Terminology Demo

If you were to search the board meeting minutes for the Village of Crestwood for their September 20, 2012 meeting for the word “Vote,” no matter what variation you tried, you will not find the word anywhere.

That should mean no one voted on anything during the meeting, right?  A zero is a zero, even with or without a line through it and there’s no sans serif about it.  It’s a circle meaning nothing is present in the counting process.

However, most readers can quickly discover there was actually quite a bit of voting, for once you look at the “Ayes” and “Nays” count, you can see double digits compared to a big, skinny zero, which strongly suggests quite a few voting events took place.  And once a manual, live reading of the document commences, it is fairly clear that voting events took place.

Words like “motion” and “call” aid in this type of surface observation, and since most people have not the time nor the reason to commit to reading word-for-word a variety of documents, common terminology has become even more critical than perhaps ever before anticipated.

However, it is important to place the publications of the Village of Crestwood in a larger context and that Crestwood is by no means unique in its terminology presentation methods.   Many municipalities vary their terminology and state laws allow the term “President” and “Mayor” to be interchangable without any formal codification that such a title adaptation has been adopted.

Warning! Major Update of The Municipal Meeting Minutes Index Blog. Stay tuned for details.What is critical within this demonstration is that although visions and images of compliance suggest content is present and accounted for when sorting based on document date and/or file name, but sorting by file name does not even come close to providing an actual chronology of the content contained within the files themselves.

The value of breaking a document into its core keyword components holds a dimension and dynamic unavailable until at least the late 70’s and early 80’s, when computing systems were beginning their proliferation into the workplace, partially so that this type of data could be viewed in otherwise impossible structure and composition, irrelevant of political distinction between Government and Everyone Else.

In this demonstration, consistency in notation structure is vital to the integrity of the document being crafted  Procedures exist within Roberts Rules of Order, right along side a variety of other codification standards, such as with the AP Manual.

If you look under the word “Clerk,” you will see that it is displayed in 6 locations in the document.  What makes this particular term noteworthy for this demo is the count for each individual identity.  Whereas the names of each trustee is in the double digits, there is but one citation of who the Clerk is for the Village.  This citation shows up only at the end of the document, where the Clerk is supposed to affix a signature, which for online public documentation purposes, an actual pen-drawn signature is not necessary to assign the person to the job title.

This creates a potentially significant problem due to the creation of a document completely incapable of being quickly searched and organized based on the facts being recorded in the minutes through no application off common – if not also proper –  identifiers (including job titles) rather than a complete disconnect because someone didn’t title cap a word in the search box.

Where oh where did the Village Attorney's name go?Another example is with the word “Attorney.”  It is displayed in 9 separate locations, however with even a manual search of the document, there is not one instance of the actual identity of the Attorney of record for the Village.

This means anyone searching the documents using the name of the Crestwood Village Attorney would/will receive a search result of “no entries match your search criteria.  Please try again.”

Lastly (although by no means the last example available), how fuzzy a search algorithm is supposed to perform is entirely within the discretion of the designer/developer of the algorithm.  Therefore, some results will have what seems to be duplicate entries in the Single String Count, when the only variation is a change in the capitalization of a word, or maybe a plural circumstances, or even punctuation can skew the numeric tallies anyone can perform even without the aid of a computer.

Generic Terms

Crestwood                   11
Trustee                        53
Village                          19
Chairman                     12
Mayor                            4
Clerk                              6
Attorney                       9

Identity Specific Terms

Benedetto                1
Fowler                    22
Hirsch                     23
Presta                    26
Stranczek                2*
Toscas                   23
Wasag                    19

Action Terms

Motion                        13
Request(ed)                 1
Report(ed)                 12
Checked                       5
Call(s/ed)                   10
Carried                       13
Order                            5
Declared                       0
Issue(ed)                      3
Bid                                 0
Ordinance                     2
Purchase(s/ed)            0

Voting Record Terms

Ayes                        13
Nays                        13
Abstain                     4
Vote                          0

Chronology Related Terms

January                 0
February               0
March                    0
April                       1
May                        0
June                       0
July                        1
August                 13
September            8
October                 0
November             0
December              0
2012                     22
2013                       1

* Was absent at the September 20, 2012 meeting

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