Outline of the Categories of Information
Building a Common Framework for Catalogue Entries
Implementing a Common Framework
Organization of the Guidelines
Subjects/Built Works
People/Corporate Bodies
Geographic Locations
Bibliographic Sources
Group Entries
Volume (Sketchbook) Entry
Item Entries
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A Guide to the Description of Architectural Drawings


The following glossary is composed of terms that are defined specifically for the context of the Guide to the Description of Architectural Drawings. Names of categories and vocabulary terms for categories are excluded below, since they can be found in the text of the guidelines.

Access point:  A category of information that is designed to be retrievable. The term is used to distinguish categories designated as retrievable from those that are for display only (e.g., DESCRIPTIVE NOTE, see descriptive category). Access points are analogous to an indexed term in a manual card catalogue or printed book.

Administrative origin:  The person or corporate body responsible for gathering together and maintaining a group of documents.

Album: A bound volume or book of drawings, prints, photographs, texts, etc., bound as blank pages to which drawings and other media are affixed (compare with sketchbook).

Architectural documents: Any medium that refers to or depicts architectural works, structures, parts of structures, or designs, whether built or unbuilt. Included are textual documents such as specifications and letters; graphic documents such as drawings, prints, and photographs; models; and any other visual media that concern any portion of the built or unbuilt environment. Subjects may include not only architectural works, but also related subjects such as furniture, engineering designs, naval architecture, textiles, architectural ornaments, paper architecture, studies, landscape designs, and stage designs.

Architectural work: Any subject or built work. It can be a study or a design of a structure, or the representation of a design as depicted on a drawing, model, print, or other medium.

Authorities: See authority control.

Authority control: Authority control in the context of the Guide pertains to entities with proper names, i.e., people/corporate bodies, subjects/built works, and geographic locations. One of the major functions of authority control is to govern the form and content of proper names in order to ensure that all references to a given person or subject are collocated. An authority record may contain not only the preferred name, but all other names for the person or subject. An expanded authority record can also include contextual information, e.g., biographical or corporate histories.

Built work: A structure, component, or space that exists or has existed at some time in the past. A built work is often the subject of an architectural drawing, but many subjects were never built. Built works have many of the same attributes as subjects, and for this reason the categories of information used to identify and record the characteristics of both are combined (e.g., SUBJECT/BUILT WORK Name).

Catalogue entry: A verbal surrogate for a group of items or for an individual architectural drawing or other architectural document. A catalogue entry consists of information recorded in a number of categories (see category of information).

Category of information: A distinct piece of information that pertains to an entity, such as a group, item, subject, built work, person, corporate body, or geographic location. This may be a concept (e.g., METHOD OF REPRESENTATION/POINT OF VIEW), a proper name (e.g., MAKER/ORIGIN NAME), or an attribