Terminology Issues

  • The plural form is used for English descriptors (e.g., "Learners", "Literacy programs") with the exception of terms which represent abstract concepts (e.g., "Learning").
  • The singular form is used for French descriptors (e.g., "Femme").
  • Some descriptors contain qualifiers in order to clarify their meaning (e.g., "Readers [texts]"). Users should always include the qualifier when searching or indexing.
  • The word "adult" is considered redundant and has not been retained in many descriptors. For example, the term "Literacy" is understood to mean "Adult literacy."
  • Contrary to standard thesaurus practice, the terms "Learners" and "Students" have both been retained because they are used equally in Canada by literacy practitioners. Users are advised to use both terms for exhaustive retrieval.
  • On the French side, terms describing persons appear in both the masculine and feminine form (e.g., "Apprenant", "Apprenante"). This was done to avoid discriminating against one or the other gender. Where a document refers to both men and women, both descriptors should be used.

Searching for Terms:
You can search in one of two ways, as described below:

1. Alphabetical Search | Top |
If you choose this search, you will be presented with an alphabetical list of descriptors and non-descriptors beginning with the term you entered. Non-descriptors are non-preferred terms (e.g., "Job Market", USE "Labour Market"). They always appear in italics. For example, if you enter the term "Employment", you will retrieve the following terms:

Employment applications
Employment aspirations
Employment background
Employment centres
Employment counselling
Employment education relationships
Employment equity
.... and so on

2. Keyword Search | Top |
A keyword search will retrieve descriptors which contain a given word anywhere in the descriptor. For example, if you enter the word "health", you will be presented with something like the following:

Health education
Health in the workplace
Health information
Literacy health relationships
Mental health
Occupational health and safety
Public health
Once again, non-descriptors appear in italics.

Note that if you wish to do a truncated search (e.g., find all terms containing the word fragment "employ" or "wom"), you simply type in the word fragment with no punctuation and no asterisk.

Note: The search engine will only retrieve the number of terms specified in the box for "How many terms?" The default is 75.

Term Displays | Top |

When you click on a term in the alphabetical or keyword display, you will be taken to a screen which shows the full display for that term. If you click on a non-descriptor (these always appear in italics), you will be taken to a screen which indicates the descriptor which should be used in place of that term. (For example, "Health information", USE "Medical information"). Occasionally a USE reference is followed by two descriptors.

Each thesaurus descriptor is shown with some or all of the following:

  • French Equivalent
    Where it exists, the equivalent in French of an English descriptor appears. The French descriptor will be shown with its own relationships in the French version of the Thesaurus.
Example 1 Auditory discrimination
French equivalent:
      Discrimination auditive
  • Definition
    Where necessary, a definition specifies the meaning of a descriptor, in the framework of this Thesaurus. The meaning of a thesaurus descriptor is often more restricted than the meaning of the same term in natural language.
Example 2 Auditory discrimination
Distinction between sounds of different intensity, frequency, pattern or complexity.
  • Scope Note
    The scope note gives specific directions for the use of a descriptor.
Example 3 Approaches
Scope note:
Use only for a general discussion of several types of approaches; if possible use a more specific term (behavioural approach, etc.).
  • Used for (i.e., synonym)
    These are concepts and subjects which the descriptor is used to represent, in the framework of this Thesaurus.
Example 4 Personality
Used for:
  • Broader Terms
    These are other valid indexing and searching terms which are more general in meaning than the descriptor, in the framework of this Thesaurus.
Example 5 Instructional facilities
Broader Terms:
  • Narrower Terms
    These are other valid indexing and searching terms which are more restricted in meaning than the descriptor, in the framework of this Thesaurus.
Example 6 Facilities
Narrower Terms:
Instructional facilities
Training facilities
  • Related Terms 
    These are other valid indexing and searching terms with which the descriptor is associated, in the framework of the Thesaurus.
Example 7 Facilities
Related Terms:

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