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PAIS International Subject Headings

How New Terms Are Adopted

PAIS International from CSA strives to provide access to the latest concepts and trends in the literature through its PAIS Subject Headings.

As a new term surfaces in the materials being indexed, we insure that it is immediately searchable electronically by including it in the abstract of the bibliographic record. Examples are 'Baby boom' and 'Generation X.' Many of these terms are short-lived slang that will not be entered into the PAIS Subject Heading List. But others have long-term potential. Frequently, when a term is used repeatedly and there appears to be a growing body of literature centered on it, we establish it as a subject heading and connect it to related terms with appropriate "see" and "see also" references. Recently, we decided that material on E-commerce was increasing and that we needed to set up the heading "Electronic Commerce." We also reviewed the backfile of records and added the heading "Electronic Commerce" to records where appropriate.

Similarly, there are times when the literature uses a newer term for an existing concept, and the existing PAIS subject heading for it has become quaint and old-fashioned. Then we establish the newer term with related cross references and re-index the records in the backfile. This process keeps the database up to date. Users do not have to check two terms for one concept. For instance, we added the term "Pasta industry" to records in the backfile that have the older subject heading "Macaroni industry."

In addition, to keep current with political changes worldwide, we continually add new geographic headings (such as Kivu (province) or Zaire) and rename geographic subject headings (such as Mumbai, India), personal names (such as Kabila, Laurent-Desire), and names of organizations (such as United Nations - Development program - Sustainable energy and development division).

Also, for easier access, PAIS has classified its 7,000 Subject Headings Authority File under 24 Broad Topics and 569 Subtopics.