelves of a large open‐access library integrating the whole of Science and Technology in a single collection. It is intended to help in the retrieval of information which is not indexed elsewhere, by abstracting and bibliographic services, and to make ‘browsing’ by the large number of readers (one‐third, according to the National Libraries Committee report) who enter the library without a specific reference in mind as fruitful as possible.

Paul Morrow has written about the classification system of Holocaust Museums.  

Holocaust museums record and memorialize deeply affecting historical events. They can nevertheless be described and criticized using standard categories of museum analysis. 

…This educational value is not intrinsic to the objects themselves, but rather stems from the extrinsic relations established between objects in museum exhibitions and displays. 

…Taxonomic features of Holocaust museums… link the activities and display strategies of national, regional, and local Holocaust museums. 3

To search library catalogs or other electronic search tools for materials on Psychological Trauma and the Holocaust, use the following Library of Congress subject headings to retrieve the most relevant citations:

Children of Holocaust survivors–Mental health
Children of Holocaust survivors–Psychological aspects
Children of Holocaust survivors–Psychology
Concentration camps–Psychological aspects
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)–Psychological aspects
Holocaust survivors–Mental health
Holocaust survivors–Psychological aspects
Holocaust survivors–Psychology
National socialism–Psychological aspects
Psychic trauma

  1. Harpring, P. (2010). Introduction to controlled vocabularies: terminology for art, architecture, and other cultural works. Getty Publications. Accessed 31 Jan 2021.
  2. Crandall, Mike. “Taxonomies for the Real World: the Business Imperative to Simplify Content Access” Paper presented at the Taxonomies for Business Conference in London in Oct. 2000. Accessed 31 Jan 2021.
  3. Morrow, P. (2016). Are Holocaust Museums Unique?. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement79, 133.