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Vocabularies and research data


Vocabularies and research data Guide

This introductory Guide explains what vocabularies are and how they are useful for supporting research. A brief discussion of vocabulary services is included. It covers:

  • What is a vocabulary?
  • How do vocabularies support research?
  • Data specification and description
  • Vocabulary services

Key messages:

  • A vocabulary sets out the common language a discipline has agreed to use to refer to concepts of interest in that discipline.
  • Researchers planning observation or surveys need to define their data items clearly.
  • An agreed vocabulary (a standard) makes a good starting point for translating concepts into other vocabularies so that collaboration can occur.
  • Indexing vocabularies are used to tag items in library catalogues and search portals and to provide keywords for academic journal articles.
  • A vocabulary service is a machine-to-machine service that can support activities such as creating, managing and querying vocabularies.

Vocabularies and research data Guide