Estonian Subject Thesaurus


The Estonian Subject Thesaurus (EMS) is a universal controlled vocabulary in Estonian for indexing and searching books, periodicals, articles, printed music, sound recordings, maps and other items.

The Estonian Subject Thesaurus was created by merging the “Estonian Universal Thesaurus” managed by the National Library of Estonia, and the thesaurus INGRID managed by the University of Tartu Library. The EMS was made public in May 2009. The subject thesaurus is supplemented by the National Library of Estonia, University of Tartu Library, the Baltic Defense College Library and the Library of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

EMS includes over 61 000 preferred and nonpreferred terms (synonyms). A detailed overview is given by EMS in figures. The subject thesaurus also contains place names but does not contain personal names or names of institutions and organisations. Changes in the EMS can be seen in real time.

The subject terms from the EMS are used

  • in the online catalogue ESTER,
  • in the database of Estonian articles ISE,
  • in the database of Estonian national bibliography ERB,
  • in the National Library of Estonia digital archive DIGAR,
  • in the union catalogue URRAM of public libraries,
  • in libraries using the library system RIKS.

In public and school libraries the use of the Estonian Subject Thesaurus is obligatory for indexing items.

EMS enables

  • to browse subject terms by subject fields;
  • to browse form/genre and chronological terms;
  • to search terms by exact match or by part of the word, or English equivalent;
  • to view search results as word lists or as full records;
  • to collect the selected words into a sample;
  • to print, e-mail or save selected word lists or full records in your computer;
  • to search by every term in the databases of the ELNET Consortium and the National Library of Estonia, or in Google;
  • to subscribe current awareness service for new, changed and deleted subject terms;
  • to download data as mnemonic MARC, machine-readable MARC21 or MARCXML format.

EMS is used nearly 57 000 times annually, an average visit lasts for 6 minutes. Along with Estonia, visitors come from 90 countries (France, Finland, USA, United Kingdom, Latvia, Germany, Russia, China, Turkey, etc.).

The subject terms from EMS are used in the online catalogue ESTER, Database of Estonian Articles ISE, union catalogue URRAM of public libraries, libraries using the library information and cataloguing system RIKS, and elsewhere. Subject term authority records in the online catalogue ESTER, Database of Estonian Articles ISE and Estonian library system URRAM are regularly updated on the basis of EMS either in real time or once a month.

The Estonian Subject Thesaurus is managed by the Estonian Libraries Network Consortium, areas of responsibility are divided between libraries.

See also

User guide of EMS