Notes: Descriptors Are Not Always What They Seem

Notes: Descriptors Are Not Always What They Seem

Descriptors seem to be very precise, but that is not always true in the manner one might expect. The descriptor Centralization is used in records that describe both Centralization and Decentralization. In part this is done to reduced them number of descriptors (if all words are descriptors, no words are descriptors) but also because the two terns describes the same process and measure.

Descriptors are definitely not value judgments. Descriptors are just tags to facilitate retrieval. So the descriptor Dissidents simply means an opposition activist of any kind: Many are simply protesters. By the standards of any given researcher, some are good and some are bad. A different researcher may have the opposite perspective. This explains why some Dissidents seem, to you, to be dreadful people with awful opinions.

Similarly, Refugees are simply people called or considered Refugees, since, almost none of the millions of Refugees who have entered Europe in the last few years are Refugees in Europe under international law (1951 Refugee Convention specifies that people are refugees are only refugees in the first country they enter, not the second or the fifth), they are simply migrants considered by someone as Refugees. However, it would be very unhelpful to descriptor records based on a specialist conception of the term, rather that the manner in which it is actually used.

Sometimes, a descriptor implies its opposition. The descriptor Corruption is applied both to people or processes that are corrupt, as well as those falsely accused of corruption. To restrict the term only to the corrupt or those accused of corruption would mean that people would be descriptored with Corruption when accused, but not when exonerated.

However, not all descriptors imply their opposite: The descriptor Women does not imply Men.