Term Selection (translation of
concepts into the documentary language)
Topical subjects (tag 650)
B. Corporate and Conference subjects
(tags 610 and 611)
C. Personal name subjects (tag
D. Title subjects (tag 630)
E. Bodies, conferences and
texts not yet in existence (tags 610, 611, 630)
The second stage in the indexing process is the translation of the selected concepts into the documentary
language of the database, which serves as a bridge between the natural language of the document and the
user of the database. The main type of documentary language used in UN libraries' indexing practice is the UNBIS Thesaurus,
supplemented by Name Authority records established during the indexing process.
Thesauri consist of single string
terms, also called descriptors, and provide rigorously defined semantic
relationships among the terms. Term relationships include references
between preferred and non-preferred terms (use/used for references) as
well as hierarchical (broader/narrower term) and associative (related
term) references among valid terms. Scope notes are often included to
provide guidance in the appropriate use of terms.
The UNBIS Thesaurus provides a consolidated list of terms (including topical descriptors and major
geographic names) for describing UN documents and other materials relevant to UN programmes,
activities and interests.
Indexers should be attentive to the development of new topics and terminology in UN documents.
If the terms available in the Thesaurus do not adequately describe the concepts in documents,
then new terms or changes to existing terms may be proposed for consideration by Dag Hammarskjöld Library's
Thesaurus Committee (see also Part A (iii), "When to propose new terms").
If a concept is determined to be a corporate, conference, personal name or title subject, the
indexer selects the appropriate name as it has been established in a Name Authority record, or
creates a new Name Authority record if necessary. Certain terms of an administrative nature may be
coordinated with corporate or conference name subjects instead of, or in addition to, topical subject
terms selected from UNBIS Thesaurus (see Part B for more information about use of corporate and
conference subjects). Indexers should also bear in mind that while the UNBIS Thesaurus contains
names of countries and major geographic regions, many geographic names are not established as
Thesaurus terms but as Geographic Subject Authority records.
While selecting terms to represent the subject content of documents, indexers should also consider adding
Summary/Annotation Notes (tag 520) whenever the specific
subject content is not clear from the title, variant title, or contents notes.
They should also consider selecting Content Codes (tag 089) that may be appropriate for certain
by the Department of Public Information (DPI), Dag Hammarskjöld
Library. Comments as well as suggestions for further
additions/enhancements may be directed to the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.
© United Nations 2005-2009. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 10 June 2009