CABI’s controlled vocabulary and CABI Thesaurus

CABI’s controlled vocabulary covers pure and applied life sciences, technology and social sciences. The CABI Thesaurus enables term look up and browsing of CABI's controlled vocabulary.

When you search using CABI’s index terms you are focusing the search to the most relevant papers related to your topic specifically indexed with that term by CABI’s subject experts, not simply papers that happen to mention words in the abstract or title.

Descriptor – topic based terms, used to describe what an article or publication is about, e.g. disease prevention, epidemiology. These terms form part of CABI’s controlled vocabulary.

Organism Descriptor - plant and animal names and scientific names part of the organism's taxonomy.

Identifier – new concepts or organisms that are not already in CABI’s controlled vocabulary, terminology that is still developing. Alternatively, identifiers can also include older terms or concepts which may have dropped out of current use and been replaced by more up to date descriptors.

Geographic location - Location where the research took place, not necessarily where it is published.

Broad term - Terms which exist above a search term in the taxonomic or geographic hierarchy in the CAB Thesaurus, e.g. primates, viruses, Southern Europe. Searching with Broader Terms will automatically find all relevant narrower terms immediately below that term. This can be especially useful when searching for information across geographic locations. For example if you search for a region such as Southern Europe as the broad term this finds records with geographic locations of all of the individual countries located in this region.

Using our controlled vocabulary when searching: All controlled vocabulary information applied to database records is automatically included in free text searching available from the Home page, or the Advanced Search “All fields” search, to ensure maximum retrievability of appropriate results.

To search only across controlled vocabulary terms use the Advanced Search “Indexing Term” field option, or from the general Home page search using the field designator ‘indexingterm’ followed by a colon, e.g. indexingterm: helminths .

When searching for index terms which consist of phrases enclose the phrase in quotation marks e.g. indexingterm: “disease prevention” to ensure that the entire term is parsed correctly, otherwise the search looks for indexingterm: disease and the term prevention separately and may give incorrect information.

CABI is working on a new Thesaurus Tool which will be integrated with the CABI Digital Library which will enable term look up and addition of terms to search, anticipated for mid-2024.

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