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Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives

ELSST – European Language Social Science Thesaurus

The European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) is a broad-based, multilingual thesaurus for the social sciences. It is currently available in 16 languages: Danish, Dutch, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish.

ELSST is owned and published by the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). ELSST was originally developed in 2000 as part of the EU-funded Language Independent Metadata Browsing of European Resources (LIMBER) project and has been further enhanced and extended through additional funding from the EU and the UK government. Since 2012, ELSST development has been funded by CESSDA through the CESSDA ELSST, VOICE and Metadata Office projects.

ELSST is used for data discovery within CESSDA and facilitates access to data resources across Europe, independent of domain, resource, language or vocabulary.

The thesaurus covers the core social science disciplines: politics, sociology, economics, education, law, crime, demography, health, employment, information and communication technology, and environmental science.

ELSST was originally based on the monolingual thesaurus, Humanities and Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET), of the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex. The thesauri remain closely related.

The latest version of ELSST was released in September 2022 and became available under the terms of the CC-BY-SA licence on the current CESSDA ELSST platform in November 2020. The previous version dates from September 2021. ELSST is available as a SKOS concept scheme.