One purpose of a word bank is to coordinate the terminological usage in both related and different fields; to collect terms, define and unify them to avoid the use of different names of the same concept. The Icelandic Word Bank does serve this purpose. It can give a general survey of Icelandic terminolgy and contemporary neologisms, thus adding to the coordination of both usage and definitions.
The Icelandic Word Bank is divided into two main sections, processing section and display section. Each section contains glossaries in different fields. The display section is publically searchable/accessible on the World Wide Web and the processing section is the part where the owners and editors of different glossaries can update their work and create new glossaries. When the owner of a particular glossary is ready to publish his/her work the editor of the Word Bank can copy the glossary from the processing section to the display section and thus either add a new glossary or update an existing one. All glossaries contain terms in Icelandic. In the bilingual glossaries, apart from the Icelandic, the most common language is English, but many of the glossaries are multilingual and the most frequent additional languages are Danish, German, Norwegian, Swedish and French. Today there are 36 glossaries containing about 125.000 terms in the display section, all accessible to the user in a single search, and additional 13 glossaries at different stages in the processing section.
The Icelandic Word Bank on the World Wide Web can be updated at all times wherever the editors of its data bases are located in the world, as long as they are connected to the Internet, and the editors and other users can use their favourite WWW browsers for editing and searching as they are not bound to one platform.
In 1979 the first ideas about a computerized Term Bank in a network emerged in the Icelandic Language Institute. The main idea was to store the data in a mainframe computer with access from terminals. Since then there has been a technical revolution in the field of computing; still the main idea is the same, the only difference ist that now the network is the computer.