Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Preview of a Conceptual Disneyland Resort Thesaurus Output: Matterhorn Mountain

Prompted by Major Pepperidge's question about when the hell this will benefit anyone (paraphrased, to be sure), I threw together a sample of what a print output of the Disneyland Resort Thesaurus could look like. I did manual tweaking to output from the database, but did only minimal review to determine if the quality of the information could be improved.

First, a word about what the output would look like. When most people think of a thesaurus, they think of an alphabetically arranged list of words listing synonyms and, possibly antonyms. But it actually is much richer at capturing not only this kind of relation, but also hierarchy (broader and narrower terms) and other kinds of relations. A thesaurus can also have text fields to, for example, give a thesaurus user an understanding of how the use of a term has changed over time. My thesaurus is very rich in all of these areas.

The most famous thesaurus, Roget's Thesaurus, had its primary organization by subject hierarchy. Go look at an early version of the book over at the Internet Archive to see for yourself. Since I'm not trying to capture the relations between all of human knowledge as represented by words in the English language, I already have a much more manageable field of knowledge to tackle than Roget. The alphabetical index was more of an afterthought to facilitate use of the hierarchy, but in practice this list became the primary way that the thesaurus was referenced.

I would envision both a hierarchical output and an alphabetical. For this little project, I focused on Matterhorn Mountain, since it is old enough and important enough to have a fair number of connections. Here is what a hierarchical page which includes the mountain could look like:
(Note: As this is modeled after an actual reference work, you will need to expand the image.)

As I implied, there is still work to be done in refining the classification. The Fantasyland Break Area, for example, could be part of one of the buildings (such as Fantasyland East Building), and I just haven't yet come across that information. I try to only go as far as the facts of sources yet referenced will take me. And if you look closely you'll see that I'm also behind at keeping up with the latest tenant of what I collectively call the Fantasyland East Castle stores.

You would find much more information in the alphabetical output, as seen in two fanciful pages below:

You'll immediately notice that there are a number of different types of things here, from people (Mattey, Bob, Sr.) to ride vehicles (Matterhorn Bobsleds bobsleds) to attractions (Matterhorn Bobsleds) to companies (Mattel) to generic roles (matte painters).

What do all the codes mean? Well, BT (broader term) and NT (narrower term) are somewhat self-explanatory. UF (use for) is the inverse of USE, and indicates that that is the preferred term, which may be based on official Disney nomenclature, literary warrant, or my own determination of the most widely used term to define a concept. The SRC note field is to capture the precise way that something has been written. This accounts for not only different terminology (Matterhorn Bobsled Ride versus Matterhorn Bobsleds), but also spelling variations and misspellinngs (Matte, Bob versus Mattey, Bob, Sr.). Some of the terms have brief descriptions of what they are, which are drawn from categories within the thesaurus. The decades are drawn from a "Disneyland Resort Era" category, to help me assign terms to their relative periods of significance.

RT stands for related term, and RTI for related term instance. SPOF (which here you'll only find under Mattel) stands for sponsored, formerly. CTBF stands for contributions from, and is a broad relationship to capture any type of contribution to the creation or execution of something, without going into more detail (the inverse is CTBT, contributed to). For example, Mattey, Bob, Sr. contributed to Haunted Mansion, The, but I don't specify what that was. (In this case, it's because I don't know—I got it from his D23 profile.)

DN stands for date note and usually captures either the dates of a person's birth and death or of the operational dates of an attraction.

I hope you've enjoyed this peak behind the curtain. If I just focus on prettying up one page per day, I should be nearing completion as Disney adds a fourth gate in Anaheim and I have to start all over again!

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