Online Thesauri and Authority Files

There are many thesauri, authority files, and other controlled vocabularies available through the Internet. Below is a list of those that visitors to our site have found most useful. If you would like to suggest an addition to this page, please contact

Astronomy Thesaurus
This thesaurus, compiled by Robyn M. Shobbrook & Robert R. Shobbrook provides access to the thesaurus in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
CAB Thesaurus
The CAB Thesaurus is the largest life sciences and related topics thesaurus in the world, designed for use with CAB Abstracts and Global Health databases and related products. This multi-lingual thesaurus provides broad coverage of pure and applied life sciences, technology and social sciences.
ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) Thesaurus
ERIC is a national education database of bibliographic citations and digests, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. This online version of the ERIC Thesaurus provides immediate search access to portions of the ERIC database. The Thesaurus content is the result of 30 years of work and refinement by the ERIC system, a decentralized network of clearinghouses and support components. The 40-member ERIC Vocabulary Review Group (VRG) presently oversees the Thesaurus development effort.
Ethnographic Thesaurus
The AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus is a searchable online vocabulary that can be used to improve access to information about folklore, ethnomusicology, ethnology, and related fields. It is developed by the American Folklore Society in cooperation with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and supported by a generous grant from the Scholarly Communications Program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies
This is a multi-lingual thesaurus containing around 8000 hierarchically arranged terms, covering all the main aspects of international relations and area studies. Currently the thesaurus is available in the following languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech, Croatian and Russian. The interface is available in English or German. The Thesaurus was developed with the participation of numerous European research institutes as a project of the European Information Network on International Relations and Areas Studies (EINIRAS).
Forum on Information Standards in Heritage Thesauri (browse only)
Standardization of terms to be used when creating new records of the past. Fourteen separate online thesauri are available.
GBA Thesaurus  of Geosciences
Thesaurus of geology/geosciences, in German and English, of the Geologische Bundesanstalt/Geological Survey of Austria.
The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
The AAT is a controlled vocabulary for describing and retrieving information on fine art, architecture, decorative art, and material culture.
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
The TGN contains approximately 900,000 records for places, arranged in hierarchies representing all nations of the modern world, and including vernacular and historical names, coordinates, place types, and other relevant information.
The Getty Union List of Artist Names
The ULAN is a database of biographical and bibliographical information on artists and architects, including a wealth of variant names, pseudonyms, and language variants.
International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology (ITRT)
From the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Library (UNHCR) and Forced Migration Online (FMO). It is as an interactive and searchable tool online for the location of relevant indexing terminology in English, French or Spanish.
Library of Congress Authorities
Library of Congress Subject Headings and Name Authorities (people, organizations, places, etc.)
Library of Congress Legislative Indexing Vocabulary (LIV) (browse only)
A thesaurus developed by the Congressional Research Service for use with legislative and public policy material.
LC Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I
If you are looking for a thesaurus of terms related to graphic materials, this is one you’ll want to explore.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
This thesaurus is brought to you by the National Library of Medicine. MeSH is the most used thesaurus in publications for medical and health professionals.
NASA Thesaurus (browsable PDF file)
The scope of this controlled vocabulary includes not only aerospace engineering, but all supporting areas of engineering and physics, the natural space sciences (astronomy, astrophysics, planetary science), Earth sciences, and the biological sciences.
Public Health Language
This thesaurus is provided by the North East Public Health Observatory of the Wolfson Research Institute of the University of Durham, United Kingdom, with support from UK National Library for Public Health, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and the Department of Health. The hierarchical/alphabetical browsable thesaurus is a web application of MultiTes WDK (Web Deployment Kit).
Reegle Glossary
Thesaurus of topics related to climate change and clean energy.
Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT)
Thesaurus intended for indexing online teaching materials available to schools in Australia and New Zealand in all subjects.
UNBIS Thesaurus
This online database represents the fourth edition of the UNBIS Thesaurus and the first in all the official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The multilingual UNBIS Thesaurus, created by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, United Nations Department of Public Information, contains the terminology used in subject analysis of documents and other materials relevant to United Nations programmes and activities. It is used as the subject authority of the United Nations Bibliographic Information System (UNBIS) and has been incorporated as the subject lexicon of the United Nations Official Document System. It is multidisciplinary in scope, reflecting the Organization’s wide-ranging concerns.
UNESCO Thesaurus
The UNESCO Thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation which includes subject terms for the following areas of knowledge: education; science; culture; social and human sciences; information and communication; and politics, law and economics. It also includes the names of countries and groupings of countries (political, economic, geographic, ethnic and religious, and linguistic groupings).
USDA National Agricultural Library Agriculture Thesaurus
The Thesaurus is an online vocabulary tool of agricultural terms in English and Spanish and is cooperatively produced by the National Aricultural Library, USDA, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.
World Bank Thesaurus
Thesaurus of social, economic, business, and financial topics concerning developing countries managed by the World Bank for indexing its funded development projects.


This Web page is maintained with the assistance of the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG of ASI.


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