Alignment of Conceptual Structures in Controlled Vocabularies in the Domain of Chinese Art: a Discussion of Issues and Patterns

Publication Title

International Journal on Digital Libraries

Publication Date


Document Type





controlled vocabularies, knowledge organization, semantic mapping, multilingual terminology


Library and Information Science


In any effort that involves multilingual KOS, the language and cultural variants bring a great degree of complexity, especially when perspectives of different cultures need to be integrated. This paper attempts to explore, within the domain of Chinese art, the interoperability of multilingual/multi-cultural vocabularies by analyzing the issues of aligning the conceptual structures of Chinese and English terminology in the controlled vocabularies observed in our Chinese AAT-Taiwan Project (2010-present). The paper addresses the issues related to the conceptual structures of the concepts for Chinese art in the National Palace Museum (NPM) Vocabulary and Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT). The paper presents four patterns found in the effort of achieving semantic interoperability and shares a set of models that have been used to handle various situations. The findings help the understanding of the semantic interoperability of multilingual KOS, especially when dealing with cultural-related concepts that cannot be exactly aligned in vocabularies due to discrepancies in the conceptual structures.