The Turfgrass Thesaurus
What is the Turfgrass Thesaurus?
The Turfgrass Thesaurus is a database of thousands of words, (also called keywords) or an "index of terms" that all relate to turfgrass, and is a hierarchical inventory of keyword descriptors related to turf science. They are connected to one another either by a broader (BT), a narrower (NT), or a related term (RT). TIC employees read through items with TGIF database records and choose keywords that reflect the material's main points. They then add the keywords to the TGIF records to help users find the materials they are looking for.
What Thesaurus Do Descriptors Do and Why are They Useful?
The Turfgrass Thesaurus details the interrelationships between terms, and attempts to bridge taxonomic, regional, historical, international, and common usage/scientific usage variations in words.
Adding keywords to TGIF records helps the users in multiple ways. First, keywords can remove cultural barriers between countries by using one word to describe multiple ideas. For example, "greenkeepers" is the job title used in the United Kingdom to describe a person in charge of a golf course's maintenance. In the United States, a "golf course superintendent" is responsible for the same tasks; the jobs only vary in their name. When a TGIF user searches for "greenkeepers," they will receive results that contain both "greenkeepers" and "golf course superintendents." Keywords can be useful when dealing with common usage and scientific usage variations. For example, is it Poa annua, or annual bluegrass, or annual meadow-grass, or low speargrass, etc? In this way, assigning keywords bridges barriers and provides a greater number of results.
Bridging time barriers is a second way that keywords help improve TGIF database searches. Agrostis palustris is a type of turfgrass that used to be known as Agrostis stolonifera. If a user searches for the current taxonomic name of the grass, they will also receive results from records containing the old version. Assigning keywords to TGIF records allows the users to find information on a topic that has been modified over the years, making a connection between old material and new.
The third way in which keywords aid in searching is by identifying concepts that may not be explicitly stated in an item and including a keyword for that concept in the record. For example, an item may detail a college student's unpaid summer experience at a facility maintaining turfgrass. In this case, "internships" may be added to the item's TGIF record in order to represent a concept that is discussed, but never stated.
Understanding and using indexed terms can speed and improve your searching experience, particularly within the "Power Search" interface in TGIF. It may be worth your time to learn more about the Turfgrass Thesaurus.