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What is a thesaurus and why should I use one? Data Standards Unit English Heritage.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a thesaurus and why should I use one? Data Standards Unit English Heritage."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a thesaurus and why should I use one? Data Standards Unit English Heritage

2 What is a Thesaurus anyway? A structured wordlist used to standardise terminology Does more than a standard wordlist - helps with indexing and acts as a guide to a subject area

3 Do I really need to bother using a Thesaurus? Yes - otherwise chaos will ensue! –Enables much better searching to find what you really want –Provides a consensus so that everyone uses the same terms –Gives definitions of terms (called scope notes)

4 I’m convinced. Where can I find a suitable thesaurus? The NMR has been developing thesauri for the heritage community for 15 years You can access them through your web browser You can also find online help and contact details there

5 What does the Thesaurus cover? There are several thesauri maintained by the NMR, but the two used by the OASIS forms are: –Thesaurus of Monument Types –mda Archaeological Objects Thesaurus

6 How do I use the Thesaurus? There are several search options for finding the term you want You can view the thesaurus by letter or by class more information is available on the website by using the Help facility

7 Example You have recently completed an excavation on an Iron Age hillfort You need to find out whether HILLFORT is a valid term Click on the link for the Thesaurus of Monument Types

8 You could try searching for HILLFORT under H - this will then show you all the terms beginning with H

9 Scroll down this list of all terms beginning with H

10 Select HILLFORT from the list

11 The Thesaurus shows you all the terms which are related to HILLFORT

12 You should always try to be as specific as possible when you index a term. So, if you know the more exact type of hillfort you are dealing with, you can select it

13 You can now copy this term into your record

14 If you aren’t sure of the term you need, you can use the class names. You might have the feeling your site is a defensive structure, so select DEFENCE

15 This shows you a list of all the terms in the DEFENCE class, in alphabetical order, so you can browse through them

16 You can see that HILLFORT appears here, as a subsidiary (or NARROW TERM) of ENCLOSED SETTLEMENT. Again, if you know the more specific term, you can select it

17 But the term I need to use isn’t there! The thesauri are updated regularly, and we welcome suggestions for new terms (candidate terms) –on the thesauri web page, click on the –fill in the section of the form dedicated to candidate terms –Don’t forget to add some supporting evidence

18 What if I need more help? Contact the Data Standards Unit: English Heritage National Monuments Record Centre Kemble Drive SWINDON SN2 2GZ 01793 414883

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