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1 HELP! Language confusion occurring! Image from

2 THESAURUS  To aid searching, an archival catalogue should ideally be indexed by both name and subject.  There is some debate about this, considering the search capabilities of modern software.  I think indexing is important, for searching in a printed and digital environment.

3 THESAURUS Naming persons, families, place and organisations is relatively easy. There are rules to follow:  National Council on Archives for the UK elaborates upon the international ISAAR(CPF) rules Although each catalogue contains unique entries, the rules make creating new index entries (‘authority files’) relatively straightforward.

4 THESAURUS How are subjects indexed? The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy Archive contains objects as well as paper and digital records, plus it is UK-centric. Objects can be indexed to a broad level using the Getty Thesaurus of Art & Architecture. The international UNESCO thesaurus doesn’t go into enough detail for it to be used in a specialist repository (such as we are). Although the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is the most complete, it is American-centric (world-view of topics, spellings).


6 Whilst UKAT does expand upon the work of UNESCO, there are still no entries to the level of detail required for indexing the archives of this Catholic Order of Women Religious. Below are all the entries currently on the subject index (not very many!) using UKAT:

7 THESAURUS Use of a controlled vocabulary to avoid language confusion For example, entries for Catholic, Religious order and Women Religious would be needed. Women Religious alone would need non- preferred terms: Nun, Sister, Lay Sister, Choir Sister; and narrower terms of Apostolic and Enclosed.

8 THESAURUS Religious communities MT 3.20 Religion UF Congregations, Religious orders BT Religious institutionsReligious institutions NT Religious minoritiesReligious minorities NT Female enclosed communities NT Male enclosed communities NT Female active communities (see ISAAR names index) eg Religious Sisters of Mercy UF RSM, Sisters of Mercy NT Male active communities RT Religious Sisters RT ChurchChurch RT Religious sectsReligious sects My attempt to sort a few of the ‘Agents’ found within the archive using the UNESCO thesaurus: [MT Micro Thesaurus; UF Used For; BT Broader Term; NT Narrower Term; RT Related Term] Religious Sisters [from MT 1.55 Educational population] UF Nun, Women Religious [bypassing atm issue of Sister=active, Nun=enclosed] BT Religious personnel/population [not pastoral roles; not occupation as the whole thesaurus is about RSM at moment] NT1 Pre-Candidate NT1 Candidate NT1 Postulant NT1 Novice NT1 Professed Sister NT2 Choir Sister NT2 Lay Sister RT Pastoral Roles

9 THESAURUS Pre-Candidate SN Initial enquiry stage. BT Religious Sister Candidate UF Aspirant, Pre-Postulant BT Religious Sister RT Pre-Candidate RT Postulant Postulant UF Choir postulant, Black veil, Black novice BT Religious Sister RT Candidate RT Novice Novice UF White novice, White veil BT Religious Sister RT Postulant RT Professed Sister Professed Sister BT Religious Sisters NT Choir Sister NT Lay Sister RT Novice Choir Sister SN Position abolished post- Vatican II in the 1960s. BT Professed Sister RT Lay Sister Lay Sister SN Position abolished post- Vatican II in the 1960s. UF Senior lay sister BT Professed Sister RT Choir Sister

10 THESAURUS UKAT: Religious Communities Religious Practice Roman Catholics




14 My questions are: Has anyone done any work on this already? I have no wish to re-invent the wheel! If no consideration has been given to this previously, is that because it is not deemed of importance or because it is complex and time- consuming? Does work on a Mercy subject thesaurus need taking forward on an international scale? Is anyone with grammatical skills be willing to assist in the creation of a controlled vocabulary, if it is relevant?

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