Do you know the difference between a migrant, a refugee, and an internally displaced person (IDP)? Between a special political mission and a peacekeeping operation? Between Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on Gender Equality and SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities?
The UNU Jargon Buster is a glossary app for UN terminology: from simple acronyms to political proceedings to technical designations. All entries are linked to online references or further readings, and arranged alphabetically, by source, and by SDG. At its core, the app gathers knowledge from eight UNU sites: in Belgium (UNU-CRIS), Germany (UNU-EHS and UNU-FLORES), Iceland (UNU-GEST and UNU-LTR), Japan (UNU-IAS), Malaysia (UNU-IIGH), and the Netherlands (UNU-MERIT – the project lead). Reactions to Version 1.0 included:
“For some of you, this is the most important app you will download all year,” said
Dr. Laura Hammond from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.
“Researching the Global Goals? You need this jargon buster app..!” tweeted
the UN Library at UN Headquarters in New York.
Now from Version 2.0, the app becomes a ‘metaglossary’: step-by-step incorporating terminology from various international bodies including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). The ultimate aim is to gather all the knowledge created and applied by the UN system as a whole.
With this new release, the front- and back-ends are substantially different from the pilot version. The user interface is now dominated by the UN SDGs, which become the primary means of finding and filtering terms. In addition, users are able to search alphabetically or by source. The back-end has also changed, moving from an Excel file to a content management system that refreshes the database in real-time. Now every time a user opens the app, there is a brief background search for new entries. This text-based process uses minimal data: a few kilobytes.
Version 2.0 will be launched on 15 April 2016, at the official opening of the new UNU-MERIT building in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in the presence of Dr. David M. Malone, the Rector of the United Nations University, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Annemarie Penn-te Strake, the Mayor of Maastricht; a host of regional and national dignitaries; and the staff, fellows and students of UNU-MERIT.
For Howard Hudson, the UNU editor who created the Jargon Buster: “The aim is to
demystify a little the important but complicated work done by the UN as a whole:
to be a bridge between the UN system, academia and the general public.”
This free app is a searchable, offline, one-stop shop: designed for anyone seeking a UN glossary anywhere in the world, at a conference or in the field, be they students, scholars or policymakers. As of April 2016, the app contains several hundred entries; the database will be continuously expanded in the background over the coming months and years. This project is run by Howard Hudson, Diego Salama and Iulia Falcan, with design and technical support from Mediablenders.
UNU Jargon Buster App 2.0: Unscrambling More UN Jargon, 14 April 2016
UNU Jargon Buster App 2.0: Launch at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, 8 April 2016
WEEE? UNSSSS? New app unscrambles jumble of U.N. jargon (Reuters), 27 January 2016
A Roadmapp for the UNU Jargon Buster, 9 December 2015
UNU Jargon Buster 1.0, Launch at UNRIC, Brussels, 10 November 2015