SIS Roma

DEMOPÆDIA: an open encyclopedia on demography based on the UN/IUSSP Multilingual Demographic Dictionary


Poster presented at the 46th Scientific Meeting of the Italian Statistical Society in Roma, the 20th June 2012.


Nicolas Brouard*, Elena Ambrosetti**, Aline Désesquelles*, Géraldine Duthé*, Cristina Giudici**, Joseph Larmarange***, France Meslé* and the Demopædia team

(* INED, ** La Sapienza, ***IRD/CEPED)


In 1953, the Population Commission of the United Nations requested the preparation of the widely-known Multilingual Demographic Dictionary (MDD), a milestone among the international demographic literature.
The review of this work was promoted by the United Nations Population Commission, and started in 1981 with the second edition of the French dictionary, followed by the English (1982), Spanish (1985), German (1987) and about 10 other languages mostly among Asian languages.

An important work (2006-2010) consisted in providing the electronic forms of the now out of print old dictionaries. Using adequate tools we discovered numerous errors and omissions and decided at the IUSSP conference of Marrakech in 2009 to produce a so called “harmonized” edition of the MDD, letting new modules, incorporating about 100 new demographic concepts introduced during the 80’s. These harmonized editions capture the social, political and economic changes that affected the population studies from the sixties to the eighties. But prior to updating the MDD with modern concepts like Reproductive Health, an important step is to provide new printed books. The French and Italian modules, printed as well as online, will be available for this conference under the Creative Common Share Alike license.

The next step of the project consists in the realization of a renewed, innovative, on line wiki-based multilingual encyclopedic demographic dictionary: a wiki-based Open Encyclopedia on Demography, which represents a potential platform for sharing and building a wider knowledge in demography and population studies.

The Encyclopedia was opened for the first time to the members of the IUSSP in 2009 and to PAA members at the recent San Francisco conference in May 2012. The aim of the proposed poster is to explain the history and future steps of Demopædia: an online training will be proposed during the poster session.