A wide range of controlled vocabularies may be used to describe and enhance access to art and material culture resources. Many of these vocabularies are created and maintained by research institutions, national and international cultural organizations, and professional societies and associations. They can be used individually or together, depending on the type of material being described. Only a sampling of the most commonly used vocabularies is discussed in this chapter. A fuller list of pertinent vocabularies and sources of terminology may be found in the Appendix.
4.1. Types of Vocabulary Terms
The types of terms that are necessary for describing art and architecture include the names for people, corporate bodies, geographic locations, objects, iconographic subjects, and genre terms.
Personal names are used for creators, publishers, donors, patrons, clients, and any other individual associated with the design, production, subject, or other aspect of cultural works.
Georgia O'Keeffe (American painter, 1887–1986)
Painter of the Wedding Procession (Greek vase painter, active ca. 360s BCE)
Corporate names are used for repositories, architectural and photographic firms, workshops, families of artists, and any other group of people working together as an entity who are associated with the work. The group need not be legally incorporated. Corporate names are often included in the same vocabulary as personal names.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, New York, United States) (American art museum, formed in 1870)
Adler and Sullivan (American architectural firm, 1883–1924)
Geographic names are used for the current location, creation location, discovery location, various other former locations, places of conservation, subject (when the work depicts a named place), and any other geographic place associated with the work and its history.
Athens (Periféreia Protevoúsis, Greece) (inhabited place)
Taihezhen (Yunnan, China) (deserted settlement)
Pampa del Tamarugal (Chile) (plain)
Geographic names are also linked to the authority records for the artists, museums, and other people and corporate bodies listed in the work record. For example, if the Metropolitan Museum of Art is linked as the repository in a work record, the geographic location of the museum, New York, would by default also be associated with the work.
Generic terms—which are terms that may each refer generically to many things—are used for object types, materials, techniques, styles, and many other areas of the records for art and architecture. By definition, generic terms exclude proper names and are usually written in lowercase in English. However, the term may begin with a capital letter if a proper name is incorporated in a term (e.g., Panathenaic amphorae).
casein paint (tempera, water-base paint, Materials)
Panathenaic amphorae (neck amphorae, storage vessels, Furnishings and Equipment)
Iconographic subjects and themes, religious and mythological characters, events, and other such terminology also require controlled vocabulary.
Buddha (Buddhist iconography)
Nike Crowning the Victor (Story of Nike, Greek Iconography)
Battle of the Little Big Horn (American Indian Wars)
A discussion of several of the most prominent vocabularies used for art and architecture information is included below. In addition to the ones listed here, there are dozens of local and regional databases of vocabularies—such as Artists in Canada, compiled and maintained by the National Gallery of Canada Library, and Elizabeth Glass's A Subject Index for the Visual Arts (1969), developed to enhance access to the prints and drawings of the Victoria and Albert Museum—as well as published encyclopedias and other sources that are discussed in Chapter 6: Local Authorities and the Appendix.
4.2. The Getty Vocabularies
Three Getty vocabularies are thesauri that provide terminology, relationships, and other information about the objects, artists, concepts, and places important to various disciplines that specialize in art, architecture, and material culture: the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN). A fourth Getty vocabulary, the Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA), is currently under development (as of this writing).
The Getty vocabularies can be used in three ways: as sources of terminology at the data entry stage by catalogers or indexers who are describing works of art, architecture, material culture, archival materials, visual surrogates, or bibliographic materials; as knowledge bases, providing information for researchers; and as search assistants to enhance end-user access to online resources.
Beginning in the 1980s, the Getty vocabularies were developed as sources of terminology for—and to supply scholarly information about—concepts needed to catalog and retrieve information about the visual arts and cultural heritage. The Getty vocabularies are thesauri containing names and other information about people, places, and things in the realm of art and cultural heritage, linked together to show relevant relationships. The focus of each record is the concept, to which terms are linked. The concepts are generally displayed in three ways: in hierarchies with indentation; in full records with all pertinent associated terms and names, other data, and relationships; and in abbreviated strings in results lists.
The Getty vocabularies are compilations of terms gathered from various cataloging and documentation projects. They are edited, managed, and distributed by the Getty Vocabulary Program. The vocabularies are not comprehensive; they are living thesauri that grow and evolve through work with internal and external contributors. Some of the current contribu-tors to the Getty vocabularies include museums, libraries, archives, and bibliographic and documentation projects, including projects at the Getty Research Institute such as the Getty Provenance Index, the Photo Study Collection, and the Research Library catalog. Former Getty projects were contributors in the past, including the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), and the Foundation for Documents of Architecture (FDA). Various projects in the Getty Conservation Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum also contribute data. External contributors include the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Frick Art Reference Library; the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art; the Courtauld Institute of Art; the National Art Library in London; the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A); the Mystic Seaport museum; the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin; the Bunting Visual Resources Library at the University of New Mexico; the Centro de Documentación de Bienes Patrimoniales, Chile; the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione, Rome; and the Canadian Heritage Information Network. Up-to-date information about contributors and how to make contributions is available on the Getty Vocabulary Program Web pages.
