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Comparison of thesaurus management software for PCs

Table of features

The following table lists some of the features which ought to be considered when choosing a software package for thesaurus development. It should be read in conjunction with the descriptive information about each package and the general notes given there. A detailed list of criteria was published by Jochen Ganzmann in 1990, and the list given here draws upon that work.

This table includes only those packages which can be bought as stand-alone software, not part of a complete database management system. If a thesaurus is being developed for use with a particular information storage and retrieval system, it is important that the combined system should be evaluated as a whole. This table does not include criteria for the use of thesaurus software when indexing and searching a database, but these are included in Ganzmann's list and should be referred to.

In most cases objective data have been given in this table; these have been obtained either from the suppliers' documentation of by experiment. For some of the ergonomic aspects a subjective rating for quality has been given as a mark out of 5, shown in square brackets, e.g. "[3]".

TCS is no longer available in the version described here - it has largely been replaced by the Web Choir family of products, although a version called TCS-8 is still available.

Hierarch is no longer available. It has been replaced by Term Tree 2000.

Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Terms and their attributes
Maximum term length 60 125 80 120 60 63 255
Length of scope notes 2000 64000 1024 32000 64000 630 unlimited
Classification codes yes yes can be implemented as a user-defined relationship no no yes yes
Notes on term history yes yes (user-definable note type) yes no yes (user-definable note type) no items from two user-definable lists ("reference" and "code"), can be associated with each term and could be used for these purposes. Term creation and modification dates are maintained automatically.
Notes on term usage no yes (user-definable note type) no yes yes (user-definable note type) no
Origin/authority for terms yes yes (user-definable note type) no yes yes (user-definable note type) no
Term status (e.g. candidate) no yes no no no no
Other predefined attributes no no no yes no no no
User-defined attributes no 4 note types, including SN no no note types no no
Case preserved yes yes yes yes yes optional yes
Case significant no no (optional for search) optional no no no no
Symbols and spaces allowed in terms not all symbols yes yes yes yes yes, but spaces are replaced by underlines in printouts yes
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Term relationships
BT/NT, RT/RT, USE/UF yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
USE X AND Y (semantic factoring) multiple USE terms allowed but no special function can be recorded and displayed using user-defined relationships such as USE_AND/USED_IN and USE_OR/USAGE_OF no yes, but searching for a "UF+" term gives "no match" no no
USE X OR Y (alternative terms) no no no no
Multiple BT links per term (polyhierarchy) yes yes yes yes yes, but NTs shown under only one occurrence yes yes
No. of hierarchical levels 40 unlimited 100 9 unlimited 10 unlimited or limited to 1, 2 or 3
User-defined relationships no yes yes no yes, for RT types only existing relationships can be renamed but not added to
Top term indicator no yes no yes yes = "hierarchy name" (but this is not treated as a "term") no yes
Orphan term indicator no yes no, though orphans may optionally be deleted when created by removing links no orphan terms can not be created yes yes (bottom term symbol with top term flag)
Multilingual thesauri no (but handles and sorts accented characters according to the rules for Catalan and Spanish) yes no, though user-defined relationships may be used to link terms in different languages yes no no no
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Input and editing
Import from file yes yes yes yes can import a list of terms without relationships yes yes
Input from keyboard yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Editing of terms individually yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Consistency checks yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Loops detected no yes no yes yes no yes
Terms multiply linked detected yes yes yes no (BT and RT allowed between same terms) yes no yes
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Output to screen
Selection criteria for display of sub-set no yes no subset display yes (for alphabetical display) no wildcards all top terms, all preferred terms or all non-preferred terms only
Hierarchical display no yes yes yes (only NT relationships shown) yes no yes (from top terms only)
Alphabetical display yes yes no yes (no relationships shown) yes, but no relationships are shown and non-preferred terms are omitted no yes
Facet indicators no yes no no yes no no
Sibling terms sorted in hierarchical display yes (in single term display) yes yes no yes no yes
Classified (systematic) display yes yes no no yes no no
KWIC or KWOC display yes yes no no no no no
Scrolling and browsing yes yes no yes yes no yes
Hypertext navigation (jumps between terms) yes yes. Also provides HTML output for use with a standard WWW browser yes no no yes yes
Editing of terms while displayed as list yes no yes, for single tree only no yes no yes
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Output to printer or file
Selection criteria for printing yes yes yes (range of terms only) no not a range, but can limit hierarchical display to terms narrower than a chosen term wildcards manual selection from top terms (hierarchical list) or from all terms (alphabetical list)
Hierarchical printout yes yes (two-way) yes yes (only NT relationships shown) yes, full and brief formats yes, but BT and RT are also shown at every level yes
Alphabetical printout yes yes yes yes (no relationships shown) yes yes (same as hierarchical but showing one level only yes
Facet indicators in printout no yes no no yes no no
Sibling terms sorted in hierarchical printout yes yes yes no yes yes, if configured when thesaurus is first created yes
Classified (systematic) printout yes yes no no no no no
KWIC or KWOC printout yes yes no yes yes no yes (both)
Export to file in a data exchange format yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
Ergonomics
Ease of installation [4] [4] [3] [3] [4] Demo version gives no choice of destination directory [3] [4]
User interface [3] [4] [3] [3] [3] Non-standard Windows controls [3] [4] Editing can be done on tree display
Simultaneous creation of terms and relationships yes yes yes some some no yes
Drag and drop relationships no no no no no, though families can be moved by cut and paste yes yes
Printed documentation coverage [0] (none included with shareware package) [4] [4] [3] [3] [3] [3] Illustrated MS Word file is a copy of the on-line help.
Printed documentation quality [0] [4] [4] [2] [3] [3] [4] .
On-line help [3] [3] [3] [0] [3] Help file is the same as the printed manual. Doesn't use Windows Help: no hypertext or "find" functions. Doesn't work in dialog boxes. [3] [3]
Name of package Beat MultiTes STRIDE TAT TCS Term Manager Term Tree 2000
General factors
No. of terms 2 billion 100,000,000 unlimited MS Access limit (?) unlimited 64,000 unlimited
Related database available no Inmagic mentioned, but relationship not clear has been integrated with STATUS Possible links to Access; import/export to Tinlib no Cardbox for Windows no

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This document is at http://www.willpowerinfo.co.uk/thestabl.htm
Revised (but not fully updated) 2004-12-28 21:25

Comments and feedback on content or presentation are welcome and should be sent to Leonard Will

Copyright Willpower Information, 2003-2004.

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