ELSST Thesaurus update

Lorna Balkan

Release of new version

The latest version of ELSST was released on 10 September 2019. The previous version dates from 19 September 2018.

We are pleased to announce two major changes in this new release of ELSST. Firstly, a new language, Dutch, was added to the thesaurus. Secondly, scope notes were added to the Slovenian version.

ELSST is now available in 14 languages (including the source language English), with translation of Preferred Terms 98-100% complete in each target language: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

Content development and structural work have concentrated on the reduction of complex polyhierarchies, and on revision of the POLITICS hierarchy.

The following changes were made to the English source language version:

  • 12 new concepts
  • 7 relabelled Preferred Terms (for currency or ambiguity)
  • 21 new Use For terms
  • 55 new or changed Scope Notes
  • 266 changes to the BT/NT relationships
  • 16 deleted concepts

Other changes include the addition of a bibliography where full references for scope note sources are provided, and the explicit marking of terms in a target language that are deemed to have no translation. (This should happen only rarely, since every effort is taken to include in ELSST only concepts that are applicable to all ELSST languages.)

For more information, see a summary of changes to ELSST since the last release.

New funding and management structure

Since 1 January 2019 ELSST has been funded by the CESSDA Metadata Office (MDO) project. It follows on from the Vocabulary Services Multilingual Content Management (VOICE) project that funded ELSST development from January-December 2018. Both projects received funding from the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) to manage and co-ordinate ELSST and other multilingual controlled vocabularies within CESSDA.

Content development work on ELSST within the MDO project is led by four CESSDA partners: UK Data Service (UK), FSD (Finland), GESIS (Germany) and NSD (Norway). This core group meets every 2-3 weeks to drive development work forward. Other translators may also attend, and all decisions taken at these meetings are shared with all ELSST translators for comment. There are also regular general meetings for all translators, where strategic matters are discussed.

Future developments for the thesaurus system

Work within the MDO project is also underway to find a new software platform for ELSST, since the current one is nearing the end of its life. Ideally, the new software should be open source and ‘RDF-native’ in order to promote the use of ELSST within Linked Data, and facilitate mappings to other RDF thesauri and vocabularies.

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