CABI Blog

Ever known exactly what you want to find, but not quite getting the results you desire? As an organization with over 100 years of scientific research experience behind us, we know your pain. That’s why we created CAB Thesaurus, our digital indexing tool designed to help researchers quickly navigate through millions of subjects to find the exact research they’re looking for, without having to guess which terms they need to use.

In this blog, we explain how CAB Thesaurus works, and how you can use it to speed up your studies.

What is CAB Thesaurus?

Imagine you asked 100 people to search a specific subject. Chances are, everyone would use slightly different terms, and therefore the search would show everyone slightly different results. This is fine if everyone’s searching Google for local pizza places, but can cause frustrations when all 100 of those people are searching a database for very specific research about a particular organism, pest or disease, as not everyone will find the content they’re after.

Search algorithms work a bit like trees. Hitting enter on a search is like dropping onto a branch full of related content – but as we mentioned earlier, if you get the search term slightly out, due to the vast amount of information available you could end up on the wrong branch, or worse, in the wrong tree entirely.

CAB Thesaurus opens up our products’ search function, showing you how it works. This allows you to know which branches you’re dropping onto and more importantly, understand how that branch relates to those around it. We’ve spent the last 40 years adding controlled terms to every single one of our articles, then indexing those terms in hierarchies, so that you can see how your search term relates to other terms in the same subject, and how that subject relates to those around it.

How can I use CAB Thesaurus to speed up my studies?

Say you’re doing a project on a bacterial infection in wheat. By simply searching Wheat on CAB Direct and clicking on an article of interest, you’ll suddenly be able to see exactly how our products are organizing this article against those around it, giving you a wealth of search terms to help you reveal the content you need.

Organism Descriptors offer the scientific terms for very similar organisms to the one you’ve searched for, often in the same genus. This is content on the same branch you landed on by searching Wheat.

Descriptors show you terms from the Thesaurus that are related to the themes in the article you found, introducing you to new related hierarchies. These terms show you branches next to the one you’re currently on – they’re similar subjects, but different enough to have their own area.

Identifiers highlight current search terms people are using in the subject area you’re focused on. Because this section is developing as people search, it catches the latest terminology as it appears in scientific language, and captures older terms that aren’t used in the Thesaurus anymore as they’ve dropped out of fashion. This offers you alternative language to search within the area you’ve already landed.

Broader terms take you up the hierarchy of terms you’re currently on – it shows you how the branch you’re sat on relates to the Thesaurus as a whole. For example, we found this article by searching for Wheat, and the broader terms offers the taxonomic family name for all grasses, Poaceae.

Unlike Google, CAB Thesaurus suddenly shows you what branch of content you’ve landed on, what branches are around you and how you can move around within your subject to find the niche you need. Simply combine related terms in your searches and sit back – it’s time to wave goodbye to guessing at terms, and hello to organized, efficient searches.

Use CAB Thesaurus to speed up your searches today at cabdirect.org

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