European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies
Background and Scope
The seven-lingual edition of the "European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies" (European Thesaurus) was published in September 2007. The European Thesaurus is the result of a cooperation project within the framework of the European Network on International Relations and Area Studies. It is a special subject thesaurus and contains about 8.200 descriptors. The thesaurus includes furthermore numerous non-descriptors for enhanced access to the controlled vocabulary. The subjects covered by the European Thesaurus include all aspects of international and national politics, such as international relations, foreign and security policy, economy, law, environment, society, culture, etc. (View full list of subjects ). About 600 of the descriptors are proper names of relevant international organizations and international agreements.
The following EINIRAS member institutes participated in the European Thesaurus project:
- Deutsch-Französisches Institut, Ludwigsburg
- Fundació CIDOB, Barcelona
- GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg
- Hellenic Foundation of European and Foreign Policy, Athens
- Institute of International Relations, Prague
- Institute of Scientific Information in the Social Sciences, Moscow
- Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome
- Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin
- Polish Insitute of International Affairs, Warsaw
- Royal Institute of International Affairs, London
- Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin
The European Thesaurus provides a well-structured and wide-ranging "terminological tool" of controlled vocabulary in order to describe the subject content and format of all kinds of literature and material (books; reports; journals; periodical and newspaper-articles, texts of agreements, or speeches, or declarations, etc.) in databases dealing with international politics, international security, international economics and area studies. The inclusion of a number of proper names and geographical denominations facilitates a better-focused subject content description.
It is planned to use the European Thesaurus as a meta-thesaurus for cross-database searches on EDN, the joint database project of EINIRAS.
Apart from applying the European Thesaurus for indexing and retrieval, which is its main purpose, the thesaurus can also be used as a terminological reference work for the core subjects covered by the thesaurus, or even to look up the equivalents of a term in other languages (translation tool).
English is the primary thesaurus language. Equivalents of the English descriptors are available in the six target languages Czech, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.
Furthermore, a Croatian and a Russian translation of the European Thesaurus are available in the European Thesaurus online version (see below). A Greek version will be published in the near future.
The European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies integrates the concepts and terminologies of a number of thesauri developed by European research institutions in the field of international affairs. The following thesauri were used:
For the field of International Law, the controlled vocabularies of the following institutions were consulted in addition:
- CERES Thesaurus - Council of Europe
- The Royal Institute of International Affairs Library Thesaurus
- Thesaurus for Stockholm International Peace Institute Library Catalogue and Article Database
- Thesaurus de l'IFRI (Institut français des relations internationales)
- Thesaurus of the German Specialized Information Network International Relations and Area Studies (Fachinformationsverbund Internationale Beziehungen und Länderkunde)
- Library of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg)
- Peace Palace Library (The Hague)
The printed European Thesaurus consists of:
a) a seven-lingual systematic part in which the descriptors, in all languages, are shown in their thematic context. Each descriptor is assigned to one or several of the thesaurus's 24 subject fields, which are again subdivided into field-groups and, if necessary, sub-field-groups, depending of the complexity of the subject. A descriptor belongs to at least one of these groups or sub-groups.
(View sample pages of the systematic part)
b) seven monolingual alphabetical parts, each listing in alphabetical order the descriptors and selected non-descriptors, indicating their position in the systematic structure.
(View sample pages of the English alphabetical part )
The printed version of the European Thesaurus will be available from € 50, which includes the multilingual systematic part and the English alphabetical part. Additional monolingual alphabetical parts cost € 5 each. Alphabetical parts can not be bought separate from the systematic part.
For a free monolingual English PDF version of the European Thesaurus – incl. full alphabetical and systematic part –, please send an e-mail to: eurothesaurus(at)swp-berlin.org.
An online version of the European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies has been implemented on the academic web portal International Relations and Area Studies Online (IREON). The online version comprises nine languages as it includes a Croatian and a Russian version. In contrast to the print version, the online version does provide the full semantic relationships of a descriptor (broader, narrower and associated terms). The online version can either be used to browse - alphabetically or by subject area - through the European Thesaurus (thus to use it as a terminological reference work or just to look up translations) or to use it as a search tool to retrieve information in the portal.
Maintenance / European Thesaurus Development Group
The European Thesaurus Development Group (ETDG) was set up in 2005 by those EINIRAS member institutes that have contributed to the production of European Thesaurus. The ETDG commenced work in 2006 and meets twice a year to decide about new descriptors, descriptor modifications, deletions of descriptors, etc. Each institute that makes use of the European Thesaurus may become a member of the ETDG. The European Thesaurus is currently used for indexing and retrieval in the databases of the Fachinformationsverbund Internationale Beziehungen und Länderkunde (FIV) (Database "World Affairs Online”), of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Warsaw, and of the Institute of International Relations (IIR), Prague. The individual ETDG representatives currently are: Mr Bernhard Goldmann, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin (FIV); Ms Gerda Hansen, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg (FIV); Mr Axel Huckstorf, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin (FIV); Mr Volker Hornung, Free University Berlin (FIV); Ms Helena Kolátorová, IIR, Prague; Ms
Agata Wietecha, PISM, Warsaw; Ms. Mairet Siemssen, German Development Institute, Bonn (FIV). The ETDG cooperates closely with the Standing Task Group on Standardization of EINIRAS whose former sub-task group on thesaurus development had been responsible for the thesaurus work.
The European Thesaurus Project is coordinated by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin. If you should have any comments or questions, or if you want to use the European Thesaurus in your institution, please send an e-mail to: eurothesaurus(at)swp-berlin.org.