USGS Thesaurus and Science Topics Catalog
Terms represent concepts, but it is the concepts themselves and their relationships, not the terms, that constitute the thesaurus.
Terms are related to one another in three different ways:
We also support a USE-WITH relationship in which a non-preferred text is associated with two descriptors. An example is "soil pollution" USE "contamination and pollution" WITH "soil resources".
|feature||Alexandria Digital Library Feature Type Thesaurus||PHP|
|place||Common geographic areas||PHP|
|We are experimenting with the following thesauri:|
|taxa||Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)||Web|
Thesaurus interfaces such as Science Topics are not intended to replace traditional search or browse interfaces. In concert with the new "USGS by State" and "About USGS" sites, they supplement existing navigational aids to USGS web information.
|Alan Allwardt||Geology-Pacific Science Center||Earth Science, Library Science|
|Dave Govoni||GIO-SIEO||Earth sciences, Information architecture|
|Peter Schweitzer||Geology||Earth science, software development|
|Lisa Zolly||Biology||Library Science|
|Hylan Beydler||Geography-MCMC||Land characterization|
|Nancy Blair||GIO-Library||Library coordination, cataloging & indexing|
|Linda Broussard||Biology-Library||Life sciences, records management|
|Pamela Callais||GIO-Library||Cataloging & indexing|
|Brian Carpenter||GIO-Library||Library Science|
|Wendy Danchuk||Hydrology||Cartography, publications|
|Jeff Dietterle||GIO-EWeb||Geography, publication|
|Carmelo Ferrigno||GIO-EWeb||Information architecture & design|
|Karen Kaye||Biology||Information architecture|
|Richard Huffine||GIO-SIEO||Library Science|
|Irena Kavalek||GIO-Library||Cataloging & indexing|
|Gary Waggoner||Biology-CBI||Life sciences|
|Gail Wendt||Communications||Hydrology, communication, publications|
|Consultants and outside reviewers|
|Linda Hill||Alexandria Digital Library, UC Santa Barbara|
|Gail Hodge||Information International Associates, Inc.|
|Candy Schwartz||Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, Simmons College|
|Jessica Milstead||The JELEM Company|
|Amy Warner||Lexonomy Information Architecture Consulting|
Specialists recognize two different strategies for building controlled vocabularies: top-down, in which terms and their relationships are defined intuitively prior to their direct application in an indexing situation; and bottom-up, in which terms and relationships are added to the vocabulary in the process of indexing. But the same specialists also recognize that most vocabularies are developed using a combination of these two abstract approaches. We developed the USGS thesaurus using this combined strategy. Beginning by simply listing lots of important terms, we grouped those terms using a card-sorting procedure, and then refined the hierarchy with intuitive processes (that is, by relying on what we know). Subsequent revisions have occurred by group deliberation.
Preliminary development of the thesaurus was conducted using commercial software (MultiTES) by a contractor. Subsequent development and revision has occurred in a web-based database application developed by the group meeting the specific needs of this project.
We examined many similar controlled vocabularies of various types before and during this process. Examples are the GEOREF thesaurus produced by the American Geological Institute, the CERES thesaurus ( http://ceres.ca.gov/thesaurus/) the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), the categorization scheme used in the Marine Realms Information Bank (http://mrib.usgs.gov/), and numerous smaller or more specialized vocabularies such as glossaries of scientific and technical terms presented on USGS web sites.