Thesaurus Project Overview
As a result of the global recession of 2008 and 2009, LEMoN Armoury Inc. has committed to an internal restructuring process to remain economically competitive in the recreational weapons industry. As a result of the 2009 business planning that took place from September to November 2008, LEMoN Armoury has identified several areas within which we can increase the company’s productivity. Although LEMoN Armoury’s annual sales are projected to fall in 2009, (primarily due to the decrease in the Vancouver film industry’s demand for our products), we nevertheless hope to maintain our market share of the recreational weapons sector.
*Purpose of the Armoury and Weapons Thesaurus
Specifically, LEMoN Armoury Inc. needs to streamline administrative processes through the development of business tools to increase the company’s efficiency. The development of an internal LEMoN Armoury Thesaurus (LAT) is one initiative that was identified to help us achieve our 2009 projected sales targets.
Through this tool, LEMoN Armoury will be able to:
- Standardize business language for internal use and external communications (e.g., the accounts department and online store, respectively);
- Categorize the range of products that we currently offer;
- Enhance the functionality of our centralized products database system;
- Easily retrieve product information for clients, including custom specifications, using a controlled vocabulary;
- Offer a reference resource to apprentices and amour/weapons-makers;
- Improve our records management systems to better manage information about the types of armour and weapons that we currently produce and have manufactured;
- Anticipate future demand for our goods; and
- Become more responsive to changes in the Canadian economy.
*Phases of Thesaurus Development
The LEMoN Armoury Thesaurus (LAT) will be developed over 6 phases.
In Phase 1, the Information Technology (IT) team will create both an indexing language of controlled vocabulary and a prototype thesaurus. This process will include, but will not be limited to, a survey of relevant literature to generate possible terms, the selection of preferred and non-preferred terminology for inclusion in the thesaurus, and the development of internal LAT web pages for LEMoN Armoury’s Intranet site.
During Phase 2, IT will evaluate the usability of the prototype and incorporate employee feedback. Phase 3 will involve revisions to the prototype and the expansion of the LAT to include all of LEMoN Armoury’s products. Phase 4 will include additional testing, final revisions to the indexing language and thesaurus, and the development of administrative procedures for thesaurus maintenance. Phase 5 will involve the completion of the internal LAT web pages for our Intranet site and the integration of the thesaurus into our centralized product database system. Lastly, Phase 6 will involve, but will not be limited to, employee training and general thesaurus maintenance.
Phase One: Prototype Development
Current Requirements: Scottish Swords Collection
Due to the popularity of LEMoN Armoury’s Scottish swords collection, we have focused on this group of products for the initial development of our indexing language and prototype thesaurus. Only the swords themselves have been indexed. Therefore, Scottish sword accessories such as the scabbard have not been indexed but will be addressed in Phase 3 of the LAT project.
The LAT prototype focuses on 4 aspects of Scottish swords:
- Sword types;
- Sword parts;
- Swordmaking (referring to processes);
- Sword wielding styles; and
- Sword performance characteristics.
Using our Scottish swords collection, our initial indexing language of controlled vocabulary and prototype will contain no more than 200 terms, approximately 60 of which will be preferred terms. However, at the end of Phase 3, we anticipate that the final indexing language and thesaurus will contain approximately 1,000 terms.
Phases Two through Five
Since LEMoN Armoury primarily manufactures historic armour and weaponry, we do not anticipate frequent expansion of the size of the LAT after completing the final phases of our implementation plan. Nevertheless, to accommodate added inventory, changes in language use over time, and as-yet-unanticipated business needs, we have developed a thesaurus that can be modified through the Chief Information Manager (CIM) position. The CIM will oversee and approve changes to the LAT through formalized business procedures that will be developed in Phases 4 and 5.
*Current Thesaurus Users
As detailed in the “Purpose” section of this overview, the LAT is being developed to provide LEMoN Armoury with an additional competitive edge in the global recreational weapons sector. Therefore, the LAT is to be strictly used in-house by the following groups of users:
- Sword masters and apprentices;
- In-house IT and administrative professionals, including:
- The Chief Information Manager (CIM);
- IT maintenance personnel; and
- Sales and marketing staff.
All users of the LAT must sign non-disclosure agreements before being granted access to the thesaurus by the CIM and indexer. The CIM and indexer are joint thesaurus administrators and their joint permission is required for any other individual to receive user rights.
(1.a) During Phase 1 of the LAT development process, LEMoN Armoury’s swordmasters were consulted in the selection of preferred terms when decisions regarding related terms was required. As the swordmasters have already internalized this vocabulary and represent one of the standards by which preferred terms are selected, their use of the LAT is expected to be minimal.
(1.b) LEMoN Armoury routinely hires apprentices, on limited year-to-year contracts, in order to ensure the perpetuation of the craft. Some apprentices remain with LEMoN Armoury for years as swordmakers before leaving to pursue other endeavours or become swordmasters with LEMoN Armoury. New apprentices will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with the LAT in order to learn and standardize terminology within the workshop.
(2.a) The CIM’s involvement with the LAT will only be peripheral. The CIM is responsible for the smooth running of all IT hardware and software. The actual content of the LAT is not within the CIM’s purview – only the integrity of the data.
(2.b) The indexer is the individual primarily responsible for creating new entries, editing existing entries, and thesaurus maintenance. Given the modest size of LEMoN Armoury, this person holds multiple titles and is a member of the IT maintenance personnel. No individual may hold the titles of both CIM and indexer.
(2.c) IT maintenance personnel follow the instructions of the CIM and likewise are only concerned with the maintenance of the thesaurus and not the contents.
(3) Sales and marketing staff are required to familiarize themselves with the contents of the thesaurus in order to aid customers in the selection of a sword or other item from LEMoN Armoury’s catalogue. Since LEMoN Armoury only keeps a limited inventory of our most popular items in the showroom, most of our productions are custom-made; with the help of sales staff, many customers order very specialized swords.
*Future Thesaurus Users
All of the people listed in the previous section will carry their user rights forward indefinitely. As LEMoN Armoury expands, we hope to add additional weapons to our inventory. This addition will necessitate further thesaural development and the hiring of new weapon and/or armour makers. These new weapon and/or armour makers will have user access to the LAT. At this time, it may be necessary to hire additional consultants in the selection of new or additional preferred terms.