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This page provides the Athena Thesaurus in its current version. All the last versions can be found back at the bottom of the page. By the end of the project, the first versions are the results of an experiment (please see the dedicated wiki part Experiment).


We call Athena Thesaurus the thesaurus produced and updated by all contributors during and after the project. As a thesaurus, the Athena Thesaurus is a network of controlled vocabularies, that is, an amount of terms organised by domains of description and structured thanks to bridges in-between.

This Athena Thesaurus is:

  • SKOSified: The Athena Thesaurus is already SKOSified; it fits with Europeana requirements; so it can be directly used for description by institutions in case
  • Free of rights: Any institution can use it as it likes without paying any fee; hence an institution which enrich the Athena Thesaurus by terms coming from its own terminology must check if it has rights to do so for free distribution and modification
  • Evolving: We are considering to enable a collaborative workflow to produce and update the Athena Thesaurus; a specific interface with moderation process can be imagined
  • Available online: We can imagine a Web service helping an institution to use the Athena Thesaurus online for description; of course this terminology will be downloadable for a use offline
  • Mappable: We consider to enable the mapping through a Web service of terminologies with the Athena Thesaurus; to do so, there are a few requirements: 1/ the terminology must be syntactically and semantically valid; 2/ it must be well-SKOSified. While these requirements are not satisfied, the mapping would not be possible.

Use and rights

Every institution can use the Athena Thesaurus to express its descriptions of collection objects. Since this terminology is compliant with Europeana requirements, the user is then sure that its descriptions can be exploited after the harvesting. In case of use of another terminology (excerpt from the standards), the institution can map it with the Athena Thesaurus. Thanks to this mapping, its descriptions can be exploited after the harvesting.

Athena Thesaurus is protected by the Creative Commons Licence "BY:". It means that:

  • its use requires no fee
  • the author list must be updated for every enrichment of mapping
  • all the authors and contributors must be mentionned by any user in every communication / publication of the Athena Thesaurus
  • if the user wants to enrich the Athena Thesaurus by a part of its own terminology, he/she must clear the specific rights of his/her terminology

Graphical representation

We will use below a "terminology cloud" as a representation of the Athena Thesaurus. It fits well with its structure in network. Each bubble (or node) corresponds to a vocabulary, each line to an alignment between vocabularies. On click, each element gives access to its content (either the terms of the vocabulary, or the aligment schema between vocabularies). All the other terminologies mapped with (a part of) the Athena Thesaurus are also represented as

Search engine

When a user is looking for a specific vocabulary within the Athena Thesaurus, the "cloud" may offer a first way. Another one is to use a search engine which enables to know which vocabularies are related to a keyword. This search engine browses all the textual information contained in the vocabularies (e.g. domain of description and terms).


Title Michael Terminology lists - Subjects
Kind of resource Thesaurus
Country International
Language(s) English, Czech, German, Estonian, Greek, French, Italian, Latvian, Dutch,

Finnish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Swedish, Slovenian, Spanish, Polish

Description Terminology lists with thesaurus features for describing collections of the

cultural heritage field. Domain: general Based on the Unesco thesauri for the subject headings. Mainly use for indexing and web browsing of the collections on the portal. Available in XML format.

Dimension 501-1000

TitlePICO thesaurus
Kind of resourceThesaurus
Language(s)English, Italian
DescriptionThesaurus developed by the Italian Ministry of Culture - Ministero per i

beni e le attività culturali (MiBAC) Mainly use for indexing and web browsing of the collections on the CulturaItalia portal. Domain: Italian culture, with special focus on tangible and intangible heritage; people and organisations involved in cultural processes and administration; cultural and educational disciplines; chronological periods Available in SKOS format.


TitleRMCA Keywords
Kind of resourceThesaurus
Language(s)English, Dutch, French
DescriptionThesaurus managed by the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA)

Domain: History and Ethnography Available in Excel format.

This page was last modified on 3 May 2011, at 12:44.This page has been accessed 6,849 times.