Viewpoints in indexing term assignment

David Bodoff, Yaffa Richter-Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature on assigned indexing considers three possible viewpoints—the author's viewpoint as evidenced in the title, the users' viewpoint, and the indexer's viewpoint—and asks whether and which of those views should be reflected in an indexer's choice of terms to assign to an item. We study this question empirically, as opposed to normatively. Based on the literature that discusses whose viewpoints should be reflected, we construct a research model that includes those same three viewpoints as factors that might be influencing term assignment in actual practice. In the unique study design that we employ, the records of term assignments made by identified indexers in academic libraries are cross-referenced with the results of a survey that those same indexers completed on political views. Our results indicate that in our setting, variance in term assignment was best explained by indexers' personal political views.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)450-461
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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