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Language peer sets for SYNTOL:
Designed 1960
1960s languages
Second generation
Early Cold War
Genus Description languages
Specialised Languages
Description languages
Document management
Description languages/1960
Document management/1960
Description languages/France
Document management/France
Specialised Languages
Specialised Languages/1960
Specialised Languages/fr


French IR language 

alternate simple view
Country: France
Designed 1960
Published: 1962
Genus: Description languages
Sammet category: Specialised Languages

for SYNTagmatic Organization Language

Semiotics-inspired language for the organization and retrieval of complex documents

Jean-Claude Gardin CNRS 1960

Gardin was an archaeologist at the Archeological Documentation Centre at CNRS and developed SYNTOL from the need to catalogue the Middle East bronzes collection. In 1960 he got funding support from Euratom to turn it into a generalised language for automated indexing.

Gardin based it on Saussure?s semiotics and distinguished between the semantic (paradigmatic) mode and the syntactic (syntagmatic, hence the name) mode of expression. It is a metalanguage for describing the relation between terms, rather than enumerating the terms themselves. ?It consists of a codified linguistic framework being used to represent the data, and of a whole of logical operations making it possible to store descriptions of documents and to find them.? (PBL 2003)

?SYNTOL specifies moreover two distinct groups of facets: Source and Sets of themes. In Source, the headings refer to physical attributes as the form, the language and the date; the Thematic facet includes the Beings (people or groups), the Topic (category of phenomena such as the relationship or the religion), Time (evokes events), Space (place where appear the people or the events) and the Mode (the general manner to tackle the subject: history, critical, etc). This terminology emphasizes the intention which inspired the analysis, as in the fundamental categories of Ranganathan, and this system influenced most of later research, in particular for the indexing of the archaeological objects.? (PBL 2003)

Related languages
SYNTOL SMART   Influence

  • Gardin, J. C. and Levy, F. (1962) Gardin, J. C. and Levy, F. "Le SYNTOL (SYNtagmatic Organization Language)" Abstract
          in Popplewell, Cicely M. (1962) Popplewell, Cicely M. (Ed.) Information Processing 62, Proceedings of the 2nd IFIP Congress, Munich, Aug. 1962. North Holland Publ. Co., 1963.
  • Eisner, E. (1963) Eisner, E. review of Gardin 1962 Abstract
          in [ACM] (1963) ACM Computing Reviews 4(01) January-February, 1963
  • Cros, N. C., Gardin, J. C., and Levy, F. (1964) Cros, N. C., Gardin, J. C., and Levy, F. "L'Automatisation des recherches documentaries--Un module general "Le Syntol."" Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1964.
          in [ACM] (1963) ACM Computing Reviews 4(01) January-February, 1963
  • Gardin, J. (1965) Gardin, J. C. Syntol. In Artandi, Susan (Ed.), Systems for the Intellectual Organization of Information, vol. 2. Rutgers U. Press, New Brunswick, N.J., 1965.
          in [ACM] (1963) ACM Computing Reviews 4(01) January-February, 1963
  • Fangmeyer,Hermann and Gerhard Lustig: (1968) Fangmeyer,Hermann and Gerhard Lustig: "The EURATOM automatic indexing project"
          in [ACM] (1963) ACM Computing Reviews 4(01) January-February, 1963
  • Stock (1971) Stock, Karl F. "A listing of some programming languages and their users" in RZ-Informationen. Graz: Rechenzentrum Graz 1971 256 Abstract
          in [ACM] (1963) ACM Computing Reviews 4(01) January-February, 1963
  • (1973) Coates, E.J., 'Some properties of relationships in the structure of indexing languages'
          in (1973) Journal of Documentation, 29, 1973
  • Stock and Stock (1973) Stock, Marylene and Stock, Karl F. "Bibliography of Programming Languages: Books, User Manuals and Articles from PLANKALKUL to PL/I" Verlag Dokumentation, Pullach/Munchen 1973 599 Abstract
          in (1973) Journal of Documentation, 29, 1973
  • Green (1995) Green, R. "Syntagmatic relationships in index languages: A reassessment"
          in (1995) Library Quarterly, 65(4) 1995
  • Christopher Soo-Guan Khoo (1997) Christopher Soo-Guan Khoo "The Use of Relation Matching in Information Retrieval" LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal 7(2) September 1997 Abstract Extract: Introduction
          in (1995) Library Quarterly, 65(4) 1995
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