Access Innovations, Inc. and American Institute of Physics “Unravel” New Thesaurus for Online Scholarly Publications

Allows Automatic Indexing of Peer-Reviewed Articles and
Enhanced Online Publication Search


Albuquerque, NM (July 29th, 2010) – Access Innovations, Inc., a leader in the data management industry, has collaborated with the American Institute of Physics (AIP), a leading publisher of physics content, to convert AIP’s Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS) into a thesaurus for its nearly two million online scholarly articles indexed by PACS. Using the new thesaurus allows scientists to execute faster, more accurate and more efficient information searches.

“We’ve worked diligently to archive articles from our journals and conference proceedings as a valuable and convenient resource for researchers worldwide,” said Mark Cassar, publisher of journals and technical publications at AIP. “Unfortunately, the articles have become increasingly hard to find. The new thesaurus, however, represents a major step forward, as it allows researchers to achieve successful searches in much less time.”

Cassar continued, “We enjoyed working with Access Innovations throughout the process and appreciate the time they dedicated to understanding our organization, the needs of our community, and the very technical nature of our classification system. We also appreciate the time they put in teaching us to build and maintain a standards-compliant thesaurus.”

PACS uses a decimal-based, six-digit alphanumerical notation classification scheme, arranged in a hierarchical format, which is limited to 10 top terms and nine second-level terms. In the past, this classification system resulted in multiple concepts expressed within the same term, and was not search friendly. For example, a search for “radioactive decay” resulted in four distinct six-digit notations with eight concepts expressed under the notations.

To create the new thesaurus, Access Innovations loaded PACs into its Data Harmony MAIstro™ taxonomy and thesaurus creation software, using a notation sort. The Access Innovations project team examined key concepts and phrases from the PACS system, divided and reworded the phrases and remapped the original PACS codes into new indexing terms.

The process helped reduce the wordiness of some of the notations by separating terms into multiple concepts, “retiring” compound phrases and building a simpler vocabulary. For example, “biophysical mechanisms of interaction (acoustic and ultrasonic energy) [87.50.yg]” was broken down into three terms: 1) biophysical mechanisms; 2) acoustic energy; and 3) ultrasonic energy.

The thesaurus was then checked to see if it included these terms, and if not, they were added. Also, terms which did not describe actual subject areas were removed, as were duplicate terms.

The existing PACS Codes were linked to a PACS Term. The resulting thesaurus was compliant with ISO (International Organization for Standardization), NISO (National Information Standards Organization), and W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) standards.

The five-month project required close collaboration with AIP staff including Cassar and Aravind Akella, manager of journal development, to ensure accuracy of the thesaurus as well as to integrate the new thesaurus for AIP’s online publication strategy.


About the American Institute of Physics (AIP)

The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators.  AIP is one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences, and a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. It publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines (including its flagship publication Physics Today), and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. AIP’s online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles, from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

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