NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
50 Years of ERIC
50 Years of ERIC
The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is celebrating its 50th Birthday! First opened on May 15th, 1964 ERIC continues the long tradition of ongoing innovation and enhancement.

Learn more about the history of ERIC here. PDF icon

Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ970943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0033-0337
Non-Agricultural Databases and Thesauri: Retrieval of Subject Headings and Non-Controlled Terms in Relation to Agriculture
Bartol, Tomaz
Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems, v46 n2 p258-276 2012
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. (Contains 5 figures and 6 tables.)
Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Tel: +44-1274-777700; Fax: +44-1274-785201; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A