1. Overview

The aim of this report is to give an overview of the work performed as specified in the contract between ISEP and IITF. All tasks carried out correspond to the tasks described in work package CB 4 'Consistency in terminology and coding', as specified in t he contract between the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Topic Centre for Catalogue of Data Sources (ETC/CDS).

The tasks covered in this research project can be classified on three different levels:

The motivation for designing and implementing the strategies and methodologies mentioned above is a pragmatic one: without consistency in the terminologies that are used in all discourse within the EEA/EIONET framework, no efficient understanding will be possible. Environmental experts working in diverse areas with different aims increasingly feel the need for harmonization and standardization of the terminologies that they use, already in monolingual, but all the more in multilingual discourse. Coordinated Terminology Development in the highly heterogeneous and rapidly developing field of environment (with its manyfold dimensions or facets such as scientific studies, policy making, legal aspects, protection and conservation, waste management, planning (urban and rural), etc.) and with all the closely related (and in fact overlapping) fields such as chemistry, biology, forestry, agriculture, medicine and health, etc. has become a major strategic task in order to enable experts from different specialities just mentioned to efficiently communicate with each other, since their highly specific terminologies develop into diverse directions. This inevitably leads to terminological problems, e.g. a term that denotes different concepts within the same field (polysemes and homonyms) or a concept being represented by different terms (synonymy), fuzzy and vague definitions of the concepts used, incompatible terminologies in various languages which leads to severe translation problems, etc.

The setting up and operation of a multilingual terminology database is an efficient tool to eliminate such inconsistencies in environmental discourse.

In the following chapters of this report, the strategies and methodologies mentioned above are described, including a data model for such a database that is proposed as a distributed hyperglossary on WWW and a work flow methodology for operating such a system, some sample entries, a reference catalogue identifying existing terminological resources in the field and a strategy for evaluating them, a discussion of relevant copyright issues, a draft manual for terminology work for populating the hyperglossary and relevant background material.

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