Launch of new thesaurus management system

Lorna Balkan

We are delighted to announce that our new management system is now live. Many thanks to all those who made this happen, including all our partners in the ELSST translators committee who contributed to the system specifications, our in-house developers who turned these into a working system, and to all those who took the time to test the prototype and give us feedback. We are very pleased with the results, and look forward to using the system in our everyday work.

HASSET/ELSST relationship clarified

Months of hard work aligning HASSET and ELSST at the data level were needed before we could bring the two thesauri together into the same system. Again, this work involved close collaboration with our ELSST partners.

While the two thesauri remain separate, the relationship between them is now clear – concepts that appear in both thesauri are labelled as ‘core’. The system allows core concepts to be demoted to ‘non-core’ concepts (meaning they are found in one thesaurus only), and non-core concepts to be promoted to core. Where possible, core concepts should be identical in both thesauri, but they are permitted to diverge in specified ways. For example, they must have the same preferred term label and broader terms, but can have different NTs. Their scope notes may also differ slightly, thus allowing HASSET to contain UK-specific information that is not appropriate for ELSST.

Through bringing the thesauri together onto the same platform, and specifying the constraints between them, we are confident that the thesauri will be easier to manage and keep in alignment in future.

New user interfaces

The HASSET and ELSST user interfaces have the same look and feel. ELSST is now available in 12 languages, including for the first time Czech, Lithuanian and Romanian.

A new graphical interface to the thesauri allows you to expand and contract the nodes at will, enabling a wider view of the concept in context than available via the traditional tree structures which are also provided.

Users can now also link to the SKOS version of each concept in both thesauri.

New developer interfaces

Both thesauri are free to search and browse by the general public. Access to the developer interfaces of both HASSET and ELSST is via authenticated login name and password. The available functionality depends on the user’s level of authorisation.

We look forward to using the new suggestions area for proposing and discussing changes to the thesaurus. At present, this facility is limited to authorised users. A novel feature is that related changes can be bundled together under one suggestion, since a change to one concept often implies a change to another.

Going forward

In the next phase of the project we look forward to revising and updating the hierarchies in collaboration with our ELSST partners, using the new management system.

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