CESSDA European Language Social Science Thesaurus

About the project

The UK Data Service was awarded separate funding to align and enhance the Humanities and Social Sciences Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET) and the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST). These two thesauri underpin resource discovery for both the UK Data Service and CESSDA, the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives.

HASSET and ELSST are interdependent, however, at the time their content management and version release processes were different, resulting in the two being maintained separately. This project aimed to maintain both, bring them into a single system and play a role in meeting the obligations for the new CESSDA organisation.

In particular, the project intended to develop the thesaurus user interface for the benefit of both the UK Data Service and the wider CESSDA community. The aim was to merge the two thesauri into a single system to serve the needs of both the UK Data Service and CESSDA by providing a single interface for content management. The team wanted to produce a more flexible interface providing views of thesaurus subsets or different views of the same content depending on research need and/or the researcher’s chosen language.


A full review of intellectual property issues was planned in order to ensure accurate accreditation and appropriate licences and contracts for contributors to, and users of, ELSST, the multilingual thesaurus (i.e. those European partners who have provided translations or partial translations).

The project officers also undertook coordination activities required for the ongoing development of ELSST: overseeing the transfer of HASSET content into a new system; maintaining the content; establishing and maintaining quality control; taking day to day responsibility for the management, maintenance and further development of the thesaurus; contacting stakeholders; and support work to ensure appropriate management of IP in the thesaurus.

Updates on the progress of the project can be found at the ELSST blog.

UK Data Service contribution

  • Principal Investigator: Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Service
  • Project Manager: Anne Etheridge, UK Data Archive
  • Project Officers: Lorna Balkan, Suzanne Barbalet and Jeannine Beeken, UK Data Archive
  • Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Project dates: October 2012 to September 2017
  • Links: ELSST