This web site allows you to browse the UNESCO Thesaurus. It also provides information about the UNESCO Thesaurus. To search the UNESCO Thesaurus, please go to the separate search interface which is now available on UNESCO's website.
The UNESCO Thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation which includes subject terms for the following areas of knowledge: education, science, culture, social and human sciences, information and communication, and politics, law and economics. It also includes the names of countries and groupings of countries: political, economic, geographic, ethnic and religious, and linguistic groupings.
The UNESCO Thesaurus allows subject terms to be expressed consistently, with increasing specificity, and in relation to other subjects. It can be used to facilitate subject indexing in libraries, archives and similar institutions.
As in other subject thesauri, the terms in the UNESCO Thesaurus are linked together by three types of relationships:
The UNESCO Thesaurus also includes scope notes (SN) which explain the meaning and application of terms, and French (FR) and Spanish (SP) equivalents of English preferred terms.
The UNESCO Thesaurus was developed by UNESCO for use in the indexing and retrieval of information in the UNESCO Integrated Documentation Network. It was first published in 1977. A second edition was issued in 1995 (see Purchasing the UNESCO Thesaurus). Further information about its development is provided by the introduction to the 1995 edition. This can be downloaded as Portable Document Format (PDF) files in English, French and Spanish versions. To read these files you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader if it is not already installed on your PC.
The UNESCO Thesaurus database can be browsed via this website in two ways:
The UNESCO Thesaurus includes French and Spanish equivalents of English preferred terms. Indexes of French terms (with Spanish and English equivalents) and Spanish terms (with French and English equivalents) have also been provided.
UNESCO has developed a search interface which now allows the UNESCO Thesaurus to be searched online. This interface is available via UNESCO's website.
The UNESCO Thesaurus is available in the following formats:
Both can be ordered directly from UNESCO Publishing or from one of UNESCO Publishing's distributors (in the UK, The Stationery Office Ltd).
This web site and the web interface for the UNESCO Thesaurus have been developed by the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) with the permission of UNESCO. ULCC operates the UK National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) on behalf of the UK National Archives. The UNESCO Thesaurus has been used to index NDAD's on-line catalogues of datasets and documentation. ULCC is also the partner in a project to create a UK Archival Thesaurus, based on the UNESCO Thesaurus, to act as a subject indexing standard for archives in the UK.
The data used in this web site was transferred to ULCC by UNESCO in November 2003 (previous transfers of data were received in September 1999, December 1999, March 2001, December 2001 and December 2002). The data was extracted from a database in which terms for the UNESCO Thesaurus are added or deleted according to UNESCO's needs. Some amendments to the data have been made by UNESCO since the publication of the 1995 paper edition (see Purchasing the UNESCO Thesaurus).
Users are asked to note that ULCC is not responsible for the content of the UNESCO Thesaurus. Enquiries relating to the content of the Thesaurus, and requests for permission to use Thesaurus data, should be directed to the UNESCO Library. Copyright permission is not required to use data from this website for educational and non-commercial purposes (see the Copyright statement for further details). Please contact ULCC if you have any questions or comments about this web site.
All rights reserved. The copyright of this web site belongs to UNESCO and the University of London Computer Centre. The information provided by this web site may be freely used and copied for educational and other non-commercial purposes, provided that any reproduction of data is accompanied by an acknowledgement of this web site as the source. Under no circumstances may copies be sold without prior written permission from the copyright holders.