The Helsinki Term Bank for the Arts and Sciences

    Tieteen termipankista

    The Helsinki Term Bank for the Arts and Sciences (The HTB, earlier The Bank of Finnish Terminology in the Arts and Sciences) is a multidisciplinary project which aims to gather a permanent terminological database for all fields of research in Finland. The project has created a Semantic MediaWiki platform, which offers a collaborative environment. The semantic MediaWiki platform is an open collaborative website. This means that anyone can freely use it and also participate in the discussion about terms.

    The data available for all users includes the following details:

    • The term and its synonyms in Finnish
    • Definition(s)
    • The concept's place in the concept system and concept diagrams
    • Information about the term’s morphological structure
    • Ostensive definitions (e.g. pictures)
    • Contexts (e.g. links to abstracts of articles)
    • Term equivalents in other languages (and information about the translatability of terms when necessary)

    The working method is a type of limited crowd-sourcing, that is niche-sourcing. The terminology will be gathered among expert groups in different fields of research. The project is being carried out in three pilot projects: botany, jurisprudence, and linguistics. In the course of the pilot projects, the operations models for the teamwork of expert groups will be developed in order to take into account varying practices and terminological demands in different subfields of research. The published view of each terminological entry will be defined by the relevant expert group and customized to fit the special needs of each field of research.

    The core of the terminological work is done by expert teams from various fields of the arts and science. The members of each expert team have access to a wide range of wiki editing resources and can add information into every slot of the database in their field of expertise. They will also label the definition of a term as “checked” when they think that it meets the standards of the field. It is also possible to include existing terminologies in the bank – of course with the permission of those who own the copyright.

    The Bank of Finnish Terminology in Arts and Sciences was an infrastructure project funded for five years by the Academy of Finland and the University of Helsinki (2011 - 2015). The project was situated at the department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies. The HTB thereof is still coordinated in the unit of Finnish Language, but it also collaborates with FIN-CLARIN at the department of Digital Humanities in the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki. The goals of the project serve language policy and sociology of science as well. An extensive Finnish research terminology bank will help those researchers, translators, journalists and others who write about research and its results in the arts and sciences and in Finnish. By gathering the scientific terminology in one place, the bank also improves the possibilities for multidisciplinary discussion and research.

    The project cooperates with the Federation for Finnish Learned Societies and its project Tieteen termistötalkoot (Voluntary work for the terminology of arts and sciences). The experts come from both the member societies of the FFLS (TSV) and from universities and work as volunteers. The project also has other cooperative partners, such as the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus), and terminologists, for example, from The Finnish Terminology Centre TSK. The project has two steering groups, one on behalf of the FFLS and the other representing expertise in linguistics, language technology and language planning. The project is affiliated with the Finnish Language Resource Consortium FIN-CLARIN, and through this affiliation, has a connection to the European infrastructure ESFRI.

    The linguistics pilot project is coordinated by Professor Emerita Lea Laitinen and Tiina Onikki-Rantajääskö. The expert group of botanists is coordinated by post- doctoral researcher Kaarina Pitkänen-Heikkilä. The work of the expert group of jurists is based on the Encyclopedia Iuridica Fennica and organized by the editor of the EIF, Professor Emeritus Heikki E. S. Mattila. The expert group will consist of from 150 to 200 lawyers. On behalf of the project, coordinator Antti Kanner will also coordinate the pilot project for jurisprudence and is writing his dissertation about the terminological work in the field. One of the special challenges is to discuss and create concise definitions in such fields as jurisprudence where there is a background of long encyclopedic articles for each term.

    The key societies cooperating with the pilot projects are the Finnish Lawyers' Association (Suomalainen Lakimiesyhdistys), the Biological Society of Finland Vanamo (Suomen Biologian Seura Vanamo), the Society for the Study of Finnish (Kotikielen Seura) and other linguistic societies.

    The Semantic MediaWiki platform is created by Niklas Laxström and Antti Kanner, the graphic design by Tommi Kovala. The project is coordinated by Professor Tiina Onikki-Rantajääskö. Contact us by e-mail: