The retrieval power added by subject indexing to bibliographic databases

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Earlier studies have found that topic queries would lose, on average, about a quarter of hits if bibliographic databases did not incorporate the subject indexing based on controlled vocabularies and typically carried out by information professionals. Topic queries were run on three more databases, namely ERIC, PsycINFO and Socindex, to investigate whether this loss level might be generalizable. Results indicate that the amount of “retrieval power” lost varies across databases, probably due to a range of factors. In two of the three databases studied here, over a third of hits were lost on average, whereas in the other case about a sixth were lost. These results point, if anything, to an even stronger case for retaining the assigned indexing included in these databases, as well as to the need for further research into the value of professional indexing across contemporary search environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities for Knowledge Organization in the Digital Age
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Fifteenth International ISKO Conference 9-11 July 2018 Porto, Portugal
EditorsFernanda Ribeiro, Maria Elisa Cerveira
Place of PublicationGermany
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783956504211
ISBN (Print)9783956504204
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event15th International ISKO Conference - Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 09 Jul 201811 Jul 2018 (Conference website) (Conference program)

Publication series

NameAdvances in Knowledge Organization


Conference15th International ISKO Conference
Abbreviated titleChallenges and opportunities for Knowledge Organization in the digital age
Internet address


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