The Thesaurus consists of two sections : "Orientation"
- - and, "Alphabetical List" - of "Descriptors and Subsumed Terms."
The "Orientation" is a catchall. It is partially:
- perspective on information classification,
filing, and retrieval;
- strategy for improvement of Catholic information-processing;
- introduction to Thesaurus' purposes and
- Need For Thesaurus
- Purposes For Thesaurus
- Broadness Of Application
- Clarification Of Catholic Communication
- Need For Clarification of Catholic Communication
- "Controlled Vocabulary" and "Common Language"
- Authority For Descriptors
A thesaurus is "a list of subject headings
or descriptors, usually with a cross-reference system, for use in the organization
of a collection of documents for reference and retrieval" .
At the outset, a critical distinction must be made,
between a "thesaurus" - - as interpreted in this document - - and
an "index," as generally characterized in library science.
A thesaurus establishes a language of Descriptors,
for the management and processing of "actual information."
Contrariwise, an "index" is a "cross-reference-to-actual
information," which is stored in books, and other documents on bookshelves,
in file drawers, etc. An "index" contains such specifications as:
subject, author's name, publication title, edition-date, and coding for location
of the physical storage of the "actual information."
An analogy might be helpful. A thesaurus' "Descriptor"
can be likened to the box-holder's name for mail pick-up at a rural, post office.
An "index," on the other hand, can be typified by the card-catalog-index
at a local, public library.
This Thesaurus includes Descriptors on: * all aspects,
or the totality, of Roman Catholicism - - * selected secular topics.
5. Need for Thesaurus
Over a decade's, diligent research was devoted
to a professional search for an existing thesaurus - - to facilitate the classification,
and processing, of all essential information on Roman Catholicism.
Personal visits were made to Catholic Universities;
many librarians and scholars were interviewed; extensive correspondence was
exchanged with religious orders; specialized institutes were contacted; all
applicable library science, and data-processing literature was analyzed.
Two consistent responses emerged from the preponderance
of respondents. First, "There is no existing, broad-scope, professional-quality,
Catholic-information, classification system!" Second, "We sure need
a practical, classification system to: * promptly and efficiently process the
overwhelming flood of incoming information; * facilitate its entrance into the
"If there were such a thing as a general purpose,
flexible, completely defined language that everybody could understand, it would
simplify tremendously our various problems in information storage and retrieval,
but there does not seem to be such a thing in existence. Probably the closest
to it is the thoroughly standardized version of Latin that has been used for
internal communication by the Catholic Church for something over 1,500 years
we may have to borrow it yet.
"Do you see what you're up against? You either
adapt a long-form natural language and cross-index yourself crazy, or make sure
that you've included the total pattern and then invent your own short-form coding
within it" .
This author has designed this Thesaurus to satisfy
the existing necessity of finding a method to reliably process information on
Catholicism. In view of the ongoing "information-explosion" - - filling
this vacuum quickly - - seems to be both critical and needed immediately.
"The information explosion is the most compelling
reason to go to work on communications. Indeed, the frightening communications
gap all around us
between faculty and students
and so on - - may well
reflect in some measure the tremendous increase in information, without a commensurate
increase in communication" .
For a long time, specialized, narrow-scope thesauruses
have been developed, to satisfy the practical needs of processing technical
information. For example, in 1963 (ten years after its first edition), the
National Association of Educational Secretaries republished its booklet, "File
It Right And Find It" - - as a "recommended educational, subject classification,
designed to give uniformity in filing" (p. 1).
The secretaries' publication uses the identical
format that has been adopted for this Thesaurus' "Alphabetical List."
The secretaries' "Alphabetical Index
Reference Subjects are listed in
the left-hand column, and the appropriate descriptor-heading is suggested in
the right-hand column
"In some cases, several descriptor-headings
are suggested - so that you may select the one best suited to your system. The
references are those most frequently used in educational offices
Abilities and aptitudes
Exceptional Child Program" (p. 18).
The secretaries' "Alphabetical Index"
occupied 70-pages, and includes about 1,500, left-column Descriptors. It states,
"Many schools are installing data-processing equipment to handle the number
of records necessitated by an ever-increasing student body. Basically, data-processing
equipment should not alter filing procedures. Its primary purpose is to process
data more rapidly and accurately than manual methods can" (p. 10).
Another forceful - - yet not generally known -
- need for the Thesaurus is its potential to preserve the information that is
now rapidly-disappearing - - due to the physical deterioration of many vital,
classic books on Catholicism. The pages of these old books are crumbling into
dust at an alarming rate - - due to the disintegration of the "acid-paper-pages"
that were used in these older publications.
The Thesaurus can help classify and preserve this
priceless, informational heritage by having the contents of these books electronically
copied into computerized files, or onto CD-ROMs.
6. Purposes for Thesaurus
The reasons for the research and gradual development
of the Thesaurus are discussed under five sub-headings:
- Broadness Of Application,
- Clarification of Catholic Communication,
The primary purpose for creation of this Thesaurus,
is satisfaction of the need for efficient processing of information on Catholicism.
The key instrument required to achieve excellence, in processing such data,
is the precisely defined "Descriptor" (Classification-Title, Index-Term,
The usual sequence of steps in information processing
- classifying the desired data, under its
- copying this information by means of handwriting,
typing, or keyboarding;
- filing (or storing) this data in a physical
or electronic depository (e.g., manila-folder, electronic file);
- retrieval, as needed, of the searched-for
information from its depository, via the identification of its previously-assigned
Some of the benefits to be derived from a truly-functional,
information-processing system include:
- Gaining access to the hope, logic, and
wisdom, of Catholicism, that is based upon: Revelation, 2,000-years of experience
and tradition, authentic teaching of the Church.
- Nurturing of personal, spiritual growth
in faith, hope, and love, for the achievement of holiness.
- Supporting the awareness of God's, unceasing
and unconditional love for us in the midst of our daily living - - through
His Providential governance of all creation, including His understanding of
our most-private thoughts.
- Promoting human peace, despite the sometimes-confusing,
and oftentimes-painful, trials of daily living.
- Strengthening of our hope - - for the reward
of heaven - - by faithfully serving God's Divine Will, here on earth.
- Discerning supernatural guidance and support
for each person's, unique, spiritual journey toward eternal, heavenly bliss.
- Developing electronic databases, and CD-ROMs,
to permit easy access to the mountains of orthodox, literature on Catholicism.
- Assisting Catholic education and evangelization,
through the organization of the vast quantities of available information.
For perspective, it's well to bear in mind that
the Thesaurus' purpose is the processing of "actual information" -
- NOT just furnishing "cross-references-to-actual-information," which
is the task of an "index."
B. Broadness of Application
For this Thesaurus to be valuable, It must perform
well, manually and electronically, for a diverse universe of users, in a wide
spectrum of applications. Some of the potential users, with individual, information
processing needs, are:
- students (from elementary-schooler through
- brothers, priests, and sisters - - for
their training and personal, spiritual growth;
- *librarians (for modest-sized, book collections);
- religious orders - - for their formation,
spiritual charisma, and archives;
- operators of computerized, remote-access
- publishers of CD-ROMs - - for encyclopedias,
- developers of artificial-intelligence systems.
For perspective, it's well to bear in mind that
the purpose of the Thesaurus is to process "actual information" -
- NOT just furnish a "cross reference to actual information," which
is the function of an "index."
The following tabulation attempts to crudely reflect
some typical, information-processing applications.
Training in Rule
Database On Religion
P.C. / Mainframe Computer
Encyclopedia on CD-ROM
P.C. / Mainframe Computer
The Thesaurus' multi-faceted versatility is solidly
verified by its fidelity of operation, regardless of the number of Descriptors
employed in the actual classification, filing/storage, and retrieval.
Accordingly, the number of activated Descriptors
can range from: four for a high-schooler; to four hundred for a scholar; and
perhaps one-thousand-plus, for the operator of an electronic database (concurrently,
the number of "non-descriptor" "see," and "see-also,"
cross-reference terms - - in a large database system - - can number in multiples
And, the unused or non-activated Descriptors will
remain available, in reserve, for implementation, as required. The integrity
of the entire, information-processing system is thereby always preserved intact.
It's helpful to realize, too, that additional Descriptors
can be readily added to the information-system at any future time - - without
any, ensuing burden to reclassify and refile previously-collected-and-stored
Thus, the Thesaurus' broad applicability offers
these three advantages:
- An ongoing ability to: effectively handle
different types of user-designed applications, or the needs of various information-processing
- The versatility to periodically include
additional, Thesaurus-Listed Descriptors, as required by new operational demands
- - without disturbing, or losing control over, the previously-accumulated
- The facility to easily absorb entirely
new Descriptors (i.e., not already included in the original "Alphabetical
List"), for the solution of special informational-processing requirements.
C. Clarification of Catholic Communication
The third purpose for the Thesaurus - - beyond
its functionality for "Information-Processing," and "Broadness
Of Application" - - is its potential for "Clarification Of Catholic
Clarity of communication can be discussed from
two, overlapping viewpoints: first, the Church's, assigned mission to truthfully
evangelize and teach; second, the essential need for accuracy and proficiency
in processing information.
The mandate for productive evangelization and teaching
is unambiguous. "Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, `Go, therefore,
make disciples of all the nations
and teach them to observe all the commandments
I gave you'" (Mt. 28:18-20).
"Computers are the newest way for Christians
to communicate their message. I imagine that the great evangelist, St. Paul,
would be pleased to see the Good News flash from computer to computer at 2,400
For at least two decades, computerized databases
and electronic communication ("networking") have been used in countries
around the world.
"France's telephone-database-network, `Minitel,'
which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, has become as much a household
staple as French bread. More than five million computer terminals - - nearly
one screen for every eleven inhabitants - - link farmhouses and Paris ateliers
alike, in a network that boasts 12,000 different services
. Students use
`Minitel' to file their university applications" .
One explanatory observation might be helpful, here.
France's essentially "one-and-only," national telephone company greatly
facilitated the development of "12,000 different services" (i.e.,
specialized databases). How? Through national, standardized, telecommunications-protocols;
economies of scale; uniform specifications for communication's hardware and
The prime focus of this "Orientation,"
however, is upon the combination of manual and electronic information processing.
Hence, this sub-section on "Clarification Of Catholic Communication"
will be discussed in three parts; first, "Communication;" second,
"Need For Clarification Of Catholic Communication;" third, "Controlled
Vocabulary," or "Common Language."
Communication is "a process by which information
is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs,
the technology of the transmission of information (as by the
printed word, telecommunication, or the computer)" .
Communication is a most sensitive and complicated
art. Yet, its crucial significance, for successful information processing,
is seldom recognized or provided for.
Communication, in the real world, is far removed
from being an exact science. The projection or transfer of an explicit, intellectual
concept, or mental image - - from the intellect of the "transmitter"
(e.g., speaker, teacher, writer) into the awareness and full, "two-way"
understanding of the "receiver" (i.e., listener, student, reader)
- - is an exceedingly difficult task.
Why is there so much confusion in communication?
The difficulty lies in the existence of numerous, often unrecognized, and delicate
VARIABLES IN BOTH the "transmitting" and "receiving" exchanges.
The "transmitter" structures, and then
describes, the concept of the information-message in very-personal, unique variables
- - consisting of ethnic background, formal education, understanding of Catholicism,
In turn, the "receiver" processes the
transmitted message, through a quite different, unique interpretation filter;
which, in all likelihood, will have its own, specialized array of such variables
as: ethnic background, formal education, understanding of Catholicism, personality
blind spots, etc.
Under these "very-usual" conditions,
the odds favor less than perfect, two-way communication - - in terms of mutual
awareness, transfer of ideas, and synchronization of understanding.
Though quite surprising, when initially considered,
precise "through-put" of written-communication must begin with the
"receiver" (reader), NOT, the "transmitter" (writer). Crazy?
No - it's true! Unless the reader's awareness and understanding of the written-message
is perceived, as intended by the writer, the communication effort has failed
- - to a lesser-or-greater degree.
- "The realization that communications
have to be upward - - or rather that they have to start with the recipient
(listener), rather than the emitter (speaker), which underlies the concept
of listening - - is absolutely sound and vital" .
Accordingly, a writer confronts an arduous challenge
in the attempt to clearly communicate information - - especially so, with the
stumbling block of abstraction, inherent in religious concepts.
There even seems to be some justification for the
premise that written-communication is a more difficult challenge than spoken-communication.
Here's why! A speaker possesses several communication's
subtleties, or advantages, that are not available to a writer; e.g., tone of
voice, facial expression, eyes-open or squinting, lips pulled tense or relaxed,
speed of delivery, "body-language," calmness or agitation.
- "Writing itself is easy, of course,
the hard part is to write a sentence that a thousand different people can
read, and come up with the same sense
. But, when I try to write about
what interests you, the problem is, I don't know who you are" .
- "What they find is that each person
comes with a particular culture - - rural or inner city, only one child or
one of many siblings, a morning or night person, introvert or extrovert" .
The essential purpose of this Thesaurus is to foster
the Descriptors' explicit, two-way communication, or interchange of clear-cut
ideas - - between writers and readers.
(2). Need for Clarification of Catholic Communication
Accurate, mutually understood, religious communication
is one of the most difficult undertakings to participate in. Why? Very simply
- - such religious concepts, as doctrine and morality, by their very nature
are abstract and profound. Contrariwise, it's quite easy for us to understand
a concrete or physical object - - such as an automobile - - because we can see,
touch, and drive it.
We do not have to exert our imagination, or conceptualization
power, to comprehend what an automobile appears like in the real world, or what
its function is. Contrast the ease of understanding what an automobile is -
- versus, an accurate perception of the Descriptors: "Hope," and "Sin."
Accordingly, if we are to intelligently read about
Catholicism, we need the utilitarian instrument of the "Descriptor,"
to clearly communicate between "transmitters" and "receivers."
In other word's, the precise concept in the writer's intellect, must be distinctly
projected to, and understood by, the reader's intellect.
The Thesaurus is designed to satisfy the need for
clarification of Catholic communication, through its prime tool, the "Descriptor."
Consistent and accurate use of these "Descriptors" (and the continuous
"maintenance" of the Thesaurus' protocols) will assure clarity and
precision in transmitting "intellectual images," from writers to readers.
The processing of the information, controlled by these same "Descriptors,"
will facilitate the classification, filing and retrieving of the vast treasures
of written, Catholic wisdom that are currently available.
It is beyond the scope of this Thesaurus to identify,
and then discuss, all the possible applications that could benefit from the
manual, or electronic, use of its "Descriptors." Some typical, potential
beneficiaries can include:
Catholic Database Operation
Standardization of information processing
(3). "Controlled Vocabulary" or "Common Language"
In the context of this "Orientation,"
all three expressions - - "Thesaurus, Controlled Vocabulary, and Common
Language" are synonymous. They are based upon the consistent use of a
universe of standardized, defined words - - i.e., "Descriptor - a word
or phrase (as an index term) used to identify an item (as a subject or document),
especially in an information retrieval system" .
For a Descriptor to be universally meaningful,
it must be explicitly defined by an authoritative source.
The Thesaurus' comprehensive array of religious
Descriptors is defined by the authentic (i.e., "Imprimatured"), technically-accurate,
internationally-recognized, published book, "Modern Catholic Dictionary;"
authored by Rev. J. A. Hardon, S. J.; published by Doubleday & Company,
Garden City, N. Y.; 1980.
The Thesaurus' secular Descriptors are defined
by: "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary;" published by G. C. Merriam,
Springfield, MA; 1974.
In a broader, or supplementary sense, the "Subsumed
Terms" further "define," or prescribe, the scope of Descriptors.
In perspective, three practical points summarize
the benefits that can be derived from the consistent use of a "Thesaurus,
Controlled Vocabulary, or Common Language:"
- Consistent usage of the Descriptors will
assure correct and expeditious information processing (i.e., classification,
filing and retrieval) for a decade or more.
- The most reliable backbone for a high-quality
Thesaurus is an already-existing, widely-accepted, universe of Descriptors.
Fr. Hardon's, earlier-mentioned dictionary constitutes the backbone for almost-all
religious Descriptors in the Thesaurus.
- The premise is suggested, here, that the
consistent use of the Thesaurus' Descriptors - - as a "Controlled Vocabulary,"
or "Common Language" - - will provide many, broad-scope benefits.
However, no claim of "perfection" is
vouched. The reason is simple. Every modern vocabulary, or language, is in
a constant state of flux. New ideas and technologies create an ever-ongoing
flood of additional, new descriptors, and "look-up-non-descriptor"
words, for inclusion as "see" references.
Nonetheless, in the overall area of processing
"knowledge-or-information," there are many examples of how "less-than-perfect"
systems that have proved to be highly successful. The following, wide-ranging
examples may be helpful:
- "But the fact is our culture really
hasn't supplied us with a language of precision to describe a religious experience.
Few metaphors exist, except for those derived from the Bible, and they often
are phrases we don't use outside church. Would you use the term `repent'
outside church? How about `worship?' Try `grace' or `revelation' or `discern'" .
- In the 1852 Preface to "Roget's International
Thesaurus," he wrote, "Notwithstanding all the pains I have bestowed
on its (ed., his Thesaurus') execution, I am fully aware of its numerous deficiencies
and imperfections, and of its falling far short of the degree of excellence
that might be attained.
"But, in a work of this nature, where perfection is placed at so great
a distance, I have thought it best to limit my ambition to that moderate share
of merit, which it may claim in its present form; trusting to the indulgence
of those for whose benefit it is intended, and to the cadour of critics who,
while they find it easy to detect faults, can at the same time duly appreciate
- The United States' Constitution can be
offered in evidence, as incontrovertible proof that a "less-than-perfect,"
"knowledge-or-information" system - - WHICH IS CONSISTENTLY APPLIED
- - can remain immensely successful, even after many, many decades. Benjamin
Franklin declared: "I shall confess that there are several parts of the
Constitution which I do not approve, but I doubt if any other convention may
be able to make a better Constitution.
"For when you assemble men to have advantages of their joint wisdom,
you inevitably assemble all their prejudices, their passions, their errors
of opinion, their local interests, their selfish views. From such an assembly
can a perfect production be expected? I consent to the Constitution because
I expect no better, and I am not sure it is not the best" .
Our "Democracy" probably would not exist today, if absolute "perfection,"
of ideas and "Descriptors," was strictly mandated. We can only
shutter to imagine what our Country would be like today without its "still-partially-imperfect"
- The initial diagnosis and pursuant, medical
treatment of Parkinson's Disease are exceedingly complex, due to a myriad
of variables; e.g., appearance and location of physical symptoms, facial expression,
severity of movements, inconsistency of behavior, degree of rigidity, etc.
Despite these difficulties, a simple "thesaurus of defined descriptors
(scales, steps, or grades for symptoms)" was devised as a practical,
the `Hoehn and Yahr Scale' used through the world to classify patients
participating in research studies
was published in 1967. The original
definitions of the five Stages of severity are
"This method of grading severity is rather a potpourri, combining the
symptoms of the patient, the physical signs as observed by the physician,
and the patient's functional ability
"These scales give numerical grades to a multitude of individual aspects
of parkinsonism; these grades are added to give a total score
"In spite of these drawbacks, this method of grading severity has proved
PRACTICAL (this writer's emphasis) over many years. It is a simple method,
allowing for easily reproducible assessments of the general status, and functional
level of the patient by independent examiners.
"Because the definitions of the Stages are very precise, the scale obviates
the confusion arising from such poorly defined terms as mild, moderate or
severe disease" .
Thus, the key to the success of this medical diagnosis,
by physicians worldwide, is the general acceptance of the "descriptors
in the "Hoehn and Yahr Scale," as a defined methodology. Its thesaurus,
or "controlled vocabulary/common language," of five, well-defined
stages, permits all doctors to consistently employ the same diagnostic, and
In the same general sense, the undeviating and
correct employment of the Thesaurus' Descriptors can produce above-average,
"knowledge-or-information" processing-results for decades into the
Some Thesaurus attributes can be evaluated as "less-than-perfect,"
or "partially subjective" - - hence, open to fair-minded "give-and-take"
debate; for example:
- the ideal, total number of Descriptors
to constitute a "perfect" universe;
- some Descriptors may unavoidably overlap
others, to some degree;
- different senses, in which certain Descriptors
can be interpreted;
- additional terms can be subsumed under
their appropriate Descriptors - (observations:
- the cited, Subsumed Terms were selected
to help "define" the overall scope of the Descriptor;
- users are encouraged to write in, or
add all desired, Subsumed Terms, that will further define some Descriptors
for special requirements - - thus, each Descriptor can become an ideal depository
for specific informational needs;
- recommendation - immediately record
all changes on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," to provide an "audit-trail");
- a Subsumed Term may be preferred to replace
a "Descriptor-Parent;" i.e., have it replace the published Descriptor
- - (recommendations: a. make all desired changes; b. promptly record these
changes on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," to furnish an "audit-trail");
- an inverted Descriptor may initially cause
some confusion; and, possibly necessitate a circuitous look-up or search;
e.g., "Trinity-Holy." However, the Thesaurus minimizes this problem
through the use of cross-references: e.g., "Holy Trinity
Trinity-Holy"); - - (observations:
- for consistency, the keyword or root,
of a hyphenated expression is generally positioned as the prefix;
- the non-inverted expression is usually
cross-referenced in its alphabetical order;
- "general usage" can also dictate
the adoption of the non-inverted expression as the Descriptor; e.g., "Holy
- recommendation - promptly record all
changes on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," to furnish an accurate
- Hyphenated-Descriptors may initially seem
awkward; e.g., "Divine-Governance-Creation" - - (observations:
- hyphens are used to link multi-word
components into a simulated, "one-word-entity;"
- this simulated "one-word-entity"
will probably assist both accuracy in filing, and quickness of identification,
in looking-up the Thesaurus' "Alphabetical List;"
- after a little practice, these "one-word-entity"
Descriptors will be "seen," or interpreted, as a single "word,"
- if too confusing or complicated, users
can rearrange the wording of a Descriptor to suit special conditions;
- recommendation - promptly write down
all changes on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy" to assure an accurate
- some Descriptors embrace an unusually-large
number of Subsumed Terms; e.g., "Being, Catholic Education, Mass, Methodology;"
- - (observations:
- some technically-oriented Descriptors subsume many terms, to initially limit the total number of Descriptors in the Thesaurus;
- technically-oriented users can readily convert selected, Subsumed Terms into
additional "full-status" Descriptors;
- recommendation - quickly record all changes on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy,"
to furnish an "audit-trail");
- sometimes a Descriptor subsumes both its
antonyms and synonyms; in other instances, a Descriptor's well-recognized
antonym can merit the status of a separate Descriptor, or in special situations,
even be subsumed under a closely-related Descriptor; e.g., "Humility"
and "Pride" are individual Descriptors; - - (observation:
- the "Alphabetical List" provides
sure-footed cross-references during look-up);
- "See Also" cross-references vary
considerably as to: total number of cited Descriptors, types of information
being referred to, etc. - - (observation:
- no rigid rule is applicable here; the
goal is simply to stimulate users' perspective, and creative thinking about
other, relevant subject-areas that may merit further research);
- "semantics - the historical and psychological
study, and the classification of changes in the signification of words or
forms, viewed as factors in linguistic development" ; - - (observations:
- without any question whatsoever, each
user can justifiably quarrel with some part of the Thesaurus; e.g., preference
for the use of some, non-cited Descriptors; dislike of Hyphenated Descriptors;
varying assortments of Subsumed Terms under certain Descriptors; decision
to convert some Subsumed-Terms into full-status Descriptors; addition or
deletion of some "See" and "See Also" citations; etc.;
- no user, however, is frozen into an
impossibly rigid situation; i.e., the expandability, flexibility, and efficiency
of the Thesaurus furnish practical, and easy to apply, alternate procedures
to facilitate a seemingly endless array of feasible solutions for special
- patient users can accept, and "grow
into a comfortable use" of the Thesaurus, as published; and, through
consistent application of the Descriptors - - "as they are" -
- develop an excellent, information-processing system on spirituality, that
will retain its top-quality performance beyond the next decade);
- "consistency" is a cardinal requirement
for the effective utilization of any information-processing procedure; the
key discipline, of "consistency," guarantees the capability to retrieve
- within one-to-ten-years - ALL the "same," or "specific-type"
data, that has been accurately classified, and filed in the system; - - (observations:
- if a piece of specific information is
properly classified, and then filed under its assigned Descriptor, it can
be readily looked-up and retrieved from its "one-and-only" storage-depository,
a decade from now; this same efficiency applies equally to the second, or
fiftieth piece of the same, specific information -- IF consistency is maintained;
- the most powerful technique to guarantee
"consistency" is never-ending diligence in maintaining an up-to-date
"Thesaurus-Master-Copy;" - - especially so, when several copies
of the Thesaurus are being used simultaneously in the same installation;
- "consistency" is also safeguarded
by the practice of "grossly" classifying, and filing all related
information under one, "start-up" Descriptor;
- when the user decides that the filed
pool of data is too bulky for expedient serviceability; one likely course
of action is the establishment of one or more Subsumed Terms as discrete,
intellectual "subdivisions;" thus, these new, "full-status"
Descriptors can actually function as "informational subdivisions"
of the original "Descriptor-Parent;" - - at this point, the original
"bulk" information, in the original Descriptor's file, can be
readily subdivided into the domains of the newly-created Descriptors; RESULT:
the intellectual integrity and consistency of the total, or "bulk,"
information is not violated;
- the "audit trail" can perform
a valuable, future mission, when confusion arises as to "what"
is filed "where;" it will provide the wherewithal to carefully
retrace one's steps, to discover WHEN a change was made; WHAT the alteration
was; and the RESULTANT STATUS; thus, the "audit-trail" will help
in quickly identifying classification and/or filing errors; BENEFIT: a great
deal of unnecessary, "hit-or-miss," "backward-looking"
research - - reclassification - - and refiling - - can be avoided.
A frequently-repeated craving, despite our highly
secularized culture, is expressed as, a "thirst for holiness" (or
its equivalent: "yearning for God, reason for living, desire for heaven,
or, worthwhile philosophy of life").
Many good-living persons are disadvantaged, in
two ways, by their unfamiliarity with the authentic Descriptors of Catholic
spirituality. First, they're likely to form only vague, or even incorrect interpretations
of the abstractions cited in spiritual literature. Second, they'll lack the
technical understanding to correctly identify their own spiritual ideas and
affections - - a situation that can stunt their potential for mature self-understanding,
spiritual growth, and self-esteem.
"The immense influence that is exercised by
language in promoting the development of ideas, in fixing them in mind, and
in detaining them for steady contemplation. Into every process of reasoning,
language enters as an essential element. Words are the instruments by which
we form all our abstractions, by which we fashion and embody our ideas" .
For emphasis, one key clause of the above quotation
is repeated, "Words are the instruments by which we form our abstractions
It seems evident that the popular use of the Thesaurus'
"words," or Descriptors, can become a boom for personal, spiritual
growth. The ready availability of the "Alphabetical List," with its
wide range of Descriptors, can provide serious-minded people with a broad perspective
of Catholicism. Additionally, the Subsumed Terms, listed under Descriptors
of special interest - - as well as the "See Also" cross-references
- -can inspire typical persons to read further about authentic, Catholic holiness.
Then, as a person grows in holiness, there will
likely develop a yearning to activate a personal information-processing system
to: collect, classify, and file such data as: anecdotes, pertinent articles,
pamphlets, "flyers" from seminars, and personal notes taken at homilies,
and small-group discussions.
The Thesaurus, via its Descriptors, can become
an effective educational instrument, by encouraging readers to develop their
own, personal, information-processing systems. Again, "To learn to classify
is in itself an education" .
For perspective, this sub-section is addressed
in two parts: "Intellectual Sophistication," and "Information-Processing
1. Intellectual Sophistication
An intended purpose, during the development of
the Thesaurus, was the inclusion of a "designed-in" facility to encourage,
and assist intellectual/faith-filled, authentic research on Catholicism. It
was also fully realized, that many levels of intellectual sophistication would
have to be served simultaneously.
To promote research, or "reading," by
a wide range of persons, the "Subsumed Terms" are visualized as stimulating
aids, for expanded "definitions" of Descriptors. A beginning foundation
for authentic, Catholic knowledge is the technical definition of the Descriptors,
themselves. Fr. Hardon's, aforementioned dictionary provides this foundational-information.
The Subsumed Terms build, or expand upon, the foundational definitions of the
A theoretical example may be helpful. Let's suppose
that a high-school student is given an assignment to write a theme, or even
a term paper, on "Saints." The Thesaurus will function as a "research-coach."
The student can "look up" the following Descriptors for "raw-material-ideas"
No.: Subsumed Terms
No.: See Also
(As an overview for information-processing, the
above cited student (or a professor), may wish to convert 12 of the 38 subsumed
terms under "Saints," into "full-status" Descriptors.
This will not present any real problem. The 12 "Previously-Subsumed-Terms"
are inserted, in alphabetical order, on the "Alphabetical List," and
deleted as Subsumed Terms from under the "Saints'" Descriptor.)
The following listing suggests some ordinary ways
in which the Thesaurus can enhance research on Catholicism:
Broadening of Perspective
Scope & Terminology
Scope & Analysis
Overview & Descriptors
During the normal use of the Thesaurus, there will
be frequent need to "look up," or search through, the "Alphabetical
List" to ascertain if a particular word is a "Descriptor," or
a "Subsumed Term." This exercise is simple and straightforward.
The "Alphabetical List" specifies an "*" symbol to designate
Descriptors; or, alternately, a "See" cross-reference to its "Descriptor-Parents."
To render the Thesaurus easy-to-use, most "familiar"
or "popular" words, and expressions are listed in their proper, alphabetical
order. Reason: the backgrounds of potential Thesaurus-users will vary considerably,
and "more," rather than "fewer," "look-up" words
Moreover, the inclusion of a large number of "look-up"
terms, in the "Alphabetical List," will not overwhelm, or inconvenience,
typical searchers. It's normal for a person to focus or concentrate upon just
one "search-word" - - and simply ignore all other terms.
Proof: when an individual "looks up"
a person's telephone number in an 800-page, telephone book, the searcher immediately
turns to the page, where the first letter of the target's surname is listed.
By quickly "fingering" down the column, the proper telephone number
is quickly located. The numerous listings on the other 799-pages are completely
Large databases demand a huge array of "look-up,"
or "query," terms to expedite quick searches. Grolier's "American-Encyclopedia"
CD-Rom has 67,000 "look-up" words.
2. Information-Processing Sophistication
From the viewpoint of sophistication, the Thesaurus
is designed as a wide-ranging instrument to efficiently handle the entire
spectrum of information-processing systems. For illustration:
Type of Processing
A few sketchy, technical observations - - which
are very far from a fully-detailed exposition - - may assist perspective:
- The best beginning for an information-processing
system - - that will remain masterful for twenty-years-or-more - - is a thesaurus
that covers the entire subject-area from "A-to-Z;" i.e., it possesses
comprehensiveness, or universality.
Thus, any new piece of information (discovered in the first-, or fifth-,
or 15th-year of operation) can be immediately and accurately classified under
its proper descriptor - - and remain undisturbed for future retrieval.
Because this Thesaurus embraces the "A-to-Z" content of Catholicism,
it can satisfy - - via its "Expandability, Flexibility, and Efficiency"
- - the "Longevity" requirement for a worthwhile, information-processing
- At this juncture, it seems advisable to
repeat the technical distinction between a "thesaurus," which handles
"actual information" (e.g., documents, personal notes) - - versus,
a pure "index," which simply guides a searcher (via a numerical
code) to where the "actual information" (on the pages of books)
is stored (i.e., on library shelves).
- Some electronic information-processing
systems do not use a thesaurus as the primary "search tool." Rather,
they rely upon computerized-search techniques - - which are generally characterized
as: "keyword-in-context," or "free-text-search."
In such operations (of which, there are several varieties), entire documents,
or ponderous masses of "actual information" are copied into electronic
databases (i.e., computer memory). A searcher launches a query for pinpointed
information, by means of one-or-more, selected, "free-choice" terms,
or combinations of words.
The computer then searches for the "target-words" in its database.
When a "hit," or match, for the sought-after "keywords"
is made, the computer prints out all the applicable sentences (or paragraphs).
The inquiry sophistication can be further upgraded, to the use of Boolean
search (e.g., "either-or," "both"), or "linkage-of-concepts"
- Remote-access-time-sharing databases can
be designed in diverse ways. For example, this Thesaurus' "Alphabetical
List" can efficiently manage a database of Descriptors that embraces
such additional information as: definitions of the Descriptors, extracts for
Catholic encyclopedias, complete copies of critical encyclicals, etc.
A subscriber, in a distant state, could "call up" the computerized
database (via a modem) - - to examine all its stored information under one,
or several, of the descriptors listed on the database's alphabetical list.
When connected, the subscriber could then read the selected, stored information,
on a personal-computer monitor (cathode-ray-tube), and choose to have a "hard
copy" printed out locally.
- CD-ROMs can be employed in several ways.
For illustration, this Thesaurus can be easily adapted to manage the vast
quantities of "actual information," that can be stored in the 300,000-page-capacity,
Such, stored "actual information" could include: a comprehensive
dictionary of Catholic Descriptors; a full-text, authentic, electronic version
of the Bible; an authoritative encyclopedia; an array of important encyclicals,
A non-sophisticated computer-user - - with CD-ROM-equipped hardware - - can
readily access the desired "actual information," stored under
the various Descriptors of a CD-ROM - - that has been designed, according
to the Thesaurus' "Alphabetical List." Here again, the "actual
information" can be viewed on the personal computer's screen (monitor)
and/or printed out.
Someone has said that, "The highest type of
technological elegance is simplicity."
The "ways-of-the-Thesaurus" have been
purposely designed to constitute an "elegantly-productive," yet simple,
Catholic information processing system. The Thesaurus' functions include: classification
(indexing), filing (storage), and retrieval. It is planned to be: practical,
easy-to-use, and guarantee that, "accuracy in," will invariably produce
"accuracy out," for a decade or more.
The reliable workhorse of the Thesaurus is the
"Descriptor" which identifies and defines a specific subject, or type
of information that is to be individually classified then, filed in its own
exclusive, physical, or electronic depositor for later, dependable retrieval.
The "A-to-Z" universe of Catholic information
- - or the totality of all Descriptor - - can be labeled a "Thesaurus,"
"Controlled Vocabulary," or "Common Language."
This subsection discusses some of the key design
specifications, or built-in features, of the Thesaurus - - namely, "Authority
For Descriptors, Expandability, Flexibility, Efficiency, and Longevity."
A. Authority for Descriptors
The Catholic Church has always been exceedingly
careful in explicitly defining what information is deemed to be orthodox or
authentic. To comply with this tradition, the Thesaurus has been officially
examined, and granted an "Imprimatur." (This Imprimatur will be sought
when the text has been finalized.)
A brief background may assist overall perspective.
This author has made more than a dozen, stumbling attempts, over the past, several
decades to research and develop a "Thesaurus" on the Catholic religion.
Purpose: to efficiently classify, and file "actual information," for
subsequent retrieval and study.
All this personal, diligent, professional effort,
however, failed to achieve: adequate, definitional discernment; technical coherence;
and comprehensiveness of terminology. There were too many unresolved conflicts
of Descriptors, overlapping-of-concepts - - too much "fog" and ambiguity
Then finally, the "light went on!" The
wisdom of the old adage was proven once again - - "Too soon, we get old;
and too late, we get smart!" The idea emerged, "Why not design the
Thesaurus on the basis of an already-existing, authoritative, universe of Catholic
The answer then became immediately obvious. This
author had been very familiar with Fr. Hardon's "Modern Catholic Dictionary"
- - and readily selected it to furnish the supporting backbone for the Thesaurus.
This dictionary's universe of Descriptors, or classification-titles,
- authentic (the text carries an "Imprimatur"),
- clearly written,
- technically accurate,
- readily available as a published book.
Thesaurus users can conveniently "look up"
the precise definitions of religious Descriptors in this internationally recognized
resource book. This is a most-significant benefit, which can assure accurate
and consistent classification of Catholic information - - worldwide - - for
a long time into the future.
The "Introduction" of Father Hardon's
dictionary states: "The main focus of the dictionary, and the bulk of
its contents are definably, even exclusively, Roman Catholic. An effort was
made to include every significant concept of the Church's doctrine in faith
and morals, ritual and devotion, canon law and liturgy, mysticism and spirituality,
ecclesiastical history and organization" (p. ix).
Two additional Catholic books were used as resource
references: Rev. A. Tanquerey's, "The Spiritual Life" (The Newman
Press, 1930); and Rev. B. J. Groeschel's, "Spiritual Passages" (Crossroad,
The dominant thrust of this Thesaurus is focused
upon the terminology of authentic Catholicism. However, in an effort to adapt
it to the requirements of such applications as: large, remote-access databases;
electronic encyclopedias; CR-ROMs; and artificial-intelligence systems - - the
Thesaurus also encompasses some allied, secular (or non-religious) terminology.
Two examples of secular Descriptors are "Economics,"
and "Methodology." Both embrace large numbers of Subsumed Terms -
- a strategy to minimize the number of "start-up," or initially-published
Also, from an overall perspective, it's probable
that many Thesaurus-users will NOT be seriously interested in collecting secular-information
- - e.g., busy parish priests; parishioners; over-extended, teaching religious-brothers
and sisters; seminary librarians; sisters' library custodians.
On the other hand, it's also recognized that some
Thesaurus-users will likely require specialized, secular terminology for their
information processing needs; e.g., collegians, lay business persons, researchers,
teachers, theologians. As necessitated, such individuals can readily convert
some of the Subsumed Terms under "Economics," and "Methodology"
into "full-status" Descriptors.
To maintain consistency - - the secular "definitional
authority" - - of "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary;" G. C.
Merriam Co.; 1974 - - was employed as the preferred reference-source.
A fundamental necessity for a professional quality
thesaurus is the availability of potential "Expandability" - - as
a survival mechanism for the information processing system's continuous integrity,
and full operational power for a decade or more. Users are, thereby, freed
of the threat, or risk, of needing a major, time-consuming, expensive, reclassification/refiling
overhaul every few years.
This Thesaurus' "Expandability" is a
designed-in feature that's always-available, easy-to-apply, and non-disruptive
in ongoing, information-processing operations. Later-on, Section 7 F, "Glossary/Conventions,"
reviews the use of the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," to maintain control
during times of expansion.
"Expandability" can be implemented in
- As a general principle, it's best to "start
small;" - - implement only the minimum number of Descriptors required
to classify and file the information currently on hand.
Then, as needs grow, conservatively increase the the number of active Descriptors
in the system - - but only to the extent, of "spelled-out" requirements
- - for both classification and filing.
- "Expandability" into "new-subject-areas"
can be readily accomplished, at any time, by the activation of additional,
essential, "full-status" Descriptors.
- For clarification and speedy lookup, users
will be wise to add numerous, "favorite," or technically-needed
Subsumed Terms to their "Alphabetical List," with "See"
cross-references to their applicable, existing Descriptors.
- Subsumed Terms can be converted into additional,
"full-status" Descriptors, at any time, to cope with the ballooning
of information under the original "Descriptor-Parent." (Please
refer to Section 7 F, "Glossary/ Conventions.")
- Descriptors, existing in the Thesaurus,
can be renamed; and still retain their existing Subsumed Terms. Or conversely,
Subsumed Terms can also be shifted to new locations, under other Descriptors
- - as Subsumed Terms.
- If found advantageous, to suit special
requirements, the function of the "See," and "See Also"
cross-references may be altered.
- A valuable practice - - to expedite search
for, and retrieval of, specific information - - is to have numerous "pet
words" included in the Alphabetical List," with "See"
cross-references to their proper Descriptors.
- A periodic, "actual-use-of-information"
survey can yield rich dividends, particularly for an institution that has
a diverse user-population.
To upgrade serviceability, for example, a large collection of information,
under one broad-scope Descriptor, may merit several subdivisions under newly-created,
"full-status" Descriptors (via the conversion of Previously-Subsumed-Terms,
or the selection of entirely-new terminology).
The Thesaurus employs four tactics to foster ease
Tactic #1. The published Thesaurus sometimes
consolidates a large number of related, Subsumed Terms under one Descriptor.
Purpose: minimize the total number of Descriptors initially published in the
However, "Expandability" is readily available
through the conversion of selected Subsumed Terms into "full-status"
This procedure is particularly applicable to "technically-oriented"
Descriptors, with numerous Subsumed Terms. Such, broad-scope Descriptors will
likely require future subdivisions for the periodic, expanded coverage of its
Accordingly - - to remain abreast of technical
developments - - rather-frequent "Expandability" could be critically
important for: graduate students, scholars, theologians, and operators of large
Some representative, broad-scope Descriptors are:
"Atheism, Dissent-Doctrinal, Liberalism, Mass, Media, Methodology, Penance-Sacrament,
Psychotherapy, Secularism." Some Thesaurus-users, however, may find this
depth, consolidation of numerous Subsumed Terms, under a single Descriptor,
as satisfactory for their circumstances.
However, more-technically-oriented persons could
require an expanded number of Descriptors. This task can be easily accomplished
by the conversion of some Subsumed Terms into "full-status" Descriptors
- - or, the introduction of entirely-new Descriptors..
Tactic #2. This type of "Expandability"-potential
is the direct opposite of "Tactic #1." Deliberately, only a minimum
of Subsumed Terms is included under certain Descriptors. Yet, there is an almost-certain
probability that many users will desire the broadening of "Descriptor-coverage,"
by the activation of precisely-selected, additional Descriptors.
As readily realizable, this tactic helps restrict
the total number of Descriptors included in the initial "Alphabetical List."
Besides, it's just about impossible to guess at the ideal number of Subsumed
Terms to designate for certain Descriptors.
Two "minimal-Subsumed-Term" Descriptors
are: "Old Testament" and "New Testament." For example,
"Old Testament" does not subsume the names of "Books," nor
well-known persons; nor does "New Testament" subsume the names of
Gospel-authors, nor frequently-mentioned, Biblical characters. Each user will
probably desire a different selection of Subsumed Terms under each of these,
Besides, some users may prefer Descriptors, based
on the identification of "Book"- or "Gospel"-authors' names.
Alternately, the titles of "Books" or "Gospels" - - themselves
- - may be preferred as Descriptors. In all these cases, the Thesaurus' "Expandability"
feature, can implement whatever choices that individual users prefer.
Tactic # 3. To guarantee easy "Expandability"
from "any angle," or "in any new direction," the Thesaurus
does not have any rigidly-structured, internal framework, or "table of
organization." Consequently, in an oversimplified sense, each Descriptor
"does its own thing" - - it is an "only-one-of-its-kind"
classification-identity, and filing-depository.
There are no rigid rules or specifically-spelled-out
relationships between Descriptors. Accordingly, the Thesaurus does not constitute
graded or ranked series" .
The avoidance of a hierarchical design for Descriptors permits unlimited "Expandability."
There are no preconditions, that must be satisfied, before new Descriptors,
or converted Subsumed Terms, can be activated. Descriptors can be imagined
to be individual, free-flying "space-ships" - - unconnected,
from any other word in the system. Thus, users can face the "unknowable
future" - - with full confidence in their unrestricted ability to
"expand, or not expand."
Nonetheless, the Descriptors - - just as they're
published, or with minor adjustments - - can provide a practical, and versatile,
information-processing system, for many users to cope with their future, information-processing
Tactic # 4. The Thesaurus' "Expandability"
allows the start-up of a system, without any specified number of Descriptors.
Each user can select only those Descriptors that are deemed essential "to
get going." Subsumed Terms can be added, deleted, even converted into additional
"full-status" Descriptors. "See," and "See Also"
cross-references are "wide open" for additions, or deletions.
The overall benefit of these four tactics - - to
handle minutely-controlled "Expandability" - - assures the peace-of-mind
that the "unknowable future," with its "inevitable twists and
turns," can be easily dealt with.
For illustration, any "new" words, introduced
by the 1993, "Catechism of the Catholic Church," can be handled in
at least three, different ways: * "folded-into," or embraced, as Subsumed
Terms by one of the Descriptors, in the "Alphabetical List;" * elevation
of some Presently-Subsumed-Terms into "full-status" Descriptors; *
creation of entirely-new Descriptors, with their own arrays of Subsumed Terms.
All changes, of course, must be promptly added
to the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy" to insure the maintenance of an up-to-date
"Audit Trail." For further details, please review Section, 7 F, "Glossary/Conventions."
The Thesaurus can contribute importantly to the
healthy growth of an information-processing system - - with the assurance of
Its: "Authority For Descriptors, Expandability, Flexibility, Efficiency,
and Longevity" - - for a wide range of individuals and commercial entrepreneurs.
Some potential beneficiaries can include:
- high-schoolers and collegians, who want
to save clippings and course-notes;
- individual, religious brothers, clergy,
and sisters, who need a "quick way" to "save" religious
information - - "on the run," due to their extra-busy schedules
of apostolic work;
- laity, who are researching special, religious
- theologians, whose particular research-specialty,
and writing, may span a thirty-year period;
- librarians, who face such bewildering circumstances
as "lack of an adequate budget," "no staffers for assistance,"
shortage of available time, diversity of responsibilities;
- personal-computer users, who can collect
and file their own quotations from religious literature, as well as "download"
selected extracts from online databases, or CD-ROMs;
- courageous and religiously-motivated entrepreneurs,
who can utilize the Thesaurus' Descriptors to classify (or index): commercial,
remote-access databases; computerized artificial-intelligence systems; CD-ROMs
of religious encyclopedias.
In actual practice, the potential to accommodate
smooth "Expandability," will overlap the Thesaurus' other attributes
of "Flexibility, Efficiency, and Longevity."
A hypothetical illustration can indicate some of
the ways in which these Thesaurus-properties interlace.
An imaginary couple, in their early thirties, rearing
two grade-school children, have their "hands full" in coping daily
with the multi-faceted duties of earning a living, and being good parents to
their children. There is not enough spare time to develop a systematic study
Both husband and wife are grateful to God for their
multiple blessings. They are also motivated by a deep, reverent conviction
to, at least, collect the "stray," or "random pieces" of
information on "spirituality," that they "stumble across."
While their children were still young, they perused
the Thesaurus to select a maximum of five Descriptors to start-up a "life-long,"
personal, religious-information-classification, and filing system. They selected,
and labeled five manila folders with these Descriptors:
- `Statistical Monstrosity' (Mathematical
For the next 35 years, they simply collected, and filed into one of the
five, labeled folders, such information on "spirituality" as:
noteworthy copies of the Parish Sunday-Bulletin; magazine articles; small-group-discussion
handouts; daily-newspaper stories; notes from week-end retreats; beautiful,
holy pictures; a documentation of the miracles, that occurred at Lourdes;
some of their children's compositions, that were written for religious
classes; small pamphlets, picked up from the Church rack; an especially-touching
letter from a family friend upon the death of the husband's mother, etc.
Upon retirement, at age 65, the husband discovers
enough leisure time to take a second look at their accumulated information on
spirituality. Their five manila folders were bulging over. With a sense of
curiosity, and a keen desire to learn more about spirituality, the couple decided
to subdivide their accumulated collection of information into more-manageable
"bundles," or files.
And, after more than a three-decades' lapse, they
dusted off their original copy of the Thesaurus. They were intent on selecting
additional Descriptors to develop a more finely focused information system on
"spirituality." They discovered this wide-array of Candidate-Descriptors,
still readily available in their 30-plus-year-old copy of the Thesaurus:
RANGE OF DESCRIPTORS
DIVINE-DRAWING-GOOD-FROM-EVIL DIVINE WORK
(Please see Observations below
- - (Observations about "Statistical Monstrosity:"
- it subsumes "Extraordinary Occurrence,
Little Miracle, Mathematical Improbability, Unbelievable Occurrence;"
- this expression was coined by Archbishop
F. J. Sheen to indicate Providentially-influenced events; i.e., occurrences
far beyond the possibility of pure "accident," or sheer random-events;
- out-of-the-ordinary occurrences in life
can be classified, and filed under this Descriptor; e.g., real-life accounts
from newspapers and magazines;
- objective of this Descriptor: demonstrate
or prove "God's Presence" in the midst of our daily affairs;
- some "Related Descriptors" include:
"Cheerfulness, Divine Work, Faith, God's-Love-Humanity, Grace, Hope,
Love, Miracle, Mysticism, Optimism, Providence, Trust-Providence."
These supplementary comments about "Expandability"
may be helpful:
- No minimum or maximum number of Descriptors
is required for the start-up of an information-processing system.
- "Descriptors-Hyphenated" offer
the unique advantage of consolidating related Descriptors "into one continuous
series," in the "Alphabetical List," when they share a common
prefix or keyword.
Benefit: the user is enabled to survey the associated facets of the same subject,
and thereby, obtain an overview of the total subject-area being researched;
e.g., "God's Attributes, God's Authority, God's Existence," etc.;
accordingly, the root-word of "Descriptors-Hyphenated" is usually
positioned as the prefix.
- Recently-discovered information can be
classified under newly-activated Descriptors, without disturbing previously-classified,
and filed "non-related" data.
- When the quantity of classified-and-filed information becomes unwieldy
under its original, "wide-scope" or "gross" Descriptor,
one-or-more Subsumed Terms can be converted into "full-status"
Descriptors. Then, the previously-accumulated data can be reclassified,
and refiled under the various, "sub-divisional," newly-created
- As a user becomes more precise, or "more
technical" about the classification of certain subjects, it's quite normal
to periodically reclassify the collected information into more-technically-precise
For example, the "grossness" of the Descriptor, "Psychotherapy,"
will probably require conversion of several Subsumed Terms into newly-activated,
"full-status" Descriptors - - as a user's interest in the emotional,
and/or psychological, aspects of religion increases.
- As a final thought on "Expandability,"
a thesis can be developed that an ideal Thesaurus is never completely finished.
Why? As a user's knowledge of, and interest in, holiness grows, the surveyed
area of information expands wider and wider. Thus, there is a never-ending
need to: -- activate additional Descriptors for classification, and filing,
of newly-acquired information; -- increase the number of Subsumed Terms, "See,"
and "See Also" cross-references, to speed up search-sessions.
On the point that the "Thesaurus will never
be entirely completed," Fr. Hardon comments in his dictionary, "No
dictionary is ever complete, and the present one makes no claim to comprehensiveness.
There are too many terms in what may be called the Catholic vocabulary to even
cover them all, let alone give an extensive treatment of each one (p., viii)."
"Flexibility" means, "capable of
responding or conforming to changing or new situations" .
In planning the design of an information system,
it's wise to build-in the technical feature of "Flexibility." Why?
To enable the system to cope successfully with the "sure-to-come,"
but as yet unknown, cultural, technological, and religious concepts.
It's interesting to speculate, nonetheless, that
most of the required alterations, over the next decade, will emerge primarily
from users' shifts in focus and priority - - rather than from any significant
revamping of culture, technology, or religion.
The authentic tenets of Catholicism stretch back
for thousands of years. So, it's most unlikely that any radically-new changes
will occur soon. However, as a person grows in holiness, the continuous operation
of divine guidance and grace will definitely deepen one's understanding of the
various aspects of religion.
Consequently, some of the previously-used, broad-scope
Descriptors, in the information-processing endeavor, will no longer adequately
satisfy the yearning to know more, and still more, about God, and the appropriate
ways to conscientiously serve His will.
Herein lies the continuous, driving force to periodically
upgrade precision in classification - - e.g., to employ more, technically-precise
Descriptors to assist one's grasping the nuances of the "Illuminative Way."
"Flexibility" is therefore required,
to permit the ongoing selection of the most-fitting Descriptors, to keep pace
with one's growth in holiness, and other religious subjects.
The "Flexibility" of the Thesaurus is
such that all previously-classified and stored information will remain intact,
while newly-activated Descriptors (- - as taken from the Thesaurus' "Alphabetical
List," or converted from Previously-Subsumed Terms, or even entirely-new
words - -) can readily classify, and facilitate filing of newly-acquired data.
In some situations, the fundamental assignment
of an information-processing procedure can change significantly over a five-year
span. For illustration, a database, to serve the training needs of novices
in a religious order (or school of spirituality), was initially designed as
a teaching-tool for the basics of the "rule." Then, after several
years' success with the system, supplementary information can be integrated
into the database, for tutoring users in spiritual growth; e.g., the "Three
The Thesaurus' Flexibility is also enhanced by
the absence of any hierarchical constraints. As additional Descriptors are
implemented, it is unnecessary to be concerned about "higher-level,"
or "lower-level," word-relationships, for the Descriptors already
Flexibility is further demonstrated by the lack
of any mandated, minimum number of Descriptors to start-up a viable, information-processing
system. A grade-school youngster may have a successful, Two-Descriptor system,
with just two shoeboxes, labeled: "God," and "Reward-Heaven."
Then, as this youngster proceeds through high school,
and perhaps college, the number of required Descriptors will undoubtedly increase.
And, the shoeboxes can be replaced, in turn, by: * a scrap book, * manila folders,
* some file drawers, * possibly a personal computer.
The important feature is that the Thesaurus' "Flexibility"
will permit continuous, and non-conflicting classification, and filing, of all
desired information, from grade-school into retirement.
It's also conceivable that the Thesaurus could
be implemented as an adjunct, religious-library "card catalog," or
"subject index." With some degree of innovation, the "library-card-catalog"
could be entirely computerized - - i.e., lookup of the catalog could be delegated
to a computer terminal.
A hybrid system could also be designed, whereby
the manually-maintained "Alphabetical List" could be transferred physically
to 3" x 5" cards; along with such, additional information as: author's
names, publication title and date, subject classifications, library coding,
"Efficiency" is "effective operation,
as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, and
The design-specification of "Efficiency"
can, in an overall sense, describe the sum-total of all the advantages, or
benefits, offered by the Thesaurus, for Catholic information-processing. "Efficiency"
portends accuracy in performance, and agility in a broad range of applications,
involving the classification, storage, and retrieval of information.
The Thesaurus' "Efficiency" is demonstrated
by such features as:
- Classification (or indexing) is straightforward.
Descriptors are listed alphabetically, along with their "Subsumed Terms,"
and "See Also" cross-references. The "Alphabetical List"
also cites all "lookup" words, and their "See" cross-references
to assigned Descriptors.
- New Descriptors can be added to the information
processing system in various ways:
- selecting the most appropriate Descriptors from the "Alphabetical List;"
- converting some Subsumed Terms into Descriptors;
- introducing entirely-new Descriptors.
- The technical definition of most religious
Descriptors can be obtained from Fr. Hardon's published dictionary.
- Subsumed Terms perform the important, by-product
function of helping to further "define," the overall scope of information,
to be classified under their respective Descriptors.
- Faultless retrieval will be guaranteed
for decades - - IF there is accurate/consistent classification, and filing
of all incoming information, into each Descriptor's, discrete, manual-or-electronic
- A significant contribution to overall "Efficiency"
(coherence, precision, and utility) of the information processing system,
will be the patient and exacting research to select the ideal Descriptors
from those cited: in the "Alphabetical List;" or, in an alternate
source of authoritative, technically-correct words.
- In all probabilities, additional Descriptors
will be required, as a user's information-collection grows. For illustration,
an increased awareness and understanding of Catholicism, will usually necessitate
that some of the original, broad-scope, "grossly" classified, and
filed data, be refined, or subdivided, under "more-specific" Descriptors;
- Looking-up one's favorite word in the "Alphabetical
List" will normally identify it either as a Descriptor, or a Subsumed
Term, that is cross-referenced to its "Descriptor-Parent."
- When one's "pet" word is not
listed as a Descriptor, or cross-referenced to a "Descriptor-Parent,"
searching for its antonym or synonym can usually identify its correct classification.
- Failure to find one's favorite-and-needed
word - - after several attempts, using different query-strategies - - will
justify the creation of an "entirely-new" Descriptor, along with
its Subsumed Terms, for classification, and filing of this "new"
This "new" Descriptor should then be added, in its proper order
on the "Alphabetical List," and on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy"
- - to function as an "Audit-Trail" reference.
- Lookup- or, search-technology, can be readily
upgraded to more-efficient levels of both manual, and computerized sophistication.
A broad assortment of computer programs is available for: "query,"
"search engines," "Boolean-logic strategies," relational-database-lookup,
- The prime purpose for "See-Also"
references is to broaden the research-perspective of Thesaurus-users, whose
imaginations may be stimulated into further inquiry byby the citation of related
- The Thesaurus' Descriptors foster simplicity
in filing (or storage), whether employing manual or electronic methods. The
degree of filing-sophistication includes: shoeboxes, manila folders, file
drawers, floppy disks, hard disks, disk packs, large databases, CD-ROMs, and
- Regardless of storage medium, all the information
on each Descriptor resides in its "one-and-only," discrete, physical
or electronic depository. This policy prevents the storage of identical-subject
material in two-or-more, different files.
- Periodically, it's advisable to scrutinize
the information on hand to assess its current value - - with such strategies
- elimination of obsolete, and redundant
- implementation of a summary format,
to digest the main issues; and, if advisable, discard the original, bulky
- development of a more-astute understanding
of the subject, via the process of abstracting the important information
in the files.
The Thesaurus can thereby become an efficient and
powerful medium to assist personal growth in holiness. The following illustrations
cite some additional possibilities for consideration:
- Devoting research-time to become familiar
with the Thesaurus' Descriptors - - and their definitions - - can assist users
in properly interpreting the sometimes-ambiguous wording, encountered in reading
some spiritual literature.
- Writers' consistent usage of the Thesaurus'
Descriptors will clarify the focus of their reasoning, thereby, improving
their communication's effectiveness; or, intellectual/affective throughput
- Personal spirituality will be nurtured
through application of the correct, technical Descriptors to grasp ages-old
concepts about holiness, e.g.
- Emotion, Intellect, Soul, Will;
- Conscience, Depression, Guilt, Sin;
- Justice, Morality, Punishment-Hell, Reward-Heaven;
- Commandments-Ten, Duty, Peace-Human, Virtuous Life.
- Through the prayerful classification of,
and filing of, information about the Almighty's "Divine Work" -
- in both the "Spiritual Order" and "Temporal Order" -
- Thesaurus users will probably benefit from the by-product of sensing personal
peace, despite the ongoing trials of everyday living.
- A dedicated analysis of the Thesaurus'
Descriptors and their Subsumed Terms - - guided by the definitions in Fr.
Hardon's dictionary - - will gradually produce a pervading conviction about
the logical "common sense" of Catholicism; e.g., its insights into:
human nature, intellectual acuity, and guidance toward a beneficial, philosophy-of-life.
After thousands of years, day-to-day, practical experience in many cultures,
and under diverse world conditions, the Church's authentic tenets teach us
to convincingly analyze, clearly define, and address every phase of living
a "Virtuous Life."
- the rules of logic;
- many of the causes for emotional illness;
- peace obtainable from forgiveness, and love of an enemy;
- the intellectual, emotional, and religious advantages of a good marriage;
- the inspired dedication of serving God's will in "Vowed Spirituality;"
- the bodily, psychological, and spiritual illnesses that emanate
from "Behavior-Evil, Lust, and Capital Sins."
- The Thesaurus augments the now-pervasive
use of the personal computer - - by many persons, ranging from grade-school
children, through adulthood; and by now, retired folks, as well. All aspects
of information-processing have been simplified and empowered by the ready-availability
of a comprehensive assortment of relatively-easy-to-use software-programs.
With patience and dedicated study, the mechanics of computer-usage can be
adequately-mastered for personal applications. What's imperative is to consciously
set aside "adult-to-middle-age" fears; and, the potential embarrassment
of "losing-face." Just "start from scratch" in imitation
of the grade-school youngsters.
Many types of entirely-private, computer-tutoring programs - - some operable
on personal computers - - are available for individual coaching on "how
to get started." Also, some "adult-learning-classes" provide
training, and "hands-on" practice in personal-computer operation.
- Here is a generalized pattern for the computerized
utilization of the Thesaurus' Descriptors.
- Select several Descriptors, from the "Alphabetical List,"
to start-up a simple, information-processing system.
- Enter (keyboard) several, short, informational extracts from
classical literature, into the database of Descriptor-files.
- Periodically, lookup individual Descriptors, and study the filed
information, by reading the text on the computer's monitor (or cathode ray tube).
- A wide range of database-software is commercially available for
more sophisticated applications.
- Studying the Bible, via a personal computer,
is now a doable undertaking, through the medium of easily obtainable software.
Some commercially-available programs include the entire text of various translations
of the Bible, along with specialized "Bible-Utility" software, such
as: thesaurus, word-processing for copying Biblical text, cross-references
to over 50,000 links, or chains for locating specified words/ passages, etc.
Surprisingly, the purchase price for this "sophisticated-Bible-software"
is relatively modest.
For accuracy, authenticity, and comprehensiveness in studying the "Computerized
Bible," the Thesaurus' Descriptors can function as the "authorized,"
or controlling overview.
Users can select a group of Thesaurus-Descriptors to make a start. But, in
all probabilities, many more "new" descriptors will be required
for a worthwhile, personal study of the Bible. Reason: the Thesaurus' Descriptors
- - "Old Testament" and "New Testament" - - purposely,
have very few Subsumed Terms. Hence, they are presently inadequate for the
creation of a worthwhile, Bible study-program. Fortunately, many, commercially
available, computerized Bible-study programs are available for guidance.
- Personal computers can utilize the Thesaurus'
Descriptors to interface smoothly with the rapidly emerging technology of
CD-ROMs. Selected Descriptors can be employed to function as "files."
And, as desired, extracts from the CD-ROMs immense storage capacity (i.e.,
300,000 pages of text) can be readily copied into the Descriptors' files.
In the intermediate-term future, it's entirely feasible for the Thesaurus'
Descriptors to be utilized in the classification (or indexing) of Catholic
information on CD-ROMs; and large, remote-access, computerized databases.
- Theoretically, a computerized, "artificial-intelligence"
( AI, or "expert") system on "Spiritual Growth," could
be researched, developed, and commercially sold on: floppy disks, or CD-ROMs.
One, possible design for an AI system could function with two, semi-discrete
- a foundational, or "lower-level" database of the "basics"
of Catholic spirituality, classified by the Thesaurus' Descriptors;
- an "upper-level" database of specialized, technical
information on "professional counseling" for "Spiritual Growth."
Undoubtedly, a number of additional, technical Descriptors, would be required
to expand upon such Thesaurus-Descriptors as: "Divine Inspiration, Holiness,
Psychology, Psychotherapy, Spiritual Direction."
- In computerized practice, the user of the "artificial-intelligence"
system would follow the promptings of the "upper-level," "machine-to-user"
dialog on the computer's monitor (or screen).
- then, as coached by the "artificial-intelligence" software-program,
the user would "call up" the specific information, stored under various
Descriptors, in both the "lower-level's" basic information, and the
"upper-level's," specialized or professional data.
- the potential efficiency of the Thesaurus' Descriptors for usage
with advanced, computerized technology;
- the vast potential for authentic application of the Descriptors;
- the challenge for sincere, qualified persons to research, and
develop "artificial-intelligence" systems on the various aspects of
- The following, real-life, practical applications
prove that "artificial-intelligence" systems have been successfully
designed, and profitably employed for the past decade or more:
- repair of electric locomotives;
- specialized, medical diagnosis;
- portfolio-management in a bank's, trust department;
- process control in the manufacture of chemicals;
- "Grolier's," electronic "Academic American Encyclopedia"
can be considered an "artificial-intelligence" system, in the sense
that it is structured into two levels, or inter-related databases:
- a "lower-level" database of 33,000 articles;
- an "upper-level" index (technically, not a thesaurus)
of 67,000 Subject-Descriptors, and cross references. (Please see "CD-Rom"
in Section 7-F, "Glossary/Conventions," for further details.)
A critical requirement for any "evergreen"
Thesaurus is "Longevity - long duration of individual life
or long continuance"
Premise: users will exercise persistent diligence
in: careful classification of all collected information, judicious expansion,
accurate filing, and attentive maintenance. In a nutshell, the Thesaurus has
been designed to "keep up with the times" - for a long time into the
Some of the envisioned benefits of the Thesaurus'
"Longevity" - - i.e., its efficient usability for a decade or more
- - include:
- The uninterrupted availability, and quick
retrieval of all filed information.
- Unlimited expansion-feasibility to either:
subdivide some of the information already collected; or, to create entirely
new Descriptors for the classification, filing, and retrieval of "new-subject"
- Avoidance of the waste of time and expense
required to continuously reinvent new, "home-made" Descriptors,
and then be forced to reclassify and refile previously-collected information.
- The Descriptor, "Divine-Governance-Creation," can illustrate
the potential "Longevity" of the Thesaurus' recommended procedures:
- Initially, this Descriptor's three-word-combination may seem
somewhat strange, but its concept is readily understandable, when each of its
terms is individually reflected upon.
- Its comprehensive scope can be a great advantage to many Thesaurus
users, who do not desire any further informational subdivision in an early-stage
of developing a processing system.
- To assist the immediate recognition of important, allied subject-areas,
the number of "See-Also" Descriptors can be increased.
- Additional terms can be subsumed under It, at any time.
- Its Descriptor-Name can be changed to some other expression,
and include all or some of its Presently-Subsumed Terms.
- As a general rule, the initial selection
of a broad-scope, or very-inclusive Descriptor - - such as "Divine-Governance-Creation"
- - is advisable for several reasons:
- The ease and simplicity of starting
up an important Descriptor, with a very-broad or encompassing scope (i.e.,
this strategy eliminates the immediate need for extensive research on the
structuring of "subdivisions of information," during the throes
of implementing a new system).
- The assurance of knowing that all related
information is classified and filed in one depository.
- As additional information is collected,
experience can guide the required subdivision of data into "narrower-scope,"
or more-precise, Descriptors.
- The Descriptor, "Divine-Governance-Creation,"
might serve satisfactorily for a number of years, until the bulkiness of
Its stored-information becomes unwieldy. Then, some of Its Subsumed Terms
(e.g., "Control-Universe, Design-Creation, God's Economy") can
be established as new, individual Descriptors, for the classification and
filing of their respective portions of the total, collected information.
- It's critical, of course, that all changes
in terminology be quickly and accurately registered on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy."
Reason: all the information removed from the original, "Divine-Governance-Creation"
file can be traced to their reassigned Descriptors.
- A most-helpful practice - - in the context
of "Longevity" - - is promptness and decisiveness in making all
necessary changes in reclassification and refiling.
This management-principle will prevent confusion, as to where specific information
is classified and filed. Contrariwise, procrastination - - in deciding upon
clean-cut delineations in classification - - will soon generate: frustration,
waste of time and expense, and ambiguous or duplicated classification.
Result: eventually a great deal of time and expense will be required for clarification,
reclassification, and refiling of collected information.
The key principle is to insist that "each specific piece of information"
is accurately classified under just one Descriptor, and filed correctly.
Experience indicates that many information processing
systems start off: on shaky premises, and without clearly defined goals; with
too many imprecisely selected Descriptors; implementation of ambiguous procedures;
limited research on the required amount of time, cost, and work, to get the
operation "up to speed;" etc.
A sound, start-up, management procedure can be:
- be careful and consistent in classification
- prefer smallness and accuracy to premature
overextension, with its inevitable ambiguity, confusion, and frustration;
- continuously analyze the experience that
has been gained; and carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of
contemplated changes, before final decisions are made and implemented;
- after adequate research, design all changes
"cleanly" and "sharply;" do not permit "gray,"
or "in-between," areas, that are certain to generate ambiguity;
- promptly make necessary decisions to implement
- strive for precision at all times - - "slowly
and accurately" is to be vastly preferred over "fast and sloppy"
(i.e., "GIGO: garbage in, generates garbage out").
In essence, it's wise to adopt the old carpenter's
motto: "It's best to MEASURE TWICE, but saw ONLY ONCE." The big advantage
of this type of operating policy is that the "ways of the Thesaurus"
will provide above-average proficiency, in the management of information processing.
In perspective, then, it's more-usual-than-not,
for an information processing system to start, in the realm of uncertainty.
However, after a few years of actual experience in carefully adhering to the
Thesaurus' conventions, an accurate and practical system will gradually emerge.
It's prudent to plan for the 10-year life span
of an information-processing system on Catholicism. A Thesaurus-user can be
assured that its features - - of "Expandability, Flexibility, Efficiency,
and Longevity" - - offer the assurance, that the "unknowable future,"
can be faced with confidence.
It's wise, too, that during the information-processing
system's start-up, and early-development to:
- Initially adopt the Thesaurus' "gross"
or "broad-scope" Descriptors for start-up classification and filing.
- Gradually develop some "rules"
- A prescribed-limitation on the maximum amount of collected information
that will be permitted under any one Descriptor.
- A mandate to periodically subdivide "over-sized" depositories
of information, under existing "Broad-Scope-Descriptors," into more
manageable sized, "narrow-scope," new Descriptors. These new Descriptors
- - which are entirely discrete - - are nonetheless related to the logic and
definition of the originating Descriptor.
- An ideal way to solve the "bulging-over," Descriptor
file (which has become too "gross" for precision in classification
and storage) is to elevate some of its Subsumed Terms" into "full-status"
Descriptors - - that permit subdivisional classification and filing.
This "rule" will beget two benefits.
Reasoning: the overall content, of the originating
"Descriptor-Parent," will be supplemented by the subsidiary, additional
information that has been classified and filed under new Descriptors. In other
words, the overview definition and logic of the "Descriptor-Parent"
is maintained and extended into the new, discrete Descriptors (i.e., which were
previously Subsumed Terms).
- More-manageable classification/filing;
- The overall, purpose of the Thesaurus is to classify all Catholic information
under one, integrated universe of individual Descriptors. This ideal is assisted
by converting some Subsumed Terms into "full-status," new Descriptors
- - when the filing, or storage, of information under the original "Descriptor-Parent"
In sum, the Thesaurus' "Longevity-Benefit"
offers the prospect, that accurate classification, and correct filing, will
assure the quick and accurate retrieval of all collected information for decades
into the future.
Finally, the prospect, of the Thesaurus' "Longevity,"
is an exceedingly powerful incentive for its correct and consistent use - -
by "small" and "large" collectors of Catholic information.
On at least a few occasions, just about every information collector has sadly
wailed, "I definitely remember reading and filing that critical `piece
of information,' I'd give `a million dollars' right now, if I could just lay
my hands on it!"
F. Glossary / Conventions
This section is a potpourri of glossary, conventions,
and "left-over" items. In designing the Thesaurus, the guiding principles
were: authentic Catholicism, simplicity, practicality, ease-of-use, and technical
accuracy. The Thesaurus has adopted these conventions, which are cited in alphabetical
The single, alphabetized listing of all words cited in the Thesaurus:
Descriptors, Subsumed Terms, "look up" or search words.
The published "Alphabetical List" becomes the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy,"
when new Descriptors are added to it.
An accurate, prompt, and complete record of every CHANGE that is made
on the original published Thesaurus. All the notations are written on
- Date of alteration.
- Alteration made.
- Brief description of revised status.
Example - - using the Descriptor, "Being:"
- Date: xx/xx/xx;
- "Life" has been established
as a "full-status" Descriptor; and has also been deleted from
- All collected information on "Life"
has been transferred from "Being" to: the Descriptor and file,
The purpose of the "Audit-Trail" is to facilitate retracing
all alterations back to the "definition," of the original Descriptor,
as initially published in the "Alphabetical List."
Benefit: quick and factual resolution of all questions about ambiguity,
or misfiling of the same type of "defined" information, under
two, separate Descriptors, etc.
A "compact disk - - read-only-memory;" which is an electronic
medium, somewhat similar to an audio-compact-disk. An estimated 300,000
pages of text can be filed, or stored, on a typical 4 3/4"-diameter
One such application is Grolier's, "Academic
American Encyclopedia," electronic disk, which contains 33,000 articles,
and over 67,000 cross-references; as well as computer, printout-capability.
"To arrange in classes
to assign (as a document to a category)" .
Controlled Vocabulary and Common Language
Both of these phrases are synonymous with "Thesaurus." They
represent a technically chosen universe of autonomous Descriptors, that
are designed to precisely define, and prescribe, the entire breadth of
a particular subject; e.g., "Catholicism."
"A discrete body of information in computer storage" .
More generally, "Database" embraces any collection of classified
information that is stored either physically in shoeboxes, folders, drawers;
or, electronically in a computer, or CD-ROM, file.
Please refer to "Modern Catholic Dictionary;"
Rev. J. A. Hardon, S. J.; Doubleday & Co.; 1980.
Please refer to "Webster's New Collegiate
Dictionary;" G. & C. Merriam Co.; 1974.
"A word or phrase (as an index term)
used to identify an item (as a subject or document), especially in an
information, retrieval system" .
The authentic definitions of essentially
all religious Descriptors can be found in Fr. Hardon's dictionary. Secular
Descriptors are essentially "common-everyday-words," as defined
in Webster's dictionary. Obscure jargon has been avoided.
A Descriptor, that has been selected from
the "Alphabetical List," and activated to function as a physical
or electronic file (i.e., depository) for the storage, of "actual
information" on the Descriptor's subject.
When a "Published-Thesaurus Descriptor"
is activated, place the symbol "(F)" in the left margin of the
"Thesaurus-Master-Copy," beside the Descriptor, to specify that
a file has been activated or implemented.
When a new (non-published) word, or a "Published-Subsumed-Term"
is activated as a full-status Descriptor:
- enter it on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy"
in alphabetical order;
- cite the date of implementation;
- give a brief explanation of the
- add this new Descriptor, in alphabetical
order, to the "Descriptor-Activated-List," which is discussed
Descriptor- Activated- List
This is a separate-and-distinct, alphabetical
listing of all "Descriptors-Activated." It is designed to function
as a quick reference to all Activated Descriptors and files that are in
actual use. It can also provide help with "Audit-Trail" research.
Descriptor- Grammatical- Article
All articles (e.g., a, an, the) are deleted
from Descriptors for two reasons:
- save unnecessarily-wasted space;
- assist quick, "one-glance"
recognition of the entire Descriptor, during a lookup or search session.
A word's "key," "base,"
or "root" of a multi-word Descriptor is generally featured as
the prefix; i.e., listed first, or left-most. Accordingly, adjectives
and other modifiers are positioned as suffixes, to the right of the "keyword;"
and connected by a hyphen. Illustration, "Peace-Human."
Hyphens link separate words into a single
Multi-Word-Descriptor to facilitate quick, visual recognition, and conceptualization
as "one-word." This feature is especially valuable for simplicity
and speed, during lookup, especially when using a computer. After a little
practice, the intellect "sees" Multi-Word-Descriptors as "single"
However, the proper names of persons, countries,
locations, etc. are not hyphenated.
In most instances, the keyword is featured
as the prefix, with its adjective or companion word, being treated as
Reasons for this convention:
- consolidate related Descriptors,
into "series," in the "Alphabetical List," to facilitate
research during "lookup-sessions;"
- avoid the miscellaneousness of
hordes of Descriptors being placed behind such adjectives as "Holy;"
- minimize look-up time, as users
become familiar with the Thesaurus' Descriptors; e.g., "Trinity-Holy."
A Descriptor, when identified as the "parent,"
or "owner," of its assigned, Subsumed Terms.
"To arrange in order for preservation
a device (as a folder, case, or cabinet) by means of
which papers are kept in order" . In this Thesaurus, "file"
is employed in the sense of both a verb and noun. "Store and storage"
are considered synonymous with "file."
"File" or "storage"
includes both physical and electronic media - - shoebox, manila folder,
file drawer; - - file on a disk (floppy, hard, CD-Rom).
In computer usage: - - an electronic "file"
can represent several different concepts; e.g., an individual piece of
correspondence, a chapter in a book, a "file" of accounts-receivable
records, a specified portion of a database - - "memory" and
"storage" usually designate the composite of all activated "files."
In this Thesaurus, a physical or electronic
"file" has a "one-on-one," direct relationship with
just ONE Descriptor. A single "file" on ONE Descriptor, however,
can include a large volume of information; e.g., hundreds of articles,
individual pamphlets, course notes, clipped pages from religious books,
handwritten comments, etc.
See Also: Thesaurus', published "Alphabetical
List," which identifies all potential Descriptor-Files by the symbol,
"Lookup," and "search,"
are deemed to be synonymous.
There are two general types of "lookup:"
- The most-common, users' purpose
for "lookup," in an established information-processing system,
is the identification and/or retrieval of information.
This lookup procedure can be greatly speeded up by referral to the "Descriptor-Activated-List"
of implemented, or currently used, Descriptors. These activated Descriptors
contain "actual information," that has already been classified
-- Many words, that are "looked-up," in the "Alphabetical
List," will actually be Subsumed Terms, which cite a "See"
cross-reference to their applicable "Descriptor-Parents."
- A less-frequent type of "lookup"
is a perusal of the Thesaurus', published "Alphabetical List"
of Descriptors to select one-or-more, additional Descriptors for activation.
The first section of the Thesaurus, which
provides: an overview, Its purposes, design-specification, etc.
During a "Lookup," "See"
cites a cross-reference to one or more specific Descriptors.
As needed, "favorite," "lookup"
words can be liberally inserted, alphabetically, into the "Alphabetical
List" of the Thesaurus. This practice will yield handsome, time-saving
dividends, until such time, as users become more familiar with the "names"
of the actual Descriptors employed by the Thesaurus.
All such additions of "favorite"
words should undertake a two-step procedure:
- When warranted, elevate the selected,
"favorite" word to the full-status of a Descriptor; enter
it alphabetically on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy;" cite all
its: "Subsumed Terms," and "See Also" references.
- When the "favorite" word
does NOT merit becoming a "full-status" Descriptor, the user
can subsume it under its most-applicable proper "Descriptor-Parent."
Some, broad-scope words possess such encompassing
meaning, that the Thesaurus subsumes them under several, different Descriptors.
For example, the "See" citation, for "Bias-Of-Secularism,"
cross-references a host of different Descriptors.
Users can also adapt the "See"
operation to other, specialized functions.
It designates cross-references to one-or-more
Descriptors. Purpose: encourage broader research, during a "lookup"
session. There is no rigid rule for the selection of the specific "See-Also"
Descriptors, cited in the Thesaurus.
Antonyms and synonyms are frequently listed,
along with a variety of other Descriptors, designed to stimulate further
Users are encouraged to insert additional
"See Also" terms wherever they wish. Of course, all changes
should be recorded on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy."
See: Symbol: "
Abbreviation for terms that are "subsumed"
- - i.e., "to classify within a larger category or under a general
Subsumed Terms are regarded as subsidiary
to, or included under, the "broad definition" of their "Descriptor-Parents."
For special circumstances, users can select
one or both, of the following procedures for the alteration of Subsumed
- Generously add Subsumed Terms to
fully "spell-out" the overall, unique "definition"
of each Descriptor-Parent," as interpreted by the user;
- Delete selected Subsumed Terms,
from under one "Descriptor-Parent," and subsume then under
An important realization to bear in mind,
is that, any additions or deletions of Subsumed Terms, will modify the
overall intellectual "definition" of the "Descriptor-Parent,"
as originally published in the Thesaurus. Of course, all changes are to
be promptly recorded on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy."
Designates a Descriptor that can become
a physical or electronic "file"-depository.
When a Descriptor is activated to become
a "working file," two procedural steps are recommended:
- enter the three-part "identification-information"
- - cited under "Audit-Trail" - - onto the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy;"
- post the newly-activated Descriptor
to the "Descriptor-Activated-List;" as well as to the "Alphabetical
List," if not already there.
The quotation marks indicate an informal,
or non-standard phrase; e.g., "Statistical Monstrosity."
These "non-quotation" parenthesis:
* enclose an explanatory clarification; * or cite a Subsumed Term, that
is embraced by a specific Descriptor; e.g., Reverence (Honor).
Identifies a series of "Descriptors-Hyphenated,"
all of which have the same prefix-word; e.g., "Christ's-(Suffixes)"
includes "Christ's Ascension, Christ's Death," etc. This symbol
appears in "See," and "See Also" cross-references.
Also - - please review the above: "Descriptor-Hyphenated,"
Designates an "activated," physical,
or electronic file of stored information.
To assist in the "Audit-Trail"
function, an "(F)" symbol is written in the left-hand margin
of the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," beside its applicable Descriptor.
Also - - please review the above: "Audit-Trail,"
This is the most important, "central-management-control"
for the "Expandability, Flexibility, Efficiency, and Longevity"
of the Thesaurus - - especially so, in those circumstances, where several
copies of the Thesaurus are used simultaneously by different persons.
There are two vital requirements for a
100%-successful-operation of all Thesaurus-guided, information-processing
- Meticulously and promptly record
every alteration, whatsoever, on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy"
- - A SPECIFICALLY-DESIGNATED, AND CLEARLY-IDENTIFIED COPY OF THE ORIGINAL,
PUBLISHED THESAURUS (i.e., "ORIENTATION AND ALPHABETICAL LIST").
- For EVERY ALTERATION, enter these
three citations on the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy" - - beside
the applicable Descriptor:
- date of alteration;
- what alteration was made;
- a brief description of the alteration's effect on the total, information-processing
Some typical changes can include:
- renaming a published Descriptor;
- inserting additional Subsumed Terms
under various Descriptors;
- conversion of a Subsumed Term into
a "full-status" Descriptor;
- activation of an entirely-new Descriptor;
- reclassification, and refiling
of the "old" information, from under one "Descriptor-Activated,"
into newly-implemented, "subdivisional" Descriptors - - with
the "old" data being verified and resorted, accordingly.
- As a "Descriptor-Activated"
is started-up, the symbol "(F)" should be written, beside
Its name, in the left-hand margin of the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy."
Also, the Descriptor, itself, must be entered on the "Descriptor-Activated-List."
Thus, the symbol, "(F)," certifies
that the applicable "full-status" Descriptor has been "activated,"
as a "working file" for the actual classification and storage
of "new" "actual information."
The invaluable benefit, of an accurate,
always-up-to-date "Thesaurus-Master-Copy," is its ready availability
to become a superb, research assistant.
It can quickly shed light on the resolution
of all processing inaccuracies and uncertainties, before they become huge,
incapacitating problems - - that could demand heavy investments of energy,
time, and expense, to rectify.
The instant readiness - - in the "Thesaurus-Master-Copy"
- - of all, precisely-recorded alterations ( 1. date, 2. alteration, 3.
revised status of the information system) will provide the wherewithal
for a results-oriented "Audit-Trail," as the instrument to clarify
all areas of confusion. Please review "Audit-Trail," above.
- "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary;" Publisher, G. & C. Merriam; Springfield, MA; 1974; p. 1211.
- Worthington, W. B.; in "Total Systems;" Editors: Meacham, A. D., and Thompson, V. B.; Publisher, American Data Processing, Inc.; Detroit, MI; 1962; p. 46.
- Ducker, P. F.; "Management;" Publisher, Harper & Row; New York; 1974; p.491.
- Ball, Ann; Catholic Digest; November, 1991.
- Tompkins, Mimi; in U. S. News & World Report; per Reader's Digest; January, 1991.
- "Roget's International Thesaurus;" Editor: C.O.S. Mawson; Publisher, T. Y. Crowell, New York; 1944; p. "x".
- Bain, Alex.; "Abridged Decimal Classification - Dewey;" Publisher, Forest Press, Lake Placid, N. Y.; 1936.
- Webster's; p. 307.
- Thompson, C.; Catholic Digest; May, 1990.
- Roget's; p. v.
- Franklin, Benjamin; 1706-1790; statesman, scientist, and author; statement made at age, 81.
- United Parkinson's Foundation; Newsletter #1; Part I, 1991.
- Webster's; p. 1052.
- Ibid., p. 228.
- Drucker; p. 491.
- Fehrenbach, T. R.; San Antonio Express News; June 23, l991.
- Tracey, Rev. B. T.; Catholic Digest; October, 1991.
- Webster's; p. 539.
- Ibid., p. 439.
- Ibid., p. 362.
- Ibid., p. 678.
- Ibid., p. 206.
- "Chicago Manual Of Style;" Publisher, University of Chicago Press; Chicago; 1982; p. 653.
- Webster's; p. 307.
- Ibid., p. 428.
- Ibid., p. 1162.
Catholic Classification Thesaurus, Edition #9, 10/93
All Rights Reserved
Used with Permission