SIGIA-L Mail Archives: [Sigia-l] What is a "Top Term" in a thesaurus?
[Sigia-l] What is a "Top Term" in a thesaurus?
>On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 15:08:43 +0800, Melvin Kumar <melvink2_at_gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello everyone,
>> I am trying to seek clarification of the meaning of the term "Top
>> Term" in a thesaurus.
In message <d9e383c80502160729c992f12_at_mail.gmail.com> on Wed, 16 Feb
2005, James Melzer <jamesmelzer_at_gmail.com> wrote
>The top term, if I understand what you are looking for, is the very
>first term in a hierarchical scheme like a taxonomy or ontology. It
>scopes the domain of the CV by providing a single concept to which all
>other concepts are children. In the example of the animal kingdom, the
>top term is 'animals' and then it is bifurcated into 'vertibrates' and
>'invertibrates' and is subdivided from there.
More generally, "top term" often means any preferred term that has no
Some thesauri build concepts into a small number of large hierarchies,
as suggested by James. If these are built on true generic relationships
the hierarchies can often be equated with facets, as in the Art and
Architecture Thesaurus, for example. Other thesauri do not link so many
terms at the higher levels, so that there are many "top terms" and a lot
of little hierarchies.
There is a draft glossary of this sort of terminology at
It does not at present contain a definition for "top term" - I'll think
about including it. Any other comments on these definitions are welcome.
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: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 03:48:43 EDT