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2018 N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 874 The Transportation Research Thesaurus: Capabilities and Enhancements Gail Hodge InformatIon InternatIonal assocIates, Inc. Oak Ridge, TN Denise Bedford GeorGetown UnIversIty Washington, DC Subscriber Categories Administration and Management â¢ Data and Information Technology â¢ Education and Training Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing highway administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transportation results in increasingly complex problems of wide inter- est to highway authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the Federal Highway Administration. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I), and each year R&Iâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Direc- tors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these top- ics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs. Published research reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 874 Project 20-109 ISSN 2572-3766 (Print) ISSN 2572-3774 (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-44685-3 Library of Congress Control Number 2018936445 Â© 2018 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied committees, task forces, and panels annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The research reported herein was performed under NCHRP Project 20-109 by Information Inter- national Associates, Inc. (IIa). Gail Hodge was the principal investigator with Dr. Denise Bedford (Georgetown University) as co-principal investigator. The other contributors to this report include Nikkia Anderson, Samuel Couchara, Jeffrey Cox, Kathleen Ellis, Melissa Keenan, Maureen Matkovich, Daniel McCarthy, and Delia Turner, all of IIa. The following served as Advisory Transportation Sub- ject Matter Experts: Dr. Carla Bailo (Ohio State University), Dr. Jitendra Bajpai (Columbia University), Dr. Carol Flannagan (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute/University of Michigan), Christy Granquist (Washington State Department of Transportation), Dr. Alexeis Garcia-Perez (Coventry University), Adrian Guan (Interstellar Transport System), Dan Morgan (U.S. Department of Transporta- tion), and Dr. I. Richmond Nettey (Kent State University). CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 874 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Andrew C. Lemer, Senior Program Officer Sheila A. Moore, Program Associate Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Ellen M. Chafee, Senior Editor NCHRP PROJECT 20-109 PANEL Area of Special Projects Sandra L. Tucker, Bryan, TX (Chair) Andrew T. Everett, Washington State DOT, Tumwater, WA Ashleigh N. Faith, EBSCO Information Services, Ipswich, MA Susan Golden, Golden Information Group, Kingston, WA Bradley J. Overturf, Connecticut DOT, Newington, CT Tammy J. Roberts, California DOT, Sacramento, CA Cynthia J. Smith, Mississippi DOT, Jackson, MS Mary E. Moulton, OST-R Liaison Dawn Vanlandingham, FHWA Liaison Lisa Loyo, TRB Liaison James W. Bryant, Jr., TRB Liaison Janet S. Daly, TRB Liaison
The Transportation Research Thesaurus (TRT) is a structured, controlled vocabulary of terms in English, used by TRB and a variety of other organizations to support indexing, search, and retrieval of technical reports, research documents, and other transportation information. The TRT, covering all modes and aspects of transportation, has evolved over a number of years and is continuously being refined and expanded. NCHRP Research Report 874: The Transportation Research Thesaurus: Capabilities and Enhancements pre- sents the results of a comprehensive assessment of the TRTâs capabilities and strategies for the TRTâs future development. The research and its results are applicable to storage, retrieval, and other aspects of managing transportation information generally. The TRT was initially developed in the 1990s under NCHRP as a tool to improve the indexing and retrieval of transportation information. The thesaurus now covers all modes and aspects of transportation, providing a common and consistent language used by producers and users of information stored in the Transportation Research International Documentation (TRID) Database, the integrated records from TRBâs Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developmentâs Joint Transport Research Centreâs International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. The thesaurus is currently also used as an indexing tool for many federal, state, and university information repositories. The TRT supports indexing, search, and retrieval of research documents, technical reports, and other information about transportation and thereby assists information users by encouraging consistency in language and cataloging of such information across reposi- tories. Additionally, the TRT provides a framework for users who wish to tailor their own information storage and retrieval systems for their specific needs. While TRT refers to âresearchâ in particular, the TRTâs application is broader, covering all modes and aspects of transportation. The TRT is curated and maintained by TRB. The TRT web page (http://trt.trb.org/) allows for searching and browsing the thesaurus. Since the TRTâs initial development, the amount of available transportation informa- tion, demand for that information, information management technology, and standards of information management practice have grown and changed. There is little doubt the growth and change will continue. The TRT has expanded and evolved to cope with these trends, but TRB staff and other stakeholders have for some time recognized a need for strategic planning and substantial action to ensure that the TRTâs effectiveness is main- tained. The objective of NCHRP Project 20-109, âEnhancement of the Transportation Research Thesaurus,â was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the TRTâs capabilities, explore strategic options for the TRTâs future development, and identify early actions to F O R E W O R D By Andrew C. Lemer Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
pursue that development. The research, conducted by a team led by Information Interna- tional Associates, Inc., entailed interviews with TRT users and other stakeholders, in-depth analysis of the TRT architecture and governance tools and processes, and comparison with international standards of information management practice. The product of this research, NCHRP Research Report 874: The Transportation Research Thesaurus: Capabilities and Enhancements, is intended to be a roadmap for the TRTâs future development. The report is aimed primarily at TRB staff, TRT users, and other TRT stake- holders, but the research and its results are broadly applicable to storage, retrieval, and other aspects of managing transportation information.
1 Summary 5 Chapter 1 Background 6 Research Objectives 6 Research Strategy 10 Sources of Data and Information for the Assessment 12 Review of Previous NCHRP Reports 14 Chapter 2 The Transportation Research Thesaurusâ Historical and Current Context 14 History of Thesauri and the TRT 14 Thesaurus Standards and Conceptual Model 15 Areas of Variance from Thesaurus Standards 16 The TRT as a Component of TRID Search 18 Chapter 3 Assessment of the Current TRT 18 TRT Content, Management, and Maintenance 23 Access and Use 26 Governance Processes 27 Governance Tools 33 Architecture 33 Overall Assessment of the TRT 35 Chapter 4 Future Strategies 35 Use Case 0: Maintain and Enhance TRT Status Quo in TRID 38 Use Case 1: New ISO-Compliant Master Version of the TRT 40 Use Case 2: Enhanced TRT Local and Global Discovery Tools 41 Use Case 3: TRT Automated Classification and Indexing Tools and Services 42 Use Case 4: Community-Based Designer Applications from the TRT 45 Chapter 5 Assessment of Thesaurus Management Software 45 Research Approach 46 Findings 47 Conclusions 49 Chapter 6 Strategic and Immediate Action Plan Development 51 Chapter 7 Conclusions 51 Conclusion 1 51 Conclusion 2 52 Conclusion 3 52 Conclusion 4 C O N T E N T S
53 Appendix A TRT Strategic Plan 70 Appendix B Immediate Action Plan 77 Appendix C TRT Assessment Criteria 84 Appendix D Interview Guide and Data Collection Forms 101 Bibliography 104 Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Initialisms Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.