Australia Vocabulary Symposium 2022

The Vocabulary Symposium was held in November 2022 and has been integral to the development of vocabulary access for the IRISS project.

In basic terms, IRISS intends to bring together a series of services. One of the services will be Vocabulary Access Service for Social Science in Australia (VASSAL). Work package two incorporates VASSAL – an exploration of vocabulary access. The objective of work package two is to establish a core service for the creation, destination, and reuse of classification and vocabularies. Classification and vocabularies form a core part of social science research infrastructure and are subject to different domains.

The Vocabulary Symposium2022 | ARDC was held in person and online on November 14 and 15, 2022, at the Australian National University’s Research School of Social Sciences, in partnership between ADA, ARDC, and CODATA. The aimed was to bring together the social sciences community to discuss best practices for vocabularies.

The hybrid event was considered a positive experience and brought together more than 200 participants from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and North America. It promoted flexibility for those unable to attend face-to-face and unified people across different industries, such as universities, research centres, cultural heritage organisations, NCRIS facilities, as well as state and federal governments.

The program Vocabulary Symposium 2022 – Program ( was divided into three main areas:

  • International Vocabulary and services
  • Current practices concerning vocabulary in Australia
  • Systems and tools for discovering and reusing vocabulary

The symposium provided an opportunity for presenters to exchange their knowledge of vocabularies. Participants also discussed their experiences and developed specifications for the FAIR vocabulary to support cross-domain data, while also viewing examples of how vocabulary is used within and across domains.

An outcome of the symposium was the agreement that it is important to develop an “Australian Road Map”. Following the event, an invite-only two-day workshop was held to articulate this shared vision, as well as the path forward for vocabulary in the Australian data ecosystem and society. The exploratory work involved standards, norms, relationships, skills, policy, infrastructure and technology. It is still an on-going discussion that aims to create a guide, extract the best practices, and present concepts related to vocabularies.

It is expected that a draft version of a white paper will be presented at the next Vocabulary Symposium, which is planned for late 2023. The engagement during the symposium as well as post the event has provided the IRISS project with an opportunity to understand the social science community’s requirements as well as the exchange of relevant knowledge to this area.

Please see the slides presentation available at Vocabulary Symposium 2022 – Program ( and the videos publicly available at: