Thesaurus-assisted search term selection and query expansion: a review of user-centred studies

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This paper provides a review of the literature related to the application of domain-specific thesauri in the search and retrieval process. Focusing on studies which adopt a user-centred approach, the review presents a survey of the methodologies and results from empirical studies undertaken on the use of thesauri as sources of term selection for query formulation and expansion during the search process. It summaries the ways in which domain-specific thesauri from different disciplines have been used by various types of users and how these tools aid users in the selection of search terms. The review consists of two main sections covering, firstly studies on thesaurus-aided search term selection and secondly those dealing with query expansion using thesauri. Both sections are illustrated with case studies that have adopted a user-centred approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages18
JournalKnowledge Organization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • thesauri
  • domain-specific thesauri
  • searching
  • web searching
  • search engines
  • query expansion
  • user-centred studies


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