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The International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology

The International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology (ITRT) is designed to facilitate information retrieval and exchange. In print since 1988, the Thesaurus has proven an essential resource for librarians and information workers. However, the specialized nature of and ongoing evolution in refugee terminology meant that the print editions were soon outdated. In 2002, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Library and Forced Migration Online (FMO) began discussing how to create a web-based version of the Thesaurus that would be more responsive to the needs of its users.

The Thesaurus is now available as an interactive and searchable tool online, in English, French and Spanish. We hope this new version will serve as a more efficient medium for identifying relevant indexing terminology and as a value-added mechanism for managing refugee- and forced migration-related information.


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U.S.A./Elementary school "San Jose", Jacksonville, Florida
  • Select Terms for an alphabetical display of terms
  • Select Classes for a classified display of terms
  • Select Search to locate specific terms
  • For background about the Thesaurus, please read the About and Standards sections
  • For tips on using the online Thesaurus, please refer to the Help section
This initial incarnation of the online Thesaurus is a pilot version that will continue to be updated and improved. We welcome your comments and feedback.

To navigate the FRENCH version, you may expand the menu on your left or click on the available [FRENCH] text on the right-screen of the page.

Online Thesaurus launched December 2003