Term Analysis – Improving the Quality of Learning and Application Documents in Engineering Design

S. Weiss, J. Jänsch, H. Birkhofer


Conceptual homogeneity is one determinant of the quality of text documents. A concept remains the same if the words used (termini) change [1, 2]. In other words, termini can vary while the concept retains the same meaning. Human beings are able to handle concepts and termini because of their semantic network, which is able to connect termini to the actual context and thus identify the adequate meaning of the termini. Problems could arise when humans have to learn new content and correspondingly new concepts. Since the content is basically imparted by text via particular termini, it is a challenge to establish the right concept from the text with the termini. A term might be known, but have a different meaning [3, 4]. Therefore, it is very important to build up the correct understanding of concepts within a text. This is only possible when concepts are explained by the right termini, within an adequate context, and above all, homogeneously. So, when setting up or using text documents for teaching or application, it is essential to provide concept homogeneity.Understandably, the quality of documents is, ceteris paribus, reciprocally proportional to variations of termini. Therefore, an analysis of variations of termini could form a basis for specific improvement of conceptual homogeneity.Consequently, an exposition of variations of termini as control and improvement parameters is carried out in this investigation. This paper describes the functionality and the profit of a tool called TermAnalysis.It also outlines the margins, typeface and other vital specifications necessary for authors preparing camera-ready papers for submission to the 5th International Conference on Advanced Engineering Design. The aim of this paper is to ensure that all readers are clear as to the uniformity required by the organizing committee and to ensure that readers’ papers will be accepted as camera-ready for the conference.TermAnalysis is a software tool developed within the pinngate project [5] by the authors of the paper at the department of product development and machine elements at Darmstadt (pmd) University of Technology. This tool is able to analyze arbitrarily and electronically represented text documents concerning the variation of termini. The similarity of termini is identified by using the Levensthein distance [6]. Identified variations are clustered and presented to the user of the tool. The number of variations provides the basis for identifying potentials of improvement with regard to conceptual homogeneity.The use of TermAnalysis leads to the discovery of variations of termini and so generates awareness of this problem. Homogenization improves the document quality and reduces the uncontrolled growth of the concepts. This has a positive effect for the reader/learner and his/her comprehension of content [7]. By analyzing documents by various authors, a surprisingly high number of variations per document have been revealed. The investigations have indentified three main scenarios which are fully described in this paper. 


learning documents; product development knowledge; concepts

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague