Online from: 1966
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||Non-agricultural databases and thesauri: Retrieval of subject headings and non-controlled terms in relation to agriculture|
|Author(s):||Tomaz Bartol, (Department of Agronomy, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)|
|Citation:||Tomaz Bartol, (2012) "Non-agricultural databases and thesauri: Retrieval of subject headings and non-controlled terms in relation to agriculture", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 46 Iss: 2, pp.258 - 276|
|Keywords:||Agriculture, Controlled vocabularies, Databases, Indexing, Subject headings, Thesauri|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00330331211221873 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||This is an extended and updated version of a selected paper from MTSR'11.|
Purpose – The paper aims to assess the utility of non-agriculture-specific information systems, databases, and respective controlled vocabularies (thesauri) in organising and retrieving agricultural information. The purpose is to identify thesaurus-linked tree structures, controlled subject headings/terms (heading words, descriptors), and principal database-dependent characteristics and assess how controlled terms improve retrieval results (recall) in relation to free-text/uncontrolled terms in abstracts and document titles.
Design/methodology/approach – Several different hosts (interfaces, platforms, portals) and databases were used: CSA Illumina (ERIC, LISA), Ebscohost (Academic Search Complete, Medline, Political Science Complete), Ei-Engineering Village (Compendex, Inspec), OVID (PsycINFO), ProQuest (ABI/Inform Global). The search-terms agriculture and agricultural and truncated word-stem agricultur- were employed. Permuted (rotated index) search fields were used to retrieve terms from thesauri. Subject-heading search was assessed in relation to free-text search, based on abstracts and document titles.
Findings – All thesauri contain agriculture-based headings; however, associative, hierarchical and synonymous relationships show important inter-database differences. Using subject headings along with abstracts and titles in search syntax (query) sometimes improves retrieval by up to 60 per cent. Retrieval depends on search fields and database-specifics, such as autostemming (lemmatization), explode function, word-indexing, or phrase-indexing.
Research limitations/implications – Inter-database and host comparison, on consistent principles, can be limited because of some particular host- and database-specifics.
Practical implications – End-users may exploit databases more competently and thus achieve better retrieval results in searching for agriculture-related information.
Originality/value – The function of as many as ten databases in different disciplines in providing information relevant to subject matter that is not a topical focus of databases is assessed.
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