Welcome to UKAT

UKAT is a subject thesaurus which has been created for the archive sector in the United Kingdom. It is a controlled vocabulary that archives can use when indexing their collections and catalogues.

Key aims are:

  • To improve access to archives by subject.
  • To ensure that users of archives can carry out effective subject searches of archives across the UK.
  • To promote the involvement in archives by groups which are under-represented among archive users, by providing subject terms which reflect their histories and experiences.

UKAT is based on the broad, coherent, high-level UNESCO Thesaurus structure, and covers education, science, culture, social/human sciences, information, communication, politics, law and economics.

UNESCO was used as the basis for UKAT because a number of archives and archive projects, including The Archives Hub, had adopted it for indexing purposes. However, UNESCO sometimes lacks the depth of detailed terminology required by UK archives. UKAT therefore incorporates terms that UK repositories and projects have contributed, or have been sourced from other schemes such as Library of Congress Subject Headings and the British Education Thesaurus.

Particular emphasis has been given to incorporating terms reflecting the histories and experiences of groups that are under-represented among archive users. This aims to encourage participation in archival heritage, in line with national priorities for the sector.

Recent Additions: The Georgian Papers Programme

The archive and library collections being digitised for the Georgian Papers Programme  are estimated to exceed 350,000 pages of material.

UKAT is the subject term thesaurus being used for subject indexing to enhance the Programme's original catalogue records. Where gaps within the thesaurus are identified, terms derived from Programme metadata enhancement work are considered for inclusion in the thesaurus.

This is expected to add more terms and concepts relevant to the 18th century as well as those relating to current research lines of enquiry including statecraft and material culture.


TOBIAS , the Thesaurus of British and Irish History as SKOS, is a significant source of terms derived for use in the Georgian Papers Programme. The inclusion of TOBIAS terms in UKAT is allowed under the TOBIAS Creative Commons BY-NC-SA  licence.

Latest terms: