Gary W. Strong and M. Carl Drott, contend in A Thesaurus for End-User Indexing and Retrieval, Information Processing & Management, Vol. 22, No. 6, pp. 487-492, 1986, that:
A low-cost, practical information retrieval system, if it were to be designed, would require a thesaurus, but one in which end-users would be able to browse research topics by means of an organization that is concept-based rather than term-based as is the typical thesaurus.
…. (while elsewhere)
It is our hypothesis that, when the thesaurus can be envisioned by users as a simple, yet meaningful, organization of concepts, the entire information system is much more likely to be useable in an efficient manner by novice users. (emphasis added)
It puzzles me that experts are building a system of concepts for novices to use. Do you suspect experts have different views of the domains in question than novices? And approach their search for information with different assumptions?
Any concept system designed by an expert is a prescriptive information retrieval system. It represents their view of the domain and not that of a novice. Or rather it represents how the expert thinks a novice should navigate the field.
While the expert’s view may be useful for some purposes, such as socializing a novice into a particular view of the domain, it may be more useful for novices to use a novice’s view of the domain. To build that we would need to turn to novices in a domain. Perhaps through the use of adaptive information retrieval, IR that adapts to its user, rather than the other way around.
Adaptive information retrieval systems, I like that, ones that grow to be more like their users and less like their builders with every use.