The Getty vocabularies are compliant with ISO and NISO standards for thesaurus construction. The terms and associated information in the AAT, TGN, and ULAN are valued as authoritative because they are derived from published sources and represent current research and usage in the art history and cultural heritage communities. The rules for content of the Getty vocabularies are available in comprehensive Editorial Guidelines that comply with CDWA, CCO, and other standards.
The Getty vocabularies are published in licensed files and in an online application that is free of charge to all Web users. They are integrated into various collections management systems. The primary users of the Getty vocabularies include museums, art libraries, archives, visual resources collection catalogers, bibliographic projects concerned with art, researchers in art and art history, and the information specialists who address the needs of these users. In addition, a significant number of users of the Getty vocabularies are students and members of the general public.
4.2.1. Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
The AAT is a structured vocabulary containing, as of this writing, approximately 131,000 terms and other information relating to objects, materials, techniques, activities, and other concepts. Terms in the AAT may be used to describe art, architecture, decorative arts, material culture, and archival materials.
The focus of each AAT record is called a concept. Currently there are approximately 34,000 concepts in the AAT. In the database, each concept's record (also called a subject) is identified by a unique numeric identifier. Linked to each concept record are terms, related concepts, a parent (that is, an immediate broader context), sources for the data, and notes. Each record has one preferred term in American English and may have other terms preferred in other languages. Additional synonymous terms may be included as well.
The AAT is a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the AAT hierarchies (Subject_ID: 300000000). The structure of the AAT allows for multiple broader contexts, making the AAT polyhierarchical; for example, jade has two broader contexts: metamorphic rock and gemstone. In addition to the hierarchical relationships, the AAT has equivalence and associative relationships.
The AAT includes terms describing concepts related to art and architecture, excluding proper names and iconographic subjects; thus, it contains information about generic concepts (as opposed to proper nouns or names). That is, each concept is a case of many (a generic thing), not a case of one (a specific thing). For example, the generic term cathedral is in the AAT, but the specific proper name Chartres Cathedral is out of scope for the AAT (Chartres Cathedral is in scope for CONA).
The temporal coverage of the AAT ranges from Antiquity to the present, and the scope is global. To be within scope, terms must be applicable to the creation, use, discovery, maintenance, description, appreciation, or conservation of art, architecture, decorative arts, archaeology, material culture, archival materials, or related concepts.
The AAT includes terminology to describe the type of artwork (e.g., sculpture), its material (e.g., bronze), activities associated with the work (e.g., casting), its style (e.g., Art Nouveau), the role of the creator or other persons (e.g., sculptor, doctor), and other attributes or various abstract concepts (e.g., symmetry). It may include the generic names of plants and animals (e.g., domestic cat or Felis domesticus), but not specific names. For example, Fanchette, as a literary character (the cat in the Claudine novels by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette), would go in a Subject Authority. The AAT does not include proper names of persons, organizations, geographic places, named subjects, or named events.
The scope of the AAT is multicultural and international. Terms for any concept may include the plural form of the term, singular form, natural order, inverted order, spelling variants, various forms of speech, terms in different languages, and synonyms that have various etymological roots.
22.214.171.124.1. Facets and Hierarchies in the AAT
New concepts must fit into the facets and hierarchies already established in the AAT. The facets are conceptually organized in a scheme that proceeds from abstract concepts to concrete, physical artifacts. A broader term provides an immediate class or genus to a concept and serves to clarify its meaning. The narrower term is always a type of, kind of, or generic manifestation of its broader context. For example, orthographic projections is the broader context for plans (images) because all plans are orthographic (i.e., the projectors are perpendicular to the picture plane).
The conceptual framework of facets and hierarchies in the AAT is designed to allow a general classification scheme for art and architecture. The framework is not subject-specific; for example, there is no defined portion of the AAT that is specific only for Renaissance painting. Terms to describe Renaissance painting are found in many locations in the AAT hierarchies. The following are the seven facets into which the AAT is divided:
Associated Concepts: This facet contains abstract concepts and phenomena that relate to the study and execution of a wide range of human thought and activity, including architecture and art in all media as well as related disciplines. Also covered here are theoretical and critical concerns, ideologies, attitudes, and social or cultural movements. Examples are beauty, balance, connoisseurship, metaphor, freedom, and socialism.
Physical Attributes: This facet concerns the perceptible or measurable characteristics of materials and artifacts as well as those features of materials and artifacts that are not separable as components. Included are characteristics such as size and shape, chemical properties of materials, qualities of texture and hardness, and features such as surface ornament and color. Examples are strapwork, borders, round, waterlogged, and brittleness.
Styles and Periods: This facet provides terms for stylistic groupings and distinct chronological periods that are relevant to art, architecture, and the decorative arts. Examples are French, Louis XIV, Xia, Black-figure, and Abstract Expressionist.
Agents: This facet contains terms for designations of people, groups of people, and organizations identified by occupation or activity, physical or mental characteristics, or social role or condition. Examples are printmakers, landscape architects, corporations, and religious orders.
Activities: This facet encompasses areas of endeavor, physical and mental actions, discrete occurrences, systematic sequences of actions, methods employed toward a certain end, and processes occurring in materials or objects. Activities may range from branches of learning and professional fields to specific life events, from mentally executed tasks to processes performed on or with materials and objects, from single physical actions to complex games. Examples are archaeology, engineering, analyzing, contests, exhibitions, running, drawing (image-making), and corrosion.
Materials: This facet deals with physical substances, whether naturally or synthetically derived. These range from specific materials to types of materials designed by their function, such as colorants, and from raw materials to those that have been formed or processed into products that are used in fabricating structures or objects. Examples are iron, clay, adhesive, emulsifier, artificial ivory, and millwork.
Objects: This facet is the largest of all the AAT facets. It encompasses discrete tangible or visible things that are inanimate and produced by human endeavor; that is, objects that are either fabricated or given form by human activity. In physical form, they range from built works to images and written documents. In purpose, they range from utilitarian to aesthetic. Also included are landscape features that provide the context for the built environment. Examples are paintings, amphorae, façades, cathedrals, Brewster chairs, and gardens.
126.96.36.199. What Constitutes a Term in the AAT?
Terms in all of the Getty vocabularies require literary warrant, meaning that they are found in an authoritative published source. The preferred term in the AAT is the term most often used in authoritative sources in American English. Descriptors in other languages may also be included.
188.8.131.52.1. Warrant for a Term
Whereas in the TGN and ULAN it is generally clear what word or combination of words is considered a place name or a person's name in a published source, the AAT presents a unique challenge: how to determine if a word or words truly represent a definable, unique concept in common and scholarly usage, or if it is simply a string of words (in which case it would not be included in the AAT). A concept is defined as a single word or multiple words that are used consistently to refer to the identical generic concept, type of work material, activity, style, role, or other attribute.
In order to determine whether or not the term is truly established by common usage in the community, that it consistently represents a definable concept, and that the preferred term (descriptor) is the one most often used to refer to this concept, the AAT generally requires three pieces of literary warrant (although exceptions are described in the guidelines for contributions).
184.108.40.206.2. Discrete Concepts
A concept in the context of the AAT is a discrete thing or idea. The AAT maintains discrete concepts, as opposed to headings or compound terms, in order to make the thesaurus more versatile in cataloging and more powerful in retrieval. However, a term for a discrete concept is not necessarily composed of only one word; examples of multiple-word terms describing discrete concepts include the following: rose windows, flying buttresses, book of hours, High Renaissance, and lantern slides. These terms are bound compound terms, meaning the words must remain joined in order to retain meaning.
In contrast to a discrete concept, a subject heading typically concatenates multiple terms or concepts together in a string. For example, Pre-Columbian sculptures is a heading composed of terms representing two discrete concepts: Pre-Columbian (a style and period) and sculpture (a type of work). Pre-Columbian as a style and period term can be combined with many other terms and retain its meaning, as may sculpture.
220.127.116.11. What Is Excluded from the AAT?
All terms in the AAT must refer to a case of many (generic things), not a case of one (unique things). In general, if a term is a proper name, it is excluded from the AAT. Therefore, individual people and named buildings, corporate bodies, and historical events are out of scope for the AAT.
Also excluded are concepts that are not directly related to the visual arts and architecture. Terms that are peripherally related to the visual arts may be included if the general user community deems them necessary for cataloging works of art and architecture and if the terms fit into the facets already established in the AAT. Brand names are generally excluded from the AAT, except in the rare case where the brand name has come to mean the generic item (e.g., Bakelite); unbound compound concepts and terms that have not been accepted in general language or by the scholarly community are also excluded.
18.104.22.168. Fields in the AAT
On the following page is a sample record from the published AAT, showing many of the fields in the record. In addition to these fields displayed to the public, there are additional fields hidden from public view but used for retrieval or administrative purposes in the production system. For a brief discussion of the AAT fields, see About the AAT on the AAT Web site. For a full description of the AAT fields and the methodology for compiling and editing the data, see the Getty Vocabulary Program Editorial Guidelines online.
4.2.2. Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)
The TGN is a structured vocabulary containing, at the time of this writing, approximately 1,115,000 names, as well as other information about places. It is a thesaurus containing hierarchical, equivalence, and associative relationships. The TGN is not a geographic information system (GIS). While many records in the TGN include coordinates, these coordinates are approximate and intended for reference only.
The focus of each TGN record is a place. There are approximately 895,000 places represented in the TGN. In the database, each place record (also called a subject) is identified by a unique numeric identifier. Linked to the place records are names, the place's parent (i.e., immediate broader context) in the hierarchy, other relationships, geographic coordinates, notes, sources for the data, and place types, which are terms describing the role of the place (e.g., inhabited place and state capital). Each record has at least one preferred name and may have additional names that are preferred in other languages. Names for a place may include names in the vernacular language, English, other languages, historical names, and names in natural order and inverted order. The preferred name is flagged in order to serve as a default in displays (although any name in the record may be preferred by users in different situations).
The TGN is a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the TGN hierarchies (Subject_ID: 1000000). Currently, most of the TGN data is located under the facet World. Under World, the places are generally arranged in hierarchies representing the current political and physical world, although some historical nations and empires are also included. There may be multiple broader contexts for a given place, making the TGN polyhierarchical; for example, the town of Siena is placed under modern Italy, but also under the historical confederation of Etruria, of which it was a part. The TGN also includes a facet called Extraterrestrial Places.
The temporal coverage of the TGN ranges from prehistory to the present, and the scope is global. The TGN includes administrative entities and physical features that have proper names, are of the types typically found in atlases and gazetteers, and are required for cataloging art and architecture.
22.214.171.124.1. Nations, Cities, Archaeological Sites
The TGN focuses on political and administrative bodies defined by administrative boundaries and conditions, including inhabited places, nations, empires, states, districts, townships, and some neighborhoods. These administrative entities include places defined by boundaries established by standard, independent sovereign states as well as entities with government and boundaries defined by ecclesiastical or tribal authorities. Archaeological sites and general regions without defined boundaries are also included.
126.96.36.199.2. Physical Features
Physical features are characteristics of the earth's surface that have been shaped by natural forces—including continents, mountains, forests, rivers, oceans, submerged islands, and former continents. The TGN generally excludes man-made features that may resemble physical features, such as roads, reservoirs, and canals. A small number of extra-terrestrial places are included in the TGN.
188.8.131.52.3. Places That No Longer Exist
The TGN may include places that are no longer extant, such as deserted settlements, historical states, and lost physical features, such as submerged islands.
184.108.40.206. What Is Excluded from the TGN?
Smaller features typically found within the boundaries of a city—buildings, landmarks, and streets—are generally not included in the TGN. Also excluded are mythical and legendary places, such as the Garden of Eden. Lost sites may be included if they are generally believed to have existed, even if their precise historical location is not currently known.
220.127.116.11.1. Built Works
In general, architectural works are outside the scope of the TGN (but should be recorded in CONA). Building names are occasionally included in the TGN, but these are limited to names of structures or complexes that are located in the countryside (e.g., abbeys, villas, and shopping centers), where the name serves as a place name in the absence of a larger populated place. Certain other large, major man-made features, such as the Great Wall of China and the Appian Way, are also included in the TGN
18.104.22.168.2. Cultural and Political Groups
Cultural and political groups are outside the scope of the TGN. However, the political state of a cultural or political group and the territory within its boundaries may be included in the TGN. For example, the Ottoman Turks are outside the scope of the TGN. but the Ottoman Empire is included.
22.214.171.124. Fields in the TGN
Above is a sample record from the published TGN, showing many of the fields in the record. In addition to the fields displayed to the public, there are additional fields hidden from public view but used for retrieval or administrative purposes in the production database. For a brief discussion of the TGN fields, see About the TGN on the TGN Web site. For a full description of the TGN fields and the methodology for compiling and editing the data, see the Getty Vocabulary Program Editorial Guidelines online.
4.2.3. Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)
The ULAN is a structured vocabulary containing, at the time of this writing, approximately 293,000 names and other information about artists and other creators of cultural works. Names in the ULAN may include given names and surnames, pseudonyms, variant spellings, names in multiple languages, and names that have changed over time (e.g., married names). Among these names, one is flagged as the preferred name.
Although it is usually displayed as a list, the ULAN is structured as a thesaurus, compliant with ISO and NISO standards for thesaurus construction; it contains hierarchical, equivalence, and associative relationships.
The focus of each ULAN record is an artist or other creator. As of this writing, there are approximately 120,000 individuals and corporate bodies represented in the ULAN. In the database, each person or corporate body record is identified by a unique numeric identifier. Linked to each record are names, related people and corporate bodies, sources for the data, and notes.
Even though the structure is relatively flat, the ULAN is constructed as a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the ULAN hierarchies (Subject_ID: 500000001); it currently has three published facets: Person, Corporate Body, and Unknown Artist. Entities in the Person Facet typically have no hierarchical children (if they have genetic children who are artists, they are linked as associative relationships). Entities in the Unknown Artist Facet may be arranged under guide terms. Entities in the Corporate Body Facet may branch into trees, for example with the departments or divisions of a museum or manufactory. There may be multiple broader contexts, making the ULAN structure polyhierarchical. In addition to the hierarchical relationships, the ULAN also has equivalence and associative relationships.
The ULAN includes records for individual people, whether or not their proper name is identified, such as Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese printmaker and painter, 1760–1849) and Master of the Albrecht Altar (German painter, active 1430/1450). It also includes records for corporate bodies, which are a legally incorporated entity or an organized, identifiable group of individuals working together in a particular place and within a defined period of time, such as the Bisson Frères (French photography studio, 1841–1864). The Unknown Artist Facet contains appellations used in cataloging to designate culture or nationality when the individual creator is unknown, such as unknown Maya.
The temporal coverage of the ULAN ranges from Antiquity to the present, and the scope is global. The ULAN includes records for individual artists, rulers and other patrons, architectural firms and other groups of artists working together, and repositories of artworks.
In the context of the ULAN, an artist or artisan is any person or group of people who create art or other items of high artistic merit. The definition hinges upon the sometimes nebulous, often controversial, constantly changing definition of art. For the ULAN, artists and artisans represent creators who have been involved in the design or production of the visual arts that are of the type collected by art museums. Included are the creators of fine art such as paintings, sculpture, drawings, photographs and other prints, as well as the craftsmen who make ceramics, furniture, jewelry, calligraphy, costume, and many other types of works. The objects themselves may be in an art museum; an ethnographic, anthropological, or other museum; or owned by a private collector.
In the context of the ULAN, a creator of architecture may be included if he or she was involved in the design or creation of structures or parts of structures that are the result of conscious construction, are of practical use, are relatively stable and permanent, and are of a size and scale appropriate for—but not limited to—habitable buildings. Architecture is often limited to the built environment that is typically classified as fine art, meaning that it is generally considered to have aesthetic value, was designed by an architect, and constructed with skilled labor.
The ULAN may include people and corporate bodies closely related to artists, such as prominent patrons (e.g., Hadrian or Louis XIV ). Museums and other repositories of art are included as well. Other examples of persons include teachers, patrons, famous spouses, or other family members. Examples of corporate bodies include associated firms, art academies, museums, and other repositories of art.
126.96.36.199.4. Workshops and Families
A workshop may be included if the workshop itself is a distinct, definable group of people collectively responsible for the creation of art (e.g., the thirteenth-century group of French illuminators known as the Soissons atelier). Generic attributions to studios or workshops are outside the scope of the ULAN. For example, when a painting is attributed to an unknown hand in the workshop of a known artist (e.g., as might be expressed in an object record as workshop of Raphael), this is outside the scope of the ULAN. Families of artists may be included as corporate bodies.
188.8.131.52.5. Anonymous and Unknown Artists
Anonymous artists are placed in the Person Facet if the hand of the anonymous artist has been identified. In such cases, it is common for scholars or a museum to have created an identity for him or her (e.g., Monogrammist A. C. or Master of the Aeneid Legend). The Unknown Artist Facet includes designations for cultures or nationalities that are used for cataloging when the work is not attributed to an identified artistic personality with an established oeuvre—for example, unknown Ancient Egyptian.
184.108.40.206.6. Amateur Artists
Amateur artists are individuals who create art as a pastime rather than as a profession, and who are typically not formally trained in creating art. Such artists may be included in the ULAN if their work is of the type and caliber typically collected by art museums and if their work has been documented by an authoritative source or reviewed in a published source. A criterion for inclusion is the availability of information for all required ULAN fields, including a published source (which may be an entry in a museum catalog).
220.127.116.11. What Is Excluded from the ULAN?
Excluded from the ULAN are those professionals who may play one of the roles described above—such as painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, architects, etc.—but whose products are not considered art. For example, a portrait painter is considered an artist, but a house painter is not. Photographers who create still photographs of landscapes, portraits, still lifes, events, or abstract compositions of the caliber of art are artists, but photographers producing forensic photographs are generally outside the scope of the ULAN. Likewise, an engineer involved in the artistic process of designing architecture is included in the ULAN, but engineers who design diesel engines and biomedical engineers are not.
Note that the nature of a designated role may be typically artistic in one period but not in another. A medieval mason was often involved in the creative design process, while a modern bricklayer generally is not. A cabinetmaker in the court of Louis XVI was probably producing high-quality furnishings considered art, while the work of a modern craftsman who remodels a kitchen is probably not considered art.
Creators outside the scope of the ULAN include those who create in media not typically collected by art museums. For example, still photographers are included, but cinematographers are generally outside the scope of the ULAN, as are authors, choreographers, directors of plays and movies, composers of music, dancers, musicians, singers, and actors. A creator may be included in the ULAN even if his or her primary or most famous life role was not that of an artist or architect. For example, Thomas Jefferson is best known as a founding father and president of the United States, but he was also an influential architect. Conversely, history remembers Leonardo da Vinci primarily as a painter and draftsman (i.e., artist), and for these roles he is included in the ULAN, but in his own time, his role as military engineer was one of his most important activities.
18.104.22.168. Fields in the ULAN
On the following page is a sample record from the published ULAN, showing many of the fields in the record. In addition to these fields displayed to the public, there are additional fields hidden from public view but used for retrieval or administrative purposes in the production database. For a brief discussion of the ULAN fields, see About the ULAN on the ULAN Web site. For a full description of the ULAN fields and the methodology for compiling and editing the data, see the Getty Vocabulary Program Editorial Guidelines online.
4.2.4. Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA)
CONA is the fourth Getty vocabulary and is in the early stages of development, as of this writing. It will be released initially with a core set of data from Getty projects and will be enlarged over the years through contributions from the user community. CONA fills a need for brief authoritative records for works of art and architecture. The target users are the visual resources, academic, and museum communities. CONA is a hierarchical database containing names, titles, and other core information for works of art. It is structured as a thesaurus and is compliant with ISO and NISO standards, as are the other three Getty vocabularies. Although CONA is an authority—not a full-blown database of object information—it complies with the cataloging rules for adequate minimal records described in CDWA and CCO.
CONA includes authority records for cultural works, including architecture and movable works such as paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, photographs, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums. The focus of CONA is works cataloged in scholarly literature, museum collections, visual resources collections, archives, libraries, and indexing projects with a primary emphasis on art, architecture, and archaeology. The coverage is global, from prehistory through the present. Names or titles for the works may be current, historical, and in various languages.
22.214.171.124.1. Built Works
Built works within the scope of CONA are architecture, which includes structures or parts of structures that are the result of conscious construction, are of practical use, are relatively stable and permanent, and are of a size and scale appropriate for—but not limited to—habitable buildings. Most built works in CONA are manifestations of the built environment typically classified as fine art, meaning it is generally considered to have aesthetic value, was designed by an architect (whether or not his or her name is known), and was constructed with skilled labor.
126.96.36.199.2. Movable Works
The term movable works is borrowed from legal jargon, referring to tangible objects capable of being moved or conveyed from one place to another, as opposed to real estate or other buildings. It is useful to separate the two types of works into different facets in CONA because movable works are typically located in a repository, have a repository identification number, have a provenance of former locations, and have other characteristics that generally differ from built works.
Movable works within the scope of CONA include the visual arts that are of the type collected by art museums, although the objects themselves may actually be held by an ethnographic, anthropological, or other type of museum, or owned by a private collector. Performance art is included in CONA under this facet as well.
188.8.131.52. What Is Excluded from CONA?
In general, CONA does not include records for objects in natural history or scientific collections, although there are exceptions for works of particularly fine craftsmanship that are of the type collected by art museums. CONA does not include names of musical or dramatic art, titles of documentary or feature films, or titles of literature. Exceptions that are included in CONA are illuminated manuscripts or illustrated books, artists' books, and artists' films. CONA does not include records for corporate bodies, although the building that houses the corporate body would be included, even if it has the same name as the corporate body. For example, the buildings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., are included in CONA; however, the corporate body that inhabits those buildings, also called the National Gallery of Art, is outside the scope of CONA (but within the scope for the ULAN).
184.108.40.206. Fields in CONA
On the opposite page are draft sample records of a built work and a movable work appropriate for CONA.
4.2.5. Conservation Thesaurus (CT)
At the time of this writing, the Getty Conservation Institute, working with the Getty Vocabulary Program, is embarking on the development of the Conservation Thesaurus (CT), which is intended to improve consistency in indexing and to allow more efficient vocabulary-assisted retrieval of professional literature and other records related to the discipline of conservation. The CT will be developed in collaboration with the professional conservation community. It will be designed to be integrated with the AAT, with which there will be some overlap.
4.3. Chenhall's Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging
The Revised Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging is a revised and expanded version of Robert Chenhall's system for classifying man-made objects. Nomenclature was first published in 1978 as a cataloging tool for historical organizations. It was developed at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York, under the guidance of museum director Robert Chenhall and in consultation with a group of museum professionals. The goal was to provide names of object types for indexing materials in the Strong Museum, other history museums, and other types of museums. It was to be based on taxonomic approaches already being used by the scientific community. The book was revised and expanded in 1988 by a committee of expert users and museum professionals. Nomenclature underwent another significant revision by a committee of experts and was published under the title Nomenclature 3.0 for Museum Cataloging.
4.3.1. Organization and Scope of Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging
Nomenclature is organized alphabetically and also by hierarchy, based on artifact categories and classifications. It was designed as an open-ended system into which new terms could be added over time. In organizing his system of classification, Chenhall tried to avoid overlapping and inconsistent categories, which he saw as a problem with previous classification schemes. He decided that the unifying principle of his classification would be original functional context of each object.
The revised Nomenclature contains six levels of hierarchy, arranged in ten categories: (1) Structures, (2) Furnishings, (3) Personal Artifacts, (4) Tools and Equipment for Materials, (5) Tools and Equipment for Science and Technology, (6) Tools and Equipment for Communication, (7) Distribution and Transportation Artifacts, (8) Communication Artifacts, (9) Recreational Artifacts, and (10) Unclassifiable Artifacts.
Subclassifications have been created as necessary, designating more specific functional groupings—for example, Storage and Display Furniture. The terms actually used for indexing are positioned alphabetically under these subdivisions. In the third edition, the earlier alphabetical listing has been replaced by a three-level object-term hierarchy, with primary object terms at the broadest level; under these primary terms there may be narrower secondary and tertiary terms.
4.3.2. Terms in Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging
Nomenclature makes a distinction between what it calls object names and object terms. In the context of Nomenclature, an object name is the common word or phrase used to designate an object, while an object term is the preferred designation for that object in Nomenclature. For example, in local usage, a particular type of chair may be called a rocker; this is its local object name. However, when that object is indexed using Nomenclature, the cataloger is advised to use the preferred Nomenclature term chair, rocking. In this case, the object name rocker is not included in Nomenclature as an alternate term for chair, rocking; however, local catalogers are advised to include the object name rocker in the local catalog record for retrieval by their users. In this example, the object name is a true synonym for the object term; in other cases, the object term may be a broader context for an object name that is not included in Nomenclature.
The use of the words names and terms is different in Nomenclature than in the AAT, although the same principle of distinguishing preferred terms from common terms and other variants exists in both. In the AAT, terms representing the same concept (including objects) are gathered into records. The terms are flagged as preferred, alternate preferred, used for (UF), as well as designations such as common term, scientific term, and neologism, among others. In the case of rocking chairs, the term rockers is included in the AAT as a used for term.
4.3.3. Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging vs. the AAT
Users of vocabularies often ask how Chenhall's Nomenclature differs from the AAT. There is some overlap, but the two vocabularies differ in several ways; thus, catalogers often need to use both.
- Nomenclature is more generalist, with shallow coverage of more disparate types of cultural artifacts, and it has headings in addition to terms. For art and architecture, the AAT has broader and deeper coverage.
- The only overlap between Nomenclature and the AAT is in the AAT Objects Facet.
- The AAT has incorporated all of Nomenclature that is within scope for the AAT.
- Much of Nomenclature is out of scope for the AAT (e.g., medical and surgical equipment) because the AAT focuses on art and cultural heritage.
- The AAT is a polyhierarchical thesaurus, compliant with national and international standards for thesaurus construction. The first two editions of Nomenclature were categorized authority lists. The third edition more closely approaches the model of a monohierarchical thesaurus. Accepted usage practice of the third edition of Nomenclature allows for objects to be cataloged with more than one term for cross-indexing purposes. By contrast, in the first two editions, standard practice was to assign only one term to an object, which discouraged and complicated cross-indexing of objects with multiple functional contexts.
- Nomenclature has fewer used for terms than the AAT. In Nomenclature, nonpreferred terms do not appear in the hierarchical list of terms but in the alphabetical list of terms in the back of the book, with the preferred term noted.
- Nomenclature has no qualifiers, while the AAT has qualifiers.
- Nomenclature is in English. The base language of the AAT is English; however, terms may exist in multiple languages.
- Nomenclature includes some compound terms (headings) that AAT users would construct for themselves.
- The third edition of Nomenclature will have definitions for broad terms at the category, classification, and subclassification level. Object terms will not have definitions, although some terms will be accompanied by helpful hints about usage. The AAT has scope notes for most terms at all levels.
- At the time of this writing, the draft revision of Nomenclature prefers capitalized and inverted terms, while the AAT prefers terms in lowercase and expressed in natural order.
- Nomenclature does not include the published warrant for each term. The AAT cites published sources and institutional contributors for most terms.
4.4. Library of Congress Authorities
The Library of Congress Authorities include subject, name, and title authority records created by or for the Library of Congress. These authorities comprise a tool used by librarians to establish forms of names for persons, places, meetings, and organizations as well as titles and subjects (i.e., topics) indexed in bibliographic records. Although the authorities were designed to provide uniform access and cross-references to materials in library catalogs, catalogers of art and art information who work outside the museum community also use the Library of Congress/NACO Authority File (LCNAF) and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies Service uses the MARC 21 Format for Authority Data, which provides a carrier for information concerning the authorized forms of names and subjects to be used as access points in MARC records.
4.4.1. Library of Congress/NACO Authority File (LCNAF)
At the time of this writing, the LCNAF includes over seven million personal names, corporate names, geographic names, and meeting names. Personal names include authors and other creators, such as editors, performers, photographers, and artists. The LCNAF also includes group authors and creators, such as corporate entities, government bodies, conferences, and jurisdictions.
LCNAF entries are established by the cooperating partners, which are primarily libraries in the United States, the British Library, the National Library of New Zealand, the National Library of South Africa, and the National Library of Australia. The Library of Congress also participates in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), an international cooperative effort to provide cataloging that meets mutually accepted standards of libraries around the world. Rules for establishing name forms are found in the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) manuals (currently under revision, with the working title Resource Description and Access [RDA]).
LCNAF exemplifies a controlled vocabulary that contains equivalence relationships between terms (or headings) and other relationships between related entities. For example, in the LCNAF MARC record, the 100 field may contain the preferred name for a person, and the 400 fields may contain variant names that refer to the same person; in other words, they are synonyms for the concept. Preferred names for authors are generally the inverted form of the name found on the title page of books and other published works. The 500 fields may contain references to related entities, such as between a group and the members of the group. The LCNAF record may include information in addition to the names/terms, such as biographical information including the birth and death dates. The LC Control Number provides a stable, unique numeric identification for the record.
4.4.2. Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
The LCSH system was originally designed as a controlled vocabulary for indexing the subject and form of the books and serials in the Library of Congress collection. Most libraries in the United States have now adopted the LCSH system. The LCSH was originally developed for print material, but it is also used for moving images, art objects, and architecture, primarily by art libraries or librarians. The Library of Congress participates in the Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO), a component of the PCC.
The LCSH authority contains approximately four hundred thousand Subject Authority records that are maintained by the Library of Congress. These subject headings are applied to every item within a library's collection and are designed to allow access to items that have similar subject matter; the cross-references may represent near-synonymous relationships rather than true synonyms. In the example on the following page, the heading in the 150 field, Motion pictures, is the preferred term for the concepts in the 450 fields—Films, Feature Films, Movies, and Cinema—which have similar, but not identical, meanings.
The LCSH system is often used as a subject retrieval tool in an automated environment that is very different from that for which it was developed. Displays may sometimes label entries with thesaurus codes for broader and narrower concepts, scope notes, etc.; however, it was not designed as a thesaurus, and the links do not always comply with standards for thesaurus construction.
A subject heading representing a single concept or object may appear as one word or as a multiple-word phrase that usually includes a noun and an adjectival or prepositional phrase (e.g., Human settlements). A heading may also comprise a precoordinated multiple-concept heading, which is made of two or more otherwise individual or independent concepts coordinated or related through one or more linking devices. Precoordination results in phrase headings or main-heading/subdivision combinations (e.g., Maya—Kings and rulers).
4.5. Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM)
The Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM) was developed from a list of terms for visual images used by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, including subject terms and descriptive terms. The Library of Congress developed the TGM in recognition of the differences in terms for visual rather than textual materials. Since its original appearance in 1980, the TGM has evolved into two separate lists, the TGM I: Subject Terms and the TGM II: Genre and Physical Characteristic Terms.
4.5.1. Scope of the TGM
The principal source for terms in the TGM was the LCSH. Other sources include the Legislative Indexing Vocabulary (LIV) for political and social issues, the AAT, and published dictionaries and encyclopedias. Although the TGM is in large part based on the LCSH, the TGM differs fundamentally in that it has, from the outset, applied a consistent hierarchical structure to the terms.
The format of the TGM is as an alphabetical display. Hierarchical, equivalence, and associative relationships may be included. The example above is a screen shot from the TGM I.
4.5.2. The TGM vs. the AAT
How does the TGM differ from the AAT? The TGM aims for a broader application, dealing with topics not generally covered in the AAT. However, the AAT has deeper, more comprehensive coverage of art and architecture. The TGM entries are presented with initial capital letters rather than lowercase; uses the standard thesaural abbreviations UF (used for), BT (broader term), NT (narrower term), and RT (related term); uses PN (public note) and CN (cataloger's note), which are unique to the TGM; and often omits scope notes (SN). The TGM thesaurus is displayed as a single alphabetical list of terms rather than as indented hierarchies.
The TGM users are encouraged to add nationality, geographic, chronological, and topical facet indicators when creating indexing entries, as is done in the LCSH (e.g., Civil rights—Georgia—Atlanta).
The TGM is intended to be a controlled vocabulary for describing a broad range of subjects, including activities, objects, and types of people, events, and places depicted in still pictures. While much of the TGM overlaps with the AAT, the TGM has subject terms that are typically out of scope for the AAT, such as Hammer & sickle. However, the TGM has fewer terms to describe the art objects themselves; for example, the TGM often includes narrower terms as UFs rather than as NTs (i.e., generic postings), making it more difficult to adopt the indexing principle of using the most specific term available.
Differences between the TGM and the AAT are illustrated in the example on the previous page. The hierarchical placement of the term differs in each vocabulary, based on the distinct logical structure inherent in each. The TGM includes generic postings, while the AAT does not: in the TGM, components of an altarpiece (predellas) and types of altarpieces (retables and reredoses) are UFs, while in the AAT they are all separate entries, though linked through associative relationships. In the AAT, the UFs and other variant terms are always true synonyms for the descriptor. This allows the AAT to be more precise, while the generic postings of the TGM allow it to be less complex (if less precise). In the example, there is no note defining the scope or usage of the term in the TGM, while most AAT terms have scope notes.
Iconclass was originally conceived by Henri van de Waal. It is now maintained by the Dutch art history institute Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD) in The Hague.
4.6.1. Structure and Scope of Iconclass
Iconclass is an alphanumeric classification scheme designed for the iconography of art, focusing primarily on religious and mythological stories and themes in Western art. Each alphanumeric code in Iconclass has an associated natural language entry in English (called a textual correlate) that identifies the meaning of the code. The textual correlates have been translated into several other languages.
Iconclass alphanumeric codes are used as a controlled vocabulary to describe and classify subjects of artworks in a standardized manner. Unlike other vocabularies, Iconclass is not based on terms per se. The textual correlates are generally long and too unwieldy to use as controlled terms. Iconclass has been supplemented with an index of keywords that help users locate the entries; however, these keywords are not unique and cannot be used as controlled vocabulary terms. Thus, the main indexing component of Iconclass remains the alphanumeric classification, which is explained to the user via textual correlates; the textual correlates are then indexed with keywords to provide additional access.
A standard entry in the Iconclass system consists of an alphanumeric notation and its textual correlate. The Iconclass system allows implementers to use additional features to increase the accuracy of meaning of a notation, including the addition of bracketed texts and designated keys, which are supplementary terms taken from an authorized list.
The main divisions of the Iconclass system are represented by the digits 0 to 9:
0 for Abstract, Nonrepresentational Art
1 for Religion and Magic
3 Human Being, Man in General
4 Society, Civilization, Culture
5 Abstract Ideas and Concepts
9 Classical Mythology and Ancient History
Within each division of Iconclass, entries are organized in increasing specific order. Each main division may be further divided by adding a second digit to the right of the first one. A third level of specificity may be attained by adding a letter in upper case. After that, subsequent levels of specificity are made by extending the notation to the right with more digits. Through this method of increasing specificity, the codes may be used to create a hierarchy, descending from broader to more specific.
In the example on the previous page, the Iconclass codes were used as the starting point to create the appearance of a hierarchy with indentation. The broader/narrower relationships represent a genus/species relationship.