controlled vocabularies and thesauri

I think I used a thesauri once or twice in college….back when we had to do our research in the library with physical materials, not on a computer.  I remember thinking it was quite useful, this book of terms, had it been there all along?  Then computers took off, and databases, and online search capabilities.  I don’t think I’ve consulted one since then, although I believe I’ve encountered them online (when the site responds to my misspelled search with, “did you mean xxxx?”).  Its easy to be unaware of the existence of a controlled vocabulary or thesauri online when the site automatically applies it, making suggestions and correcting or suggesting terms.  I wonder how many researchers purposefully consult such sources?  Or if it doesn’t matter, when online searching seems to apply them whenever a search is performed?  The tutorial on constructing thesauri demonstrated how much detail and thought must go into creating these tools that many are so unaware of!  

Katie B.

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