Saturday, February 25, 2017

Keyword in Context (KWIC) Indexing

Information Access Through The Subject

KEYWORD IN CONTEXT (KWIC) INDEXING

Keyword in Context Indexing system is based on the principle that the title of the document represents its contents. It is believed that the title of the document is one line abstract of the document. The significant words in the title indicate the subject of the document. a KWIC index makes an entry under each significant word in the title, along with the remaining part of the title to keep the context intact. The entries are derived using terms one by one as the lead term along with the entire context for each entry.

(a) Structure

Each entry in KWIC index consists of three parts

i) Keyword: Significant words of the title which serve as approach/access teems.

ii) Context: The rest of the terms of the title provided along with the keywords specifies the context fo the document.
iii) Identification or Location Code: A code (usually the social number of the entry) which provides address of the document where its full bibliographical details will be available.

In order to indicate the end of the title a “/” symbol is used. The identification code is put on the extreme right to indicate the location of the document.


(b) Indexing Process


KWIC indexing system consists of three steps

Step I : Keyword selection
Step II :Entry generation
Step III : Filing

Step I: First of all significant words or keywords are selected from the title. It is done by omitting articles, prepositions, conjunctions and others non-significant words or terms. The selection is done by the editor who marks the keywords. When a computer is used for preparing an index, the selection is done by having ‘stop list’ of non significant terms stored in it. A stop list consists of articles, prepositions and certain other common words which would be stopped from becoming the keywords. Another method of providing the correct terms f entries is by human intervention at the input stage, wherein the editor indicates the keyterms which are then picked up by the computer.

Step II: After the selection of keywords, the computer moves the title laterally in such a way that a significant word (key word) for a particular entry always appears either on the extreme left hand side or in the centre. The same thing can be performed manually following the structure of KWIC to generate entries.

Step III: After all the index entries for a document are generated, each entry is filed at its appropriate place in the alphabetical sequence.

Example: Classification of Books in a University Library (with identification code 1279)

Step I :

Classification Books University Library

StepII :

CLASSIFICATION of Books in a University Library 1279

Books in a University Library/Classification of 1279

UNIVERSITY Library/Classification of Books in 1279

LIBRARY/Classification of Books in University 1279

Step III :

Books in a University Library/Classification of 1279

CLASSIFICATION of Books in a University Library 1279

LIBRARY/Classification of Books in a University 1279

UNIVERSITY Library/Classification of Books in a 1279


The keyword may also be in the centre as follows:

Classification of BOOKS in a University Library 1279

University Library CLASSIFICATION of Books in a 1279

in a University LIBRARY/Classification of Books 1279

of Books in a UNIV. LIBRARY/Classification 1279

Source: (Chapter 3) Information Access Through The Subject : An Annotated Bibliography / by Salman Haider. - Online : OpenThesis, 2015. (408 pages ; 23 cm.)

Annotated bibliography titled Information Access Through The Subject covering Subject Indexing, Subject Cataloging, Classification, Artificial Intelligence, Expert Systems, and Subject Approaches in Bibliographic and Non-Bibliographic Databases etc. 

MLIS Thesis is available and discussed in following places: 

The project "annotated bibliography" was worked out as Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) dissertation in the Department of Library and Information Science, A.M.U, IndiaInformation Access Through The Subject is a very much appreciated work (see Testimonials). It earned the author S. Bashiruddin – P. N. Kaula Gold Medal, Post Graduate Merit Scholarship, First Division, and IInd Position in the MLIS program.

This article forms a part of Glossary of Library & Information Science.
Glossary of Library & Information Science


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  • Revised 2017-02-25 
  • Written 2017-02-25 

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