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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.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A