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Controlled vocabulary in public health : an overview of the achievements to date

[journal article]

Niedźwiedzka, Barbara; Czabanowska, Katarzyna; Śmietana, Rafał

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Abstract Aim: The aim of the article is to present both published and unpublished information materials based on the literature review related to the accomplishments in the area of development and unification of the public health terminology. Background: Public health is a multidisciplinary field that has long been struggling with the need to develop comprehensive and exhaustive terminology that would cover all related disciplines, facilitate accurate understanding of terms, aid information search and processing, as well as permit an accurate scientific communication among public health professionals. This is not an easy task given the theoretical and practical scope of the discipline. Summary of the resources: The following bibliographical databases were searched: LISA, PubMED, EMBASE, ERIC, as well as Internet websites devoted to public health issues, websites of the institutions operating in this area, and databases of projects financed by the European Union. All national and international reports in English, French, or German that dealt with the development of public health terminology in respective languages were included in the search. The glossaries, documents, databases, or web pages related to the activities of single institutions were excluded. Finally 13 glossaries were selected from among a number of different dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauruses that cover the terms used in public health discipline or its sub-disciplines. The selected glossaries were developed in order to unify the terminology with their intended circulation exceeding the narrow aim of collecting terminology for the purpose of one project or for cataloguing the resources of a particular institution. Conclusion: Until now, no one has developed one universal public health terminology, but various attempts related to its normalization are underway. The difficulties in communication, electronic collection, and transfer of information as well as differences in the understanding of public health terms have led to the process of unification. Such a process has been perceived not only in individual countries, but also internationally. There is hope that such works will finally result in the desired and internationally unified understanding of public health terms.
Keywords public health
Classification Health Policy; Science of Literature, Linguistics
Free Keywords Vocabulary; Controlled; Dictionaries
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 55-59
Journal Journal of Public Health, 17 (2008) 1
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10389-008-0212-y
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)