Report:Engineering Village/Search Interface/The Search Forms/Thesaurus Search
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There are two Engineering Village files that are indexed with controlled vocabulary keywords: INSPEC and Ei Compendex. These two files can be searched with the help of their respective thesauri, which are collections of all the standardized terms that have been applied to these files. The Thesaurus search form can be used to identify standardized keyword terms, as well as to identify related broader and/or narrower terms that could help users target their search strategy. In addition, not all keywords have been used since the inception of these files, nor has there been a retroactive indexing effort within either of these files to ensure that a controlled vocabulary search on a given term will automatically be comprehensive .
There are three ways to keyword search within the Thesaurus tab: “search,” “exact term,’ or “browse.” They have the following functions:
- “Search” will return not only thesaurus entries related to a keyword search, but will also list broader, narrower, and related terms associated with these entries.
- “Exact term” allows users to enter known controlled vocabulary and navigate directly to individual thesaurus entries
- “Browse” will allow users to scan the thesaurus alphabetically, beginning with the entry nearest to the keyword placed in the search box.
Once a thesaurus entry of interest is selected, the system will display any past terms that were used for this category (“past terms,”) as well as information about what terms are used to index related subject matter, consisting of “broader terms,” “related terms,” and “narrower terms.” The user may incorporate any of these suggested terms into the search strategy by selecting their checkboxes; the terms will automatically appear in the search box below.
Users should be aware that each Inspec and Compendex record is indexed to its lowest level of specificity. For example, say a user wishes to perform a search related to “fuel cells.” The searcher decides that even though the desired keyword term is in the thesaurus as “Fuel Cells,” (s)he wants to do an even broader search and encompass all articles tagged with the “broader term” suggested by the thesaurus, “Direct Energy Converters.” However, by performing the search on “Direct Energy Converters,” the search will actually miss any reference that was only tagged with the more specific term of “Fuel Cells.” In other words, the higher (broader) terms in the hierarchy do not automatically encompass the lower.terms. See the Inspec and Compendex articles for more information about these files.
The figure below shows a thesaurus entry with related terms; controlled terms of interest have been selected and appear in the search box below the thesaurus. Other limiters, such as document type, treatment type, and original language, can also be applied to a search from this tab. Note that only the chosen subject file (Inspec or Compendex) will be queried via this tab.
As a final note, searches from the thesaurus tab are saved in the search history, if the user is logged in to a personal account. See the Search History section for more information.
Although developed and implemented separately, the Inspec and Compendex files are alike and actually use some of the same keyword indexing. Rather than force users to search the two thesauri separately via the Thesaurus tab, Engineering Village has also implemented a “browse index” feature that will combine both thesauri, allowing users to identify the percentage of terms that are common across both files. The browse index feature is discussed in more detail in the Search Forms section.