TiddlyWiki Thesaurus

The 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.)


I 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.


Since its inception, the TiddlyWiki Thesaurus has spanned projects in several of my courses: I have attempted to use this project as a focal point and practical application for the methods and techniques I've learned in my coursework. I also hope that the TWT tool can provide some benefit for future students in the LIS 537 course, and lives beyond my own time in the Information School.