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Conventions on Concept Formation

Conventions on Subject Descriptors

Selection of subject descriptors

First of all, a particular concept to be included in the STW is selected according to professional relevance and the frequency of use in economics literature. Another deciding factor is the possibility to represent a concept by combining the constituent terms (postcoordination) without remarkable loss of understanding.


In most cases, the selection of ambiguous terms for preferred terms has been avoided by choosing a more precise term. Therefore, qualifiers have been added only rarely.

Postcoordination of terms

STW contains single words and short phrases. Especially in parts W and P single words appear frequently. For database retrieval, they have to be combined with other terms (postcoordination) when searching compound expressions.

Noun form and compound terms

Subject descriptors appear as nouns or noun phrases (compound terms) in natural word order (e.g.adjective-noun). The only exceptions are language and geographic adjectives.

Singular - plural

Generally, the singular form is used. The plural is used for plural nouns (e.g. terms of trade) and in case singular and plural forms denote different concepts. The plural form is also used for groups of people (e.g. employees) and job titles (e.g. physicians).

Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms (e.g. NAIRU = Non accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) have been used as thesaurus terms depending on their familiarity and unambiguity. In case an abbreviation or acronym has been chosen as preferred term, the full form is included as non-descriptor. When the short form is ambiguous, the full form is added to the term with parentheses.

Conventions on Geographic Names

Selection of geographic names

From the large number of existing geographic place names only the names of continents, parts of continents, countries, and important political and economic-related country groups have been included. For Germany, Austria, and Switzerland the names of the Bundeslšnder or Kantone respectively have additionally been included.


Qualifiers (with round parentheses) have only been used to mark the difference between homographic geographical expressions (e.g. "China (People's Republic of)"; "China (Republic of)"), or to mark the difference between a geographic term and a subject keyword.

Outdated geographical units

In case a sufficient amount of new literature is to be expected in the future, outdated geographical units are kept as descriptors in the thesaurus (e.g. "Soviet Union").

International organizations

Country groups concerning the membership of international organizations have been selected according to professional relevance. They are presented in the subject category "G.06 Political and Economic Regions" of STW.

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Zuletzt geändert am 19.11.2010 11:30 Uhr