The European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) is a broad-based, multilingual thesaurus for the social sciences.

It is currently available in 12 languages: Danish, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish.

ELSST was originally developed in 2000 as part of the EU-funded LIMBER project. It has been enhanced and extended through additional funding from the ESRC, the University of Essex, and through subsequent EU grants.

The current version of ELSST was released on 20 January 2015.

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ELSST employs the usual range of terms and thesaural relationships:

  • Preferred Terms (PTs)
  • Use For (UFs) or Non-Preferred terms
  • Broader Terms (BTs)
  • Narrower Terms (NTs)
  • Related Terms (RTs)

ELSST's UFs are entry level terms rather than pure synonyms.

Scope Notes (SNs) are used to define the extent of the intended meaning within the domain of the thesaurus.

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Thesaurus search

Search and browse ELSST.


Maintenance and support

The thesaurus is updated annually. Users are encouraged to contribute to ELSST. Suggested changes are reviewed by the multinational ELSST Thesaurus Management Team, and those that are approved are added to the next version of the thesaurus.

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