The Inspec Thesaurus is a subject key to the Inspec Database and as such provides a powerful search aid.
The 2012 edition contains 18,755 terms of which 9,722 terms are preferred terms (called Controlled Indexing, Descriptors or Subject Headings on various platforms). 9,033 terms are lead-ins (synonyms) - terms that advise the searcher which controlled term they should use for searching.
Inspec records contain on average three to six Thesaurus Terms that reflect the main concepts described by the title and abstract. This allows the searcher to retrieve all the major concepts dealt with by the author(s) without having to know all its synonyms.
The Thesaurus has a hierarchical structure, and for each Term there are other associated Terms. This enables the searcher to explore efficiently all ‘Inspec subject areas’. This is particularly important for information specialists who often have to search a wide range of very complex topics.
A typical entry for a Thesaurus Term and its associated terms is shown below:
Thesaurus Term: MOSFET
Scope note: Introduced: January 1995
B2560R Insulated gate field effect transistors
More Specific (narrower) Terms: power MOSFET
More General (broader) Terms: MISFET
Related Terms: FinFET
metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors
Searching by Thesaurus Terms field leads to more precise results as only topics that are important are indexed.
Because the various concepts are indexed consistently using Thesaurus Terms, it is not necessary to consider all the synonyms.
Inspec policy is to assign the most specific term appropriate to the subject of the document.
On most platforms (online systems), the Thesaurus Terms are part of the ‘Default search fields’ (also known as the Basic Index). This means that if you do not specify which fields you want to search, the system will search by default the four subject fields - the title, abstract, the Thesaurus Terms and the Uncontrolled Indexing Terms.
The full Inspec Thesaurus is available in XML format, print and PDF.