Glossary search

controlled vocabulary


n. ~ A limited set of terms and phrases used as headings in indexes and as access points in catalogs.


Terms in a controlled vocabulary are selected so that only one term represents a concept, allowing all material relating to that concept to be retrieved using that term even if the term does not appear in the text. The term used for indexing purposes is the preferred term. The vocabulary may also include cross-references from nonpreferred terms to preferred terms.

(Durrance 1993, p. 41) Without a controlled vocabulary, one cannot ensure the retrievability of the records sought and only those records. . . . [It is] the totality of all the identified access points, the preferred terms and the linkages established among preferred and variant terms within a particular [authority] file.