Controlled Vocabulary Standards for Anthropological Datasets


  • Celia Emmelhainz



This article seeks to outline the use of controlled vocabulary standards for qualitative datasets in cultural anthropology, which are increasingly held in researcher-accessible government repositories and online digital libraries. As a humanistic science that can address almost any aspect of life with meaning to humans, cultural anthropology has proven difficult for librarians and archivists to effectively organize. Yet as anthropology moves onto the web, the challenge of organizing and curating information within the field only grows. In considering the subject classification of digital information in anthropology, I ask how we might best use controlled vocabularies for indexing digital anthropological data. After a brief discussion of likely concerns, I outline thesauri which may potentially be used for vocabulary control in metadata fields for language, location, culture, researcher, and subject. The article concludes with recommendations for those existing thesauri most suitable to provide a controlled vocabulary for describing digital objects in the anthropological world.






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