Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors (13th ed) ed. by James E. Houston, Oryx P.
"How does UWO plan to accommodate increases in student applications?"
First, its scope seems a little narrow: although there might be a number of relevant articles at a particular time, such as during planning for the "double cohort" in 2003, there may be many issues of Western News in which no relevant articles appear.
It is also not very clear: more guidance than a single short sentence is usually desirable for indexers.
Finally, it lacks unity. It does not specify a single concept category: what kind of word or phrase is expected as an answer? Nor does it specify a role in relation to the item indexed. in fact, it does not even refer to the item indexed. It seems more like a reference question that the student thinks might be answered by certain articles.
The following question is somewhat better, but still presents difficulties:
"What is the process associated with the article?"It does identify a concept category ("process") and does refer to the item indexed ("the article"). On the other hand, it is still very short, and the expression "associated with" is vague and calls for further explanation.
The following brief facet question is well formed:
"What University of Western Ontario faculties or departments are named in the article?"It does result in a very shallow hierarchy, however, with only two levels. It could be improved by including more specific levels, such as programs and chairs, in addition to faculties and departments.
General observations, such as the following, are not needed:
A thesaurus is a list of terms and concepts comprising the specialized vocabulary of [a] particular field, showing synonymous, hierarchical, and other relationships of meaning...
Your discussion should also not repeat information that belongs in your acknowledgement of sources; for example,
I collected the terms for my thesaurus from two UWO web pages: "Western Facts 1999" and "Western Academic Calendar 2000".
Here is an example of the kind of material that should be included in the discussion:
Another problem was the desire to include inverted terms. In the beginning, several of the terms appeared in inverted format. I found that rather than attempt to reform the terms, often the best solution was to find an entirely different term to describe the concept. For example, "Band Concerts - Jazz" was a term that appeared in an early version of the thesaurus. Instead of inverting the words and constructing a 3-word term, I changed the term to "Jazz performances". This term is better...
"Research into which branch of knowledge, in the Natural or Physical Sciences, theoretical or applied, is represented in the article?"But problems are evident in the hierarchical display:
MEDICINEThe higher terms in the hierarchy fit the category specified by the question; but, mixed in among the lower terms, we find diseases ("DISEASES", "CANCER", "OSTEOPOROSIS"), parts of the body ("HEART", "BREAST") and an adjective ("CLINICAL"). Mixing categories in this way also frequently leads to illegitimate hierarchical links; for example, the heart is not a part or kind of cardiology and "HEART" should therefore not be entered as a narrower term under "CARDIOLOGY".
Coverage should be reasonably balanced. For example, in assessing the following hierarchy, you need to ask yourself whether basketball, hockey, and tae kwon do will turn up sufficiently often when compared to other intramural sports that they warrant their own terms while the other sports do not:
SPORTSIncidentally, you may also notice here the problem that "TAE KWON DO CLUB" does not belong to the same category as the other terms and is therefore not appropriate, though "INTRAMURAL TAE KWON DO" might be.
NT INTRAMURAL SPORTS
NT INTRAMURAL BASKETBALL
TAE KWON DO CLUB
Make terms equivalent where appropriate. For instance, in the following hierarchical display, the terms "CHAIR", "CHAIRMAN", and "CHAIRWOMAN" should all have been nonpreferred terms for "CHAIRPERSON":
Avoid using adjectives as terms. For example, in the following display, it would have been better to say "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT", "MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT", "PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT":
Check your spelling. Avoid obvious errors such as "TENNINS" (for "TENNIS"), "BICICLING" (for "BICYCLING"), "STATSITICAL AND ACTUARIAL STUDIES" (for "STATISTICAL AND ACTUARIAL STUDIES").
Even when the terms all fit a well-worded facet question, you should make sure that all the hierarchical relations are correct. Take the following example, where the facet question has to do with positions to which people can be appointed or elected:
DEANAlthough it may be argued that an acting dean is a kind of dean, assistant deans and associate deans are not deans; so, the terms "ASSISTANT DEAN" and "ASSOCIATE DEAN" do not belong under "DEAN".
NT ACTING DEAN
The following is an example of a badly constructed scope note:
GRANTSNot only does it contain two spelling errors ("GRAND" for "GRANT" and "AND" for "AN"), but it also gives a definition in the infinitive form, which is not suitable for noun phrases.
SN TO GRAND A SUM OF MONEY TO AND INDIVIDUAL, ORGANIZATION OR
The following scope note is bad for a different reason:
ATHLETIC AWARDSIt mixes the two categories "process" and "item". The term should belong to a single category, in this case "process", as identified in the original facet question.
SN Use for both a process and an item.
This article discusses the climatological research into long-term weather and climate changes, using ecological methodologies.
- Earth Sciences
Another way is by providing a table that compares your words with the thesaurus terms; for example,
Actual Words Thesaurus Terms
UWO ombudsperson [ombudsperson] UWO President [president] Acting Dean of Engineering Science [dean] Deans' ... [dean]
Do not synthesize terms unless you have included explicit instructions for doing so in your thesaurus. In the following example, the student has synthesized a term out of the three thesaurus terms "ATHLETIC EVENTS", "BANQUETS", and "AWARDS", even though no instructions for synthesis have been provided:
ATHLETIC EVENTS - BANQUETS - AWARDSWe also realize that this synthesis is quite inappropriate when we look at the hierarchical display and see that "AWARDS" and "BANQUETS" are identified as narrower terms to "ATHLETIC EVENTS" and that there is actually a single term "AWARDS BANQUETS" that fits the desired meaning:
NT AWARDS BANQUETS