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About Working with a Controlled Vocabulary

A controlled vocabulary defines a list of valid terms that can appear in metadata fields within CONTENTdm. A controlled vocabulary allows an administrator to restrict metadata in selected fields to specific words or phrases. An administrator establishes which fields will have a controlled vocabulary. For information on enabling a controlled vocabulary, see Editing Field Properties.

When working in the Project Client to enter metadata, you can view the list of terms as well as related Terminologies Service information by editing items using the Item Editing tab (i.e., open items from the project spreadsheet to new tabs to display the Metadata Editor). If a controlled vocabulary is enabled for a field, it is displayed when you click in a field to edit it. Entering a term that is not part of the controlled vocabulary displays a warning icon. If you ignore the warning, the unapproved term is submitted to the pending queue for approval when the item is uploaded.

Controlled Vocabulary Warning

For more information, see the Controlled Vocabulary tutorial.

Learn about:

  1. Using a Controlled Vocabulary
  2. Using the OCLC Terminologies Service
  3. Limiting the Number of Controlled Vocabulary Terms that are Downloaded

Using a Controlled Vocabulary

When editing an item in the Item Editing tab’s Metadata Editor, the Controlled Vocabulary pane displays when you click in a field that has a controlled vocabulary. As you enter data in the field, the Controlled Vocabulary list at right updates to display the closest matches in the vocabulary.

To edit or enter a term:

  1. As terms are entered in the field, the closest match in the controlled vocabulary is highlighted in the right pane.

    Controlled Vocabulary Pane

  2. Browse the approved controlled vocabulary list. Double-click the appropriate term in the controlled vocabulary list to add it automatically or type the term in the metadata field. (You may also want to review OCLC Terminologies Service pane for more information.)

    You can add multiple terms by clicking additional terms from the list. Or type the additional terms in the metadata field, separated by semicolons.

  3. Click Save to save your changes.

Using the OCLC Terminologies Service

OCLC Terminologies Service provides access to multiple controlled vocabularies, including a brief description and cross searching. If Terminologies Service is available for the selected controlled vocabulary, the OCLC Terminologies Service pane to the right of the Metadata Editor updates as the associated controlled vocabulary matches update.

For the highlighted controlled vocabulary term, the service displays related broader terms and a list of non-preferred terms. Additional notes may also display.

Limiting the Number of Controlled Vocabulary Terms that are Downloaded

In the Metadata Editor on the Item Editing tab as you type metadata into fields with controlled vocabulary, a find-as-you-type feature displays the closest matching controlled vocabulary term in the right pane. The controlled vocabulary is downloaded from the server configured in the project settings. Users can control the total number of terms downloaded in this find-as-you-type feature. Users with slower server connections may wish to limit the number of terms downloaded when checking a term.

The default limit for the number of terms to download is set at 15,000. This setting can be changed in the Project Client Project Settings Manager.

To limit the number of terms that are downloaded:

  1. From the Project menu select Project Settings Manager and then click Project Options. The Project Options page displays.

  2. Under Controlled Vocabulary Download, select the number of terms that can be downloaded at one time.

  3. Click OK to close Project Settings Manager and save your changes.

    Project Settings Manager


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