Standards > Terminology and Vocabulary

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Words Versus Terms: Is There a Difference? Wayne Ellis, ASTM Standardization News, November 1991


Vocabulary control refers to generic terminology, or common nouns and adjectives, e.g., isometric projection. Various mechanisms may be employed to ensure that the same word is used whenever such a concept is made an access point. These range from simple word lists from which a cataloguer/researcher must select, to thesauri in which words are arranged in a structured order and are related to other words (e.g., synonyms and broader/narrower words).

Glossary, A Guide to the Description of Architectural Drawings, Getty Standards and Digital Resource Management Program, J. Paul Getty Trust


The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), The Getty Research Institute, The J. Paul Getty Trust.

The AAT is a structured vocabulary of more than 125,000 terms, scope notes, and other information for describing fine art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, and material culture. The focus of each of the Getty vocabularies is art, architecture and material culture. The vocabularies provide terminology and other information about the objects, concepts, artists, and places important to various disciplines that specialize in these subjects. The primary users of the Getty vocabularies include museums, art libraries, archives, visual resource collection catalogers, bibliographic projects concerned with art, researchers in art and art history, and the information specialists who are dealing with the needs of these users.

Art & Architecture Thesaurus Browser, The J. Paul Getty Trust.

Art & Architecture Thesaurus. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

The Getty Research Institute's Vocabulary Databases (the Art & Architecture Thesaurus®, the Union List of Artist Names®, and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names™) contain terminology and other information about the visual arts, architecture, artists, and geographic places. The AAT, ULAN, and TGN are structured vocabularies that can be used to improve access to information about art, architecture, and material culture.

The AAT is a structured vocabulary containing around 125,000 terms and other information about concepts. Terms in AAT may be used to describe art, architecture, decorative arts, material culture, and archival materials. The coverage of the AAT ranges from Antiquity to the present, and the scope is global.

The focus of each AAT record is a concept. In the database, each concept (or "record") is identified by a unique numeric ID. Linked to each concept are terms, related concepts, a "parent" (that is, a position in the hierarchy), sources for the data, and notes. Terms for any concept can include the plural, singular, natural order, inverted order, spelling variants, various forms of speech, and synonyms that have various etymological roots. Among these terms, one is flagged as the preferred term, or "descriptor."

Introduction to Archival Organization and Description:Access to Cultural Heritage, Getty Standards and Digital Resource Management Program, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Trust

Compilation of ASTM Standard Definitions, ASTM International

British Museum, Objects Names Thesaurus

English Heritage, National Monuments Record Thesauri

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