Location: Nutrient Data LaboratoryTitle: A structured vocabulary for indexing dietary supplements in databases in the United States Author
Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2011
Publication Date: 10/14/2011
Citation: Saldanha, L.G., Dwyer, J.T., Holden, J.M., Ireland, J.D., Andrews, K.W., Bailey, R., Gahche, J.J., Hardy, C., Moller, A., Pilch, S.M., Roseland, J.M. 2011. A structured vocabulary for indexing dietary supplements in databases in the United States. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 25(2):226-33. Interpretive Summary: A system is being proposed to provide a uniform approach for how specific dietary supplement product characteristics are described, recorded, and retrieved. The concept of describing and indexing dietary supplements, as discussed in this paper, is a modification of the structured vocabulary system called LanguaL that is used internationally for foods. LanguaL is based on the principle that items within a database, such as dietary supplements or foods, can be classified using a combination of uniform terms chosen from “facets” which characterize various attributes of these products. The facets include product type, ingredients and their sources, and physical attributes. Researchers will be able to use the structured vocabulary applied to dietary supplements as a means of more precisely matching dietary supplement products reported in food surveys to the composition of these products as indexed in databases, which can facilitate uniformity in reporting research and should result in more accurate estimates of nutrient intakes. It will also enable database developers to catalog and link data and facilitate sharing of databases.
Technical Abstract: Food composition databases are critical to assess and plan dietary intakes. Dietary supplement databases are also needed because dietary supplements make significant contributions to total nutrient intakes. However, no uniform system exists for classifying dietary supplement products and indexing their ingredients in such databases. Differing approaches to classifying these products make it difficult to retrieve or link information effectively. A consistent approach to classifying information within food composition databases led to the development of LanguaL. LanguaL is now being adapted as an interface tool for classifying and retrieving product information in dietary supplement databases. This paper outlines proposed changes to the LanguaL thesaurus for indexing dietary supplement products and ingredients in databases. The choice of 10 of the original 14 LanguaL facets pertinent to dietary supplements, modifications to their scope, and applications are described. The 10 chosen facets are: Product Type; Source; Part of Source; Physical State, Shape or Form; Ingredients; Container or Wrapping; Contact Surface; Consumer Group/Dietary Use/Label Claim; Geographic Places and Regions; and Adjunct Characteristics of Food.