Service description

Metadata thesaurus contains terms and expressions required in describing materials.The thesaurus is also suitable for selecting headings displayed in user interfaces. It also enhances the automatic processing of metadata (machine-readability, automatic translation, linkability).

The thesaurus has been organised according to entity-relationship structure of RDA text and FRBR concept model. Each term and phrase has its own permanent identifier (URI).

The use of the terms in the thesaurus standardises the vocabulary of descriptive metadata and simultaneously harmonises description in order to promote productiveness.The aim of the thesaurus is also to make it easier to produce metadata by collecting vocabulary and expressions needed in description as well as to clarify concepts related to them.

The thesaurus includes terms complying with both the ISBD and RDA description rules. The selected term are consisted with other thesauri (YSA, KOKO etc) and the terms in ONIX format and RDA registry.

The thesaurus does not contain vocabulary describing the subject matter of the work, such as index terms.

Joining the service
  • Free of charge
Standards used


Contact information
Service address
Background information

The development of the metadata thesaurus was included in the KILDA project (library metadata into linked data) between 2014 and 2016.

Thethesaurus is maintained by the metadata thesaurus work group with members from the National Library of Finland and Kirjastopalvelu Oy (known as BTJ Finland until 2018). National description groups (e.g. Kumea, expert network for content description, Luumu work group) have also participated in the development of the thesaurus.In the future, the entire memory organisation network will participate in the cooperation.

The metadata thesaurus was published in the Finto service as linked open metadata in 2015.

Swedish translation of the thesaurus 2015–

Service users
  • Organisations
Steering responsibility

The National Library of Finland

Organisation model
  • Networking
  • Service is developed as part of basic operation of National Library
Index terms: 
Key words