Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #152
Verplank's Glossary and Thesaurus of Some Behavioral Terms: Bringing it to the Public via the Internet
Sunday, May 29, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Astoria (3rd floor)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Roger D. Ray (Rollins College)
Discussant: Jessica M. Ray ((AI)2, Inc.)
Abstract: William S. Verplank spent most of his professional lifetime working on his Glossary and Thesaurus of Behavioral Terms. This symposium offers an historical retrospective appreciation of this work by those who worked closely with Verplank off and on over several years. The symposium also reports and demonstrates progress on an internet publication of this significant work. Using a server-side database solution, the thesaurus volumes and the glossary terms are realized as fully integrated and searchable web presentations without using individually-coded HTML markups. In addition, custom editor software is introduced for author-interaction with this database, thus allowing new contributions to be made and with authorship clearly identified for each new term or thesaurus header.
A Retrospective on the History of Verplank's Glossary and Thesaurus
BRADY J. PHELPS (South Dakota State University), A. Charles Catania (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: William S. Verplank spent most of his professional lifetime working on his Glossary and Thesaurus of Behavioral Terms. Phelps worked with Verplank on this project from 1994-1998. Catania serves today as the Chairman of the Trustees who oversee the continuation of Verplank's work, with rights being vested in the Archives of the History of American Psychology at U Akron. Here is how Bill described himself and his life’s work: “The history of psychology is largely constituted of a succession of fads overlying the continuity given by a few technological methods which have been progressively misapplied with little critical concern for their social, political, or scientific consequences. Can any person, working over a period of fifty years, make a difference?"Verplank hoped his work would lead eventually to a re-evaluation of behavior analysis, behaviorism(s) and psychology as a whole. He cared deeply about people and positions across various spectrums of thought. Hopefully, Bill’s work can be rediscovered via internet technologies.
Bringing Verplank's Glossary and Thesaurus to the Internet: Intrinsic Issues and Extrinsic Solutions
ROGER D. RAY (Rollins College)
Abstract: Verplank's Glossary of Some Behavioral Terms contains over 3,500 terms that are arranged into 25 different Thesaurus volumes. With each term having the potential for appearing multiple times in a single Thesaurus volume, as well as in multiple Thesaurus volumes, several interesting conceptual issues were raised in publishing a true hyper-linked listing without using any HTML markups. To add complexity, Verplank often used nested cross-references to headers that organized many groupings of terms as if that reference were, itself, a term. Further, Verplank relied upon Thesaurus "headers" and "subheaders" to organize term groupings into synonyms/antonyms, and occasionally even included sub-subheaders. This inconsistent use of organizing terms led to many issues that had to be resolved for database organization and internet publication. I was a former student and life-long friend of Verplank's and my paper illustrates by example many of these problems and the solutions I imposed through my own (identified) additions to the corpus.
Mechanics of an Internet and Database Solution for Verplank's Glossary and Thesaurus
TARIEL GOGOBERIDZE ((AI)2, Inc.), Roger D. Ray (Rollins College)
Abstract: Details of both the server-side database structure and the public web-page access solutions that bring Verplank's Glossary and Thesaurus to the internet will be demonstrated. In addition, authoring tools will be demonstrated that allow for new record creation, old record edits, and new Thesaurus "mappings" to be created, each with an accompanying identification of the contributing author. This editor software is a customized internet and database aware application that allows Verplank's dream of continuing expansion by other professional contributors to be realized while also limiting access to only those deemed qualified by the oversight trustees.



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