The Alcohol and Other Drugs Thesaurus

English Abstract: 

"Initial development of the AOD Thesaurus started with collecting terms and term relationships from many sources; search requests received for ETOH and NCADI databases; document titles and index terms; more than 40 special thesauri; and NIAAA's Reports to Congress on Alcohol and Health and other publications. Major sources used for reference and guidance included the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Lexicon of Alcohol and Drug Terms, developed jointly with NIAAA; NLM's Medical Subject HeadingsInternational Classification of Diseases, 9th and 10th Revisions; the DSM–III and draft DSM–IV; the Thesaurus of Psychological Indexing Terms (PsyclNFO); the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors; and the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms (Sociological Abstracts). The multitude of terms collected from these sources were organized into hierarchies, which revealed many synonyms and near-synonyms. A conceptual analysis process known as semantic factoring further clarified the structure and led to a smaller vocabulary of conceptual building blocks. The resulting structure was thoroughly field-tested through a query formulation and indexing test. Analyzing the results from multiple indexers for important terms missed, different indexers using different terms to express the same idea, terms assigned erroneously, and terms needed but missing from the Thesaurus, the developers identified areas requiring clarification, redundancies between areas, missing cross-references, the need for more or better scope notes, and areas where detail could be reduced. Further refinements were made in the second edition based on indexing and searching experience: Descriptors were added, overly specific descriptors were pruned, the structure was improved, and many scope notes and relationships were added. Thesaurus maintenance for this edition started with identifying key, recent sources in the AOD field, including a wide variety of publications such as NIAAA’s Ninth Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health, a number of issues of Alcohol Health & Research World, the Institute of Medicine’s Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders: Frontiers for Preventive Intervention Research, the draft International Classification of Preventive Trials, and of course, the most recent editions of various thesauri: NLM’s Medical Subject Headings, the Thesaurus of Psychological Terms, and the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms. Terms and term relationships from the preceding publications in addition to many other sources, including the entire Identifier (ID) field from the ETOH database, which is used to assign terms or concepts that are not in the AOD Thesaurus or for terms that are not designated ETOH descriptors. An analysis of the terms in this field helped the thesaurus development team identify missing concepts and thesaurus terms that should be designated ETOH descriptors. NIAAA is committed to the maintenance of the AOD Thesaurus as an ongoing process driven by user feedback. Users are strongly encouraged to comment on any aspect of the thesaurus. The thesaurus presents a structured collection of concepts and terms intended to facilitate indexing and retrieval, support research and program planning through conceptual structure and definitions, and improve communication through standardized terminology. The thesaurus provides guidance to the indexers for request-oriented (or user-centered) indexing. It organizes concepts collected from search requests into an easily grasped hierarchical structure that serves as a framework or checklist in analyzing documents. The logical structure of the Thesaurus communicates user interests to the indexer. Its controlled vocabulary expresses each concept unambiguously through one term, called a descriptor, that is used in indexing and can thus be used with confidence in searching. Synonyms lead to descriptors: polydrug use leads to AA2.6 multiple drug use; chemical abuse, drug abuse, and substance abuse all lead to GC2 AOD abuse; nerve cellneurocyte both lead to and XX2.2 neuron. The thesaurus is also very useful for free-text searching (searching based on words in the title or abstract). An exhaustive free-text search must include all terms that might be used to express the searched-for concept. This requires query term expansion: In synonym expansion, expand the query term XX2.2 neuron by adding the synonyms nerve cell and neurocyte; in hierarchic expansion, add narrower terms, such as XX2.2.2.4 dendrite and XX2.2.2.6 axon (with its synonyms, such as nerve fiber and neurite)."

Alternative Title: 
AOD Thesaurus
English Title: 
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Thesaurus
Author: 
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Address: 
31 Center Drive, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, MD, 20892, United States