Keyword (documentation)

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A keyword is in the documentation , a word that the substantive development of a document is used. From the searcher's point of view, it is the search term .

Keyword and catchphrase

In many cases, the key word and key word are identical, so that the different terms are often confused:
In contrast to key words ( descriptors ), key words do not come from a controlled vocabulary , i.e. a selection of words with a descriptively oriented combination, but are directly associated with the document or its Title taken or chosen by the searcher. The keywords therefore reflect the choice of words of the author or the searcher, not that of the documentation.

In the case of scientific literature, which itself uses a relatively strictly limited specialist vocabulary , documentary indexing using key words is usually relatively easy. The general language, however, uses numerous ambiguous words, with either several words standing for one and the same term ( synonymy ), or one word for several terms ( polysemy ) - indexing such texts is relatively time-consuming. The same applies when different technical languages ​​and their specifics are recorded together.


Registers that contain a list of the subjects in a book with references to corresponding text passages are known as indexes . In many cases, however, these are more like subject headings , as expressions that do not appear literally in the text can also be included. For research , librarians and documentaries used to create keyword catalogs .

Keywords can now be extracted automatically from a text using full-text indexing and made searchable.

See also