The UNESCO Thesaurus

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The UNESCO Thesaurus. Meeting for Managers of UNESCO Documentation Networks Meron Ewketu UNESCO Library June 8 2005. Definition and function of a thesaurus. What is it? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of The UNESCO Thesaurus

  • The UNESCO Thesaurus

    Meeting for Managers of UNESCO Documentation Networks

    Meron EwketuUNESCO Library

    June 8 2005

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Definition and function of a thesaurusWhat is it?A hierarchically structured and controlled list of terms used for indexing and retrieving information in UNESCOS fields of competence. The UNESCO Thesaurus is used by the UNESCO library to catalog its holdings and in collective cataloging projects with field offices, by outside organizations such as the UK Records Office, and in several integrated library management systems.

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Definition and function of a thesaurus (2)Why do we need it?Language is rich and varied and in constant evolutionSo many terms to denote the same conceptdrugs vs. medicines, indigenous populations vs. natives, Gypsies vs. Roma, Myanmar vs. BurmaNeed to use a controlled vocabulary in order to avoid loss of information arising from the ambiguity of natural language: The UNESCO Thesaurus

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • CharacteristicsMultidisciplinary:It covers the major fields of knowledge that constitute the scope of UNESCO. It also includes the names of countries and groupings of countries.It contains 7,000 terms in English, 8,600 terms in French and 6,800 in Spanish

    Multilingual:Available in English, French and Spanishand very soon in Russian

    Structured according to the ISO standards 2788 and 5964

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Historical backgroundThe 1st edition of the UNESCO thesaurus was released in 1977 The 2nd updated, revised and restructured edition was released in 1995 The online version on web Isis was released in 2000 in English, followed by the French and Spanish version in 2003 and 2004 respectively

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Thesaurus structureTermsTerm relationshipsEquivalence relationship (USE/UF)Hierarchical relationship (BT/NT)Associative relationship (RT/RT)

    And Scope notes (SN)Some descriptors are accompanied by a SN to explain their meaning or delimit their intended use

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Equivalence relationships (synonyms/ near-synonyms): Use / Used for (UF)

    Non preferred terms serve as entry points, connecting the terms that users have in mind, e.g. Green tourism with the preferred term, or descriptor applied by the indexer, i.e. Ecotourism

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Hierarchical relationships: Broader term (BT) / Narrower term (NT)

    Helps users to better define, expand or focus their search by selecting more specific or generic descriptors

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Associative relationships (non-hierarchical): Related terms (RT)

    Invites the user to also consider other terms which are closely related to what he is looking for. Users interested in the keyword rights of the child might also be interested in child labour, etc.

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Scope notes (SN)

    The SN specifies what the descriptor covers and excludes other possible meanings

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • The main purpose of the thesaurus isHelping indexers choose the appropriate keywords when describing subject content of documentsHelping users identify the most appropriate keywords with which to search and retrieve pertinent information from the online catalogue

    Thus allowing indexers and users to "speak the same language" and bridging the gap between documents and users.

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Indexing

    The indexer will extract the concepts contained in the document and translate these into descriptors from the UNESCO thesaurusThe concept of scientific diasporas can thus be rendered with the descriptors brain drain and scientists

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Searching the online catalogue Unesbib/unesdoc

    Then the searcher refering to the same thesaurus selects appropriate keywords and formulates his query in the online catalogue

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Advantages of using the thesaurusConsistency in indexingDifferent information providers, or indexers use the same terms to describe the same conceptCross language information retrieval in searching Allows users to input query in one language, language in which one is conversant, and retrieve documents written in another languageRegularly updated Follows closely the evolution of the terminology in international development organizations and in particular, in UNESCOs field of competence

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Thesaurus: further developmentsTranslation of the thesaurus into Russian (in progress) New search possibility: searching the UNESCO online catalogue via the thesaurus (in progress) Integration of the thesaurus in the UNESCO web content management system (Symplify)

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Access to the UNESCO ThesaurusOfflinePrint edition: UNESCO Thesaurus, 1995 (now out of print)CD-ROM: UNESCO Thesaurus, 2004 (published every year)

    Onlinehttp://databases.unesco.org/thesaurus/

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

  • Questions? Comments? Suggestions

    Meron Ewketum.ewketu@unesco.org

    Patrick HubyTechnical contactp.huby@unesco.org

    Clearing House Workshop, 8-10 June 2005

    Document authors, indexers, and users describe the same concepts using different terms. The thesaurus helps them to select the single prefered term used to denote that concept

    Terms are linked together with 3 types of relationships. The structured relationships allow users to select descriptors easily. SN s ensure consistency and avoid ambiguity

    A query using any one of the 4 terms will get the same number of resultUsers and indexers can select the appropriate term according to their needs, at a broader or narrower level of specificity