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Purpose and Scope

The ERIC Thesaurus is a list of terms representing research topics in the field of education. Descriptors from the ERIC Thesaurus are assigned to every document in the ERIC digital library to describe its subject content.

Terms in the ERIC Thesaurus represent the vocabulary used in the documents that comprise the ERIC digital library collection. Learn more about how the Thesaurus is updated in this archived webinar.

The ERIC Thesaurus contains a total of 11,875 terms. There are 4,578 descriptors and 7,165 synonyms. There are also 132 dead terms, which are no longer used as descriptors but remain in the Thesaurus to aid in searching older records. The ERIC Thesaurus was last updated in 2023. The updated Thesaurus includes 25 new descriptors, 32 new synonyms, and changes to 37 existing terms. For more information, view the full list of updates and download the updated file.

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The ERIC identifiers are lists of standardized proper nouns representing assessments and surveys, locations, and laws, policies, and programs. The identifiers were last updated in 2023 with 34 new and revised identifiers: 14 Assessment and Surveys identifiers, 11 Location identifiers, and 9 Laws, Policies, & Programs identifiers. The current lists of identifiers are now available for browsing and searching: Assessments and Surveys; Location; Laws, Policies, and Programs. For more information on using the identifiers in your search, please see the infographic What are ERIC Identifiers? and the video How to Use ERIC Identifiers.