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ISO 2788

2nd Edition, November 15, 1986

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Documentation - Guidelines for the Establishment and Development of Monolingual Thesauri

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Superseded By: ISO 25964-1

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ENGLISH * W/D S/S BY ISO 25964-1 & ISO 25964-2
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Description / Abstract:

Scope and field of application

The recommendations set out in this International Standard are intended to ensure consistent practice within a single indexing agency, or between different agencies (for example members of a network). They should not be regarded, however, as mandatory instructions. Optional procedures are described in many cases, for example for the display of interterm relationships, without indicating one of these approaches as the preferred technique. The choice of procedure will vary from one indexing agency to another, depending on management decisions that fall outside the scope of this International Standard. As far as possible the techniques described in this International Standard are based upon general principles which apply to any subject field. It is recognized, however, that an indexer working within a limited subject field may sometimes need to depart from these general recommendations, and this is noted where appropriate.

As far as possible the techniques described in this International Standard are not limited to a particular method of indexing, whether post-coordinate or pre-coordinate. This International Standard is, however, subject to the following restrictions:

a) it deals with the display and organization of terms that form a controlled subset of natural language. It does not suggest procedures for organizing and displaying mathematical and chemical formulae;

b) it is generally based on the concept of “preferred terms” (see 3.5);

c) its application is limited to agencies in which human indexers are used to analyse documents and express their subjects in the terms of a controlled indexing language. It is not applicable to these agencies which apply entirely automatic indexing techniques, where terms occurring in texts are organized into sets according to criteria which can be established by a computer, for example their frequency of occurrence and/or adjacency in the text. It is considered, however, that a well-constructed monolingual thesaurus can serve as a useful aid when searching such a free-text system;

d) it deals mainly with procedures for indexing collections of documents listed in catalogues or bibliographies. It is not concerned with the preparation of “back-of-the-book” indexes, although many of its recommended procedures may be useful for that purpose.

The recommendations contained in this International Standard relate to monolingual thesauri, without reference to the special requirements of multilingual thesauri, i.e. those thesauri in which conceptual equivalences are expressed in terms selected from more than one natural language. The construction and maintenance of a multilingual thesaurus is dealt with separately in ISO 5964. Since the principles on which this International Standard is based can be regarded as both language-independent and culture-independent, they have also been accepted as the basis for the multilingual standard. Consequently, general principles and procedures which apply equally to both kinds of thesauri are fully described only in this International Standard, i.e. they are not repeated in ISO 5964.
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