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List P - Major terms

List P  Major terms - alphabetical list

General notes
These thesaurus lists, lists A-R, are used by GeoRef indexers for selecting index terms and by searchers for additional information not necessarily found in individual term records in the body of the Thesaurus. In most cases, an hierarchical list is given. In some cases, an alphabetical or other list is provided.
Notes under Searching attempt to guide the searcher in the use of the list. Searchers might also read the notes on Indexing for further clues but should be aware that these notes reflect current practice which in some cases differs from past practice. Further notes on specific terms are in the body of the Thesaurus and additional notes on searching are in the GeoRef Thesaurus, 11th edition Introduction section on searching beginning on page x.

Under Indexing the current indexing practice is given. These notes should be read along with the instructions under the individual terms in the body of the Thesaurus.

Major terms
Major terms represent important concepts within the database. Many have been consistently used throughout the GeoRef file. The Major Terms in List P are used to provide a structure that helps maintain consistency of indexing and searching. Careful use of Major Terms in constructing a search can help improve retrieval. In general, beginning with the first year indicated in the date column, a Major Term should appear in every reference where that Major Term is a primary concept within the publication. In a few cases, a term may no longer be considered a Major Term. In these cases, an end date is given. 

Some of the Major Terms belong to hierarchical lists and, where that is the case, it is indicated in this alphabetical list of major terms, e.g. Asia is in Geographic terms hierarchical list.

Major indexing terms are not searchable in a dedicated Major Term field within GeoRef. They are included as part of the descriptor or keyword field depending on the database platform being used.

Where a Major Term has become obsolete or superseded, an effort has been made to convert the term to its modern form to enable the searcher to use a single search term. The previous forms of the terms (often indicated by a Used For relationship) exist only in the original print bibliographies e.g., where American Samoa was used in the original citations of the Bibliography and Index of North American Geology, it has been converted to Samoa in GeoRef records. In the cases of the former USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, supplemental modern geographic terms have, where possible, been introduced into older GeoRef records to enhance retrieval and to limit the need to search multiple forms.

For an historic discussion of the Major Terms as entry points in the paper subject indexes of the four major bibliographic subfiles of GeoRef, see the GeoRef Thesaurus, 7th edition, 1994, and earlier editions.

Use at least one Major Term relevant to each subject category.
See List A for further information. For indexing of Major Terms that are on the Geographic Term list, see List O.

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