Step 4: Final Term Selection

The final term selection is the last step in the thesaurus construction process. In this step, terms need to be analysed and changed to the proper form. Also, equivalence relationships need to be addressed and finally it needs to be determined what concepts will benefit from having a scope note attached.

Terms must be presented in a proper form in a thesaurus. This means that the grammatical form of the word, whether it is a noun or a verb, and whether it should be plural or singular, needs to be examined. Nouns and noun phrases are the preferable form of indexing terms while adjectives are usually only accepted in noun form (Aitchison et al., 2000). For example, the term rural would not be acceptable but the term rural libraries can be included. Adverbs are always excluded from the thesaurus and verbs are generally preferred as verbal nouns (Aitchison et al., 2000). For instance, in my thesaurus, I changed classifying into classification. However, in some instances I did not feel as though there was an appropriate verbal noun to replace the verb. For example, the terms indexing and ordering did not seem to have a proper noun form and seemed to lose meaning when changed. Indexing would need to be changed to index which seemed to be ambiguous. It could mean the process to index an item but it could also refer to an index. After consulting other thesauri and seeing that generally indexing was left in that form, I felt comfortable enough to leave those terms as they were in order to preserve the concept.

When selecting final terms, plural and singular forms must be taken into account. Generally, count-nouns should be pluralized in the thesaurus while non-count nouns should be singular (Aitchison et al., 2000). For example, I changed library school to library schools because it is a count-noun where as I left the term metadata singular because it is a non-count noun. Abstract concepts are treated a little differently. For example, disciplines like library and information science and history are left in the singular form.

The equivalence relationship needs to be addressed in this step of the thesaurus construction. This relationship sets out the preferred and non-preferred terms. The preferred term will be the one which is used in the thesaurus to represent that concept while the non-preferred term will be used as an entry vocabulary to direct the user to the preferred terms (Aitchison et al., 2000). This is displayed in the thesaurus as USE and UF (use for). The preferred term is the one which is the most commonly used among the user group. Generally, equivalents are synonyms and can come in a variety of forms. One type of synonym is between standard names and slang terms (Aitchison et al., 2000). For example, I decided to keep the term DVD as the preferred term but added the standard name Digital Video Discs as a non-preferred term as an entry point. There are also synonyms which relate the current favoured terminology over the outdated ones (Aitchison et al., 2000). I added disabled people as the preferred term for physically handicapped. Lexical variants can also be used when creating equivalents. An example of this is abbreviations versus the full names (Aitchison et al., 2000). I chose to leave OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogues) as the preferred term because I felt as though people in the area of library and information science were familiar enough with this term. However, I left Library of Congress Classification (LCC) as the preferred term over LCC because I felt as though LCC was a little more generic than OPAC.

When inputting terms into a thesaurus, hyphens are to be avoided unless that would create ambiguity (Aitchison et al., 2000). I removed the hyphen from inter-library loans as well as dropped the space to create the term interlibrary loans. I also removed the hyphen form story-time and evidence-based librarianship.

Finally, scope notes are added to terms to clarify what topics can be covered under a heading, if there are any restrictions placed on a term, and to provide term histories. I used the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) thesaurus, the LISTA thesaurus, and the ASIST thesaurus to find appropriate scope notes. I placed scope notes on all age groups to specify how those terms should be used in indexing. The age group scope notes all came from ERIC because I thought it was the best source for this topic. I also provided scope notes to terms which I thought might be confusing or less well known, for example, bibliometrics and web site design.

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