What and why?
Nordterm-Net can be best described as a node of Nordic terminology information on the Internet. Nordterm-Net has also links to similar information found in other places of the world. The need for this kind of terminological node has been evident for a long time and in many cases. Now, the Internet gives us a flexible medium to collect various terminological information in one place.
The most important objective of the Nordterm-Net project was to create one place to access a collection of term databases. This place was called the Nordic Termbank Gateway. A great part of the term databases collected to this network formed one big termbank, Nordtermbank, which had a uniform structure, software and common routines. The aim was also to include small high-quality vocabularies as a part of the Nordtermbank. The objective was to gather at least 200.000 term records into the termbank. In addition to this, any Nordic terminology database could have been linked to the Gateway if the administrator of the database in question had wanted it to be part of the network and if the database had met certain quality requirements. The Nordtermbank was available for a short time, but unfortunately it had to be closed down. However, the implementation of a modernised version of the termbank is being planned.
The Nordtermbank contained terminology databases on various subject fields. The requirement was that the terminologies should contain terms at least in one Nordic language, and preferably equivalents also in non-Nordic languages. The Nordic languages are: Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Sami and Swedish. The Nordic countries are: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Nordterm-Net was a project of Nordterm, and Terminologicentrum TNC in Sweden acted as the project coordinator. Other partners were:
- Sanastokeskus TSK, Finland
- RTT, Rådet for teknisk terminologi, Norway
- University of Vaasa, Finland
- Nordiska språkrådet (Nordic Language Council)
Other organisations also participated in Nordterm-Net in a smaller scale in order to guarantee that the project would be multilingual:
- Terminologigruppen, Denmark
- Íslensk Málstöð (Icelandic Language Institute)
- Samisk språkråd (Sami Language Council)
- Stiftelsen Universitetsforskning Bergen (UNIFOB)
The Nordterm-Net project was partly financed by MLIS (Multilingual Information Society), a program initiated by the European Commission in order to support, among other things, the creation of such digital language resources (i.e. high-quality text collections, vocabularies and terminologies) that can be updated and that are easily available.
The idea was that Nordterm-Net would be very useful for standardisers, patent engineers, experts in various subject fields, technical writers, translators, terminologists, language consultants, teachers, lawyers and civil servants, in short all who use special languages in unilingual or multilingual contexts. Besides the Nordic users, also persons working in European organisations, e.g. the European Union, that have some Nordic language as a working language could benefit from such services as Nordterm-Net offers. Such termbank services could be, for example:
- an important advantage for small and medium-size Nordic enterprises that have to operate in new, international circumstances, which often cause translation problems
- one way to reduce the costs related to translation, documentation, training and research in business, public administration, education and other fields
- one way to publicly present and document the meaning of ordinary terms in national or regional languages in order to harmonise and unify the use of terms.
How was it done?
The project included the following Work Packages (WP):
- evaluation of existing data programs for termbank software, and, to some extent, tailoring and developing of these products (WP1 + WP3 + WP5)
- identification, analysis and gathering of important term collections (WP2)
- designing of web sites and user interfaces, converting and tagging of data (WP4 + WP6 + WP7 + WP8)
- preliminary work on Nordterm-Forum so that it would be a centre where information on all types of terminology-related activities could be found (WP9)
- analysis of information security and availability (WP10)
- marketing (WP11)
All this work lead to a working network for terminological issues in the summer of 1999.
Before the Nordterm-Net project had started, representatives of TNC, RTT and TSK participated in a coordination meeting with another MLIS project, INESTERM (MLIS-102), the aim of which was also to create a multilingual termbank on the Web. The meeting took place in Paris in the end of January in 1998.
After a kick-off meeting in Stockholm on the 9th of March in 1998, the preparing for the evaluation of termbank software started. Besides this, every partner made a national inventory of available, interesting term collections.
The first consortium meeting was hold not until on the 15 of September in 1998. Seven of nine partners were present and discussed mainly on those results that had been achieved, especially on the criteria for software suppliers and web design (WP4). Certain partners, which were also software suppliers, described their products, and it was decided that no supplier would be left out in the first phase. A suggestion for Nordterm-Net's future organisation (as a company) was also made and discussed in the meeting. Procedures for testing the software were discussed, too.
One month after this meeting, project coordinator Kjell Westerberg met project administrator Erwin Valentini in Luxemburg. After this, the second consortium meeting was hold in the 21st and 22nd of October in Solna.
Because the Nordtermbank was one of the main objectives in this project, it was important to choose the software that would be used in the termbank. The preliminary work had listed the selection criteria and essential features of the software. After the software suppliers had presented their products, the consortium estimated them and made the final decision on the software supplier in the second meeting. Swedish Optosoft was chosen as the supplier in the first phase of the Nordtermbank. This does not however prevent the use of other software suitable for terminology work later.
The second coordination meeting with MLIS-102 INESTERM was held in Paris on the 16th of October. Three representatives from TNC and RTT met INESTERM's partners AFNOR, ELOT and DIN as well as representatives from the University of Haute-Bretagne, Rennes. When these two projects and their current situations had been presented, three coordination issues stood out: the future handling of clients (including a system for electronic payment via web), marketing and a need for a common term record format.
In a joint meeting for both projects in Luxembourg on the 28th of October, Nicole West, coordinator for INESTERM, emphasized how important the cooperation between the both MLIS projects was, because it was the only ongoing coordination between MLIS projects. A delegation of four representatives from the University of Vaasa and Bergen as well as TNC represented Nordterm-Net in a meeting in Luxembourg. The project coordinator presented the project in the meeting, and all four representatives participated later in a meeting where Nordterm-Net was presented and evaluated.
The third consortium meeting was held in Denmark on the 9th and 10th of December in the newly-opened DANTERMcentre in Copenhagen. The key issue in this meeting was NTRF, Nordic Terminological Record Format. NTRF is a set of common data fields used by the Nordic terminology centres. Every organisation has its own format which has a certain selection of fields. Because of this, the original structure of NTRF and its fields were discussed. After this, the field structure of NTRF was revised so that it would suit best for Nordterm-Net. A complete list of field types that would be used in the project was set up and a new version of NTRF was prepared. This would be used as the basis for building a user interface. It was also decided that the most of the Nordterm-Net's web pages would be translated into nine languages, including Sami, Faroese and Greenlandic.
The fourth meeting of the consortium, held at TNC in Solna on the 15th and 16th of February, gathered together many representatives of the project's partners. The Commission's project administrator, Erwin Valentini, took also part in the meeting, which focused on the organisation of a possible future secretariat, where it would be situated, technical specifications of NTRF, how the identicifation of terminologies had progresses in each country as well as administrative issues, such as timetables and costs. For those who are interested in taking part in the identification of terminologies, there is a questionnaire on this web site.
The work to find terminologies that can be added to the Nordtermbank continues. And the work to find links and material for Nordterm-Forum continues, too.
Are you interested?
Nordterm-Net has become Nordterm's current web site and Nordterm Forum still exists. We even work to bring the Nordtermbank available again.
- Can you give us a link to a web site with terminological information?
- Are you interested in adding a suitable term collection into the new future Nordtermbank?
Contact project coordinator at TNC or some other Nordterm partner for more information!