What Can an Index Do? Modernizing Retrieval for Government Information
May 29th, 2014 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference
6 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014
Date Written: May 28, 2014
What can a simple index do to support retrieval, especially in comparison to computational tools? A panel of experts addresses this question at the 2014 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference (#LDTC14). The May 29, 2014 conference is hosted by the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, United States Congress. In this introduction to the panel, I consider the theory and history behind indexing as well as introducing the panelists. The Federal Register, which publishes regulations and authoritative documents from United States executive agencies, will be the central case study. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) includes an index and finding aids such as the Parallel Table of Authorities that provide conceptual access to the collection from multiple perspectives. The indexes hold several layers of intellectual work that support both human and machine retrieval. This panel offers academic research to frame policy initiatives that modernize and economize government data production. We discuss the role of indexing in the transition from a document publication model to a data posting model of dissemination.
Keywords: index, information infrastructure, information retrieval, search, browse
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