TiddlyWiki ThesaurusThe TiddlyWiki Thesaurus (TWT) is a web application tool which can be used to create a thesaurus of subject terms for indexing or searching a large collection of items. It was the focus of our user-centered redesign activities in the TC 518 course. (Note that the definition of a thesaurus is outside the scope of this portfolio, but more information can be found in this book reviewed here.)
HistoryI created the original TWT while working on a course project in autumn 2007. This course, LIS 537: Construction of Indexing Languages, directed students to construct a thesaurus for a chosen user group and domain. The TWT was built as an aid to this thesaurus construction process, and an alternative to manual methods such as using index cards or spreadsheets to collect and organize terms. My group saw value in the tool, and the instructor (Trent Hill) encouraged me to continue working on it so he might use it as a learning tool for future versions of the course.
The tool was built out of a standard TiddlyWiki, through code customization and additions. The TiddlyWiki technology has been described as a “reusable non-linear personal web notebook.” Conceptually, it can be thought of as a collection of index cards (“tiddlers”) with small chunks of content which are searchable, tagged, and linked to each other inside a single, self-contained web page. It’s like a wiki because multiple people can edit it, but it’s not page oriented – it is element oriented.
A test copy of the TWT was created for our evaluative testing, and is identical in functionality to the version used in the course project mentioned above.
LifecycleSince its inception, the TiddlyWiki Thesaurus has spanned projects in several of my courses:
- LIS 537: Construction of Indexing Languages in autumn 2007
- initial concept, development, beta testing and use
- TC 518: User-Centered Design in the spring of 2008
- user research and user-centered redesign activities
- LIS 600: Independent Study with Trent Hill in the summer of 2008
- implementation of redesign, documentation