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The UK's largest digital collection of social sciences and population research data

Controlled vocabularies

The UK Data Archive is guardian of the Humanities and Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET) and curator of its multilingual sister, the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST).

HASSET is owned and developed by the UK Data Archive and dates from the 1970s. It currently contains over 7,500 concepts. We use it to index our data collections at study, question and variable level. It's also been used by many data publishers to index their own holdings. The thesaurus allows retrieval of data and related documentation using hierarchies of keywords.

ELSST is owned and published by CESSDA and was originally based on HASSET. It is currently available in 14 languages: Danish, Dutch, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish, and contains over 3,000 concepts. It is used for data discovery within CESSDA and thus facilitates access to data resources across Europe, independent of domain, resource, language or vocabulary. The UK Data Archive co-ordinates ELSST on behalf of CESSDA and works with other European data archives to develop its content and facilitate translation.

Some key facts: Both thesauri:

  • cover the core social science disciplines: politics, sociology, economics, education, law, crime, demography, health, employment, information and communication technology and, increasingly, environmental science
  • follow ISO 25964: Thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies as far as possible
  • are available in the Linked Open Data format, SKOS