• Primary Domain: Social Sciences
  • Group Focus: Data Management, Identify, Store, and Reserve
  • Group Technology Focus: Search & Discovery, Re-Use, Other
  • RDA Pathways: FAIR, CARE, TRUST - Adoption, Implementation, and Deployment, Semantics, Ontology, Standardisation
  • Group Description

    This Working Group intends to address challenges concerning the interoperability multilingual nature of SSH controlled vocabularies.

    Controlled vocabularies are a major discovery tool in the digital environment and this is true also for the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). However, while such vocabularies would seem one of the most appropriate tools to ensure a high visibility of the SSH research outputs, the availability, usage, and interoperability of controlled vocabularies remains very heterogeneous. They remain for the most part disconnected from one another, differing not only in scope, but in methodology, accessibility, and level of standardization. From this first set of observations derives the necessity to at least harmonize their discoverability level within the SSH and beyond.

    The Working Group plans to address these issues by providing collectively approved recommendations for creating, extending, updating, and aligning multilingual vocabularies in the SSH. The objective of this RDA WG, currently co-chaired by OPERAS RI, the coordinator of TRIPLE, is to focus on a part of the SSHOC vocabulary roadmap and to collect from a broader community both insights and feedback about a methodology for the alignment of controlled vocabularies in many languages.

  • Rationale Summary

    The creation of a WG within the RDA framework would help to formalise through international collaboration the first phases of the Vocabulary Commons by focussing on essential building bricks. The objective of this group is therefore to work towards the alignment of SSH vocabularies, with a particular focus on topics vocabularies and multilingualism. The main goal is to reach common understanding and practices in creating, updating and sharing vocabularies. The group plans therefore to publish recommendation(s) for the SSH community to:

    • Improve the quality of the controlled vocabularies, by ensuring both the appropriate scientific process and the optimal technical set-up in creating or reusing controlled vocabularies in the SSH;
    • Develop the vocabularies’ coverage and usage, by sharing experience and knowledge about solutions to address multilingualism and multiculturalism;
    • Increase vocabularies’ interoperability, by defining the minimum metadata and the representation formats able to ensure the vocabularies FAIR-compliance;
    • Facilitate their continuous versioning, by formalising shared rules about concepts and terms updates.

    This work will benefit in the first place to the SSH community by providing guidelines that will improve the coverage and the interoperability of multilingual vocabularies. As a first result, it should increase the discoverability of SSH research outputs in the global context, even if produced and described in local languages, by connecting them to many other vocabularies. Additionally, it will benefit the services providing searching tools (libraries, research infrastructures), which will have the possibility to provide accurate descriptors in local languages, while ensuring their connection with descriptors in many other languages. From the point of view of aggregators and, more generally, the global research community, this will increase the diversity and representativity of the results available in search engines.

    More specifically, in the prospect of the SSHOC Vocabulary Commons roadmap, such recommendations would concretely help to build in the future a federated access to vocabularies that will be efficiently searchable and interoperable. It would therefore represent an improvement for the SSH researchers, service providers, and end-users, as well as for the whole scientific community and the broader public.

    Although different in scope, as only partially focused on the technical framework for semantic interoperability, the group activities will be closely connected to the ones of the Vocabulary Services IG, by increasing the number of semantic artefacts available for more advanced operations.



    The initial membership indicated in the Case Statement does not reflect the actual members of the WG, who are only reflected by the group’s members directory.

  • TAB Liason(s)

    Daniel Bangert
  • Secretariat Liason(s)

    Bridget Walker
  • Group Visibility

  • Group Creation Date

  • Endorsement Date

  • Estimated End Date

  • Actual End Date

  • Group Email

  • Group Type: Working Group
  • Group Status: In Group Revisions
  • Co-Chair(s): Arnaud Gingold, Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, Gema Bueno-de-la-Fuente

Athina Papadopoulou
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