In the 1970s, along with the popularization of the computer and the development of databases, thesaurus activities were taken up in China. In this paper, the activities in thesaurus construction in China are described. From more than 60 thesauri, 23 thesauri related to materials are listed in a table, including the name of the thesaurus, editors, publication date, field, size, and the arrangement of the thesaurus. Some thesauri are described in detail, for example: the Chinese Thesaurus;the National Defence Science and Technology Thesaurus;and thesauri on metallic materials, inorganic nonmetallic materials, polymers, and other organic materials and composites. Since almost all the thesauri were developed independently, the terms contained therein are inconsistent. Thus it was decided to set up a National Descriptor Bank which would be beneficial for the unitization of thesauri in China.
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