The appropriate and accurate use of specialised vocabulary - or 'terminology' - is crucial to successful communication in the modern world, and hence to enterprise, research and the future development of ideas. Many companies and organisations are daily engaged in using and coining terms not only within their own institutions and countries, but also across national and regional boundaries. Much of the terminology which is used and coined is recorded, and yet, in this age of the 'information society', there is little rationalisation of co-operative effort to exploit such valuable resources.

The aim of the POINTER project is to provide a set of concrete feasible proposals which will support users of terminology throughout Europe by facilitating the distribution of terminologies, as well as their re-use in different contexts and for different purposes. The emphasis of the project is on the multilingual needs of a growing European market.

This important task will be approached from a number of perspectives, taking into account the many facets of terminological activity. One major undertaking will be to ascertain the extent to which terminological data is currently available and where. Surveys of availability, use and needs will be conducted in a wide range of subject fields in different languages in universities, companies and research institutions, and at national and regional levels. The issues of standardisation and copyright will also be addressed. Subsequently, case studies will be conducted in three subject fields in order to explore selected issues in greater depth.

The project findings will be delivered in the form of a Final Report which will set out a European infrastructure for maximising the use of terminologies by those who hold such resources, those who create them, and those who wish to use them.

The POINTER project consortium comprises a representative cross-section of organisations involved in terminology use and in the development and dissemination of terminology resources. The project partners include public and commercial organisations from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Pointer Final Report

Appendices to the Final Report

The Pointer Terms of Reference are now available from this link.

Soon to be available on these pages;
Major recommendations of the POINTER consortium regarding terminology infrastructures.

Several surveys regarding terminology have been carried out in the UK and also in collaboration with other countries. These are available here.

A number of papers relating to terminology are also available. They have been written by a variety of institutions: universities, terminology companies and individual researchers.

A list of co-ordinators of institutions to contact for more information is provided. There are further links from this list giving details of those institutions.

Project Co-ordinator

Partners and associates:

Other links:

John Benjamins publishing company This site contains various publications on terminology with key-word search facilities, book and journal descriptions and more.

If you would like further information on this project or have any comments, then please contact Steve Collingham at