Multilingual environmental thesaurus under development

An international effort is underway to develop a multilingual global environmental thesaurus in an effort to break down the linguistic barriers to environmental information exchange.


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The US EPA, the European Environment Agency (EEA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Italy’s research council, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) are collaborating on the project. A plan for the thesaurus is expected by September 2000.

The thesaurus is intended to improve the efficiency of environmental information systems, Internet web sites, databases and other electronic resources, particularly when conducting information searches, cataloguing contents and designing information systems.

Included in the new thesaurus will be terms from the EPA Terminology Reference System, the EEA Generalised Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus (GEMET) and the UNEP EnVoc thesauri, as well as additional thesauri from other systems around the world.

The thesaurus will be made available on the internet, CD-ROM and in print. The existing terminology systems are in 12 languages and the intention is to produce the global thesaurus in many more.

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