The Icelandic Term Bank contains specialized software for the recording and publishing of terminology collections. Authors are given access to special software for processing their terminologies. These terminologies will, when they are finished, be added to the database that users of the Term Bank can search. The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies makes an agreement with the authors, giving them access to the software free of charge, and in return the institute can publish the terminology collections in the online Term Bank. The authors, nevertheless, still retain all rights to their works and can publish them anywhere and anytime they choose.
The Icelandic Term bank is available for use in two different ways:
One of the roles of the Term Banks is to standardize the use of terms within related and unrelated subject fields. The aim is to hinder that many different terms are used for the same concept or phenomenon. The Term Bank provides an overview of Icelandic terminology and topical neologisms and thereby makes it easier to coordinate and standardize term usage. Additionally, the Term Bank provides access to Icelandic translations of foreign terms, and access to definitions of terms in Icelandic and other languages. The Term Bank thus benefits all those that write about specialized topics, such as translators, teachers, students, journalists, government agencies, businesses and any interested people, and last but not least compilers of dictionaries.
The Icelandic Term Bank (Previously named the Word Bank of the Icelandic Language Institute) was opened on the Internet on November 15, 1997 on the Day of the Icelandic Language. The Icelandic Language Institute was in charge of the bank until September 1, 2006 when the Icelandic Language Institute, The Institute of Lexicography at the University of Iceland, The Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland, the Sigurður Nordal Institute and the Place-name Institute of Iceland were merged into one, the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.
The Term Bank is structured in such a way that it can increase in size and diversity. The bank has two main sections, the processing section and the section where terminologies are published.
The general user has no access to the processing section of the Term Bank which is reserved for compilers of terminologies (individuals and committees). The processing section is further divided into subsections, each belonging to the author of a particular terminology collection. When a terminology collection is completed, the editor of the Term Bank transfers it to the published section; it is also possible to display individual parts of a terminology collection as soon as they are ready. The published section of the term bank is the visible term bank, i.e., the part of the bank that the general public has access to. With a tailor-made search interface, it is possible to search for Icelandic or foreign terms in one or more collections at a time, and retrieve information on the term, both in Icelandic and other relevant languages.