Understand your assignmentFind Background InformationIdentify KeywordsRefine topicControlled Vocabularly
Search StrategyFind BooksLocate and access BooksFind ArticlesFind WebsitesFind other sources (grey literature and conference proceedings)Find full-text articlesFind different media, formats and social media
Evaluate SourcesPrimary vs. Secondary SourcesTypes of Periodicals
PlagiarismTurnitinReferencingCopyrightReference management tools
Referencing elementsHarvard (Stellenbosch) examples A-ZAPAOther Referencing StylesUse responsibly: Why cite and reference?
This is the "Controlled Vocabularly" page of the "Find, access and use information effectively: a step-by-step guide" guide.
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Find, access and use information effectively: a step-by-step guide  

Find, access and use information effectively: a step-by-step guide
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2017 URL: http://libguides.sun.ac.za/StepbyStep Print Guide RSS Updates

Controlled Vocabularly Print Page

What is Controlled vocabularly

Controlled vocabulary is a standardized, pre-defined set of terms used by a database to describe and categorize articles or sources of information based on content. Controlled vocabulary can also be referred to as Subjects, Subject Headings, Subject Terms, Descriptors, Thesaurus, or Index terms. The table on this page outlines the difference between using 'Controlled Vocabulary' and 'Keywords'.

Each database handles controlled vocabulary differently including the terminology.The following video explains the meaning and functionality of controlled vocabulary.


Controled Vocabularly.wmv


Permission to use content

The content of the section on controlled vocabularly were copied, with permission, of Marjorie Leta of the Mesa Community College


Controlled Vocabularly versus Keywords

Controlled Vocabularly Keywords
Pre-defined, higher order terminology Natural (conversational language)
Only searches the subject or descriptor field in a database record

Searches all fields in a database record including title, abstract, text, etc.

Results usually relevant to your topic Results may or may not be relevant to your topic
Narrows your search providing fewer results Broadens your search providing more results
Less flexible - searches only available, pre-defined subject headings

Flexible - searches newer or distinctive terms and
acronyms with no defined subject heading 

Skin Neoplasms

Skin Cancer
High Blood Pressure


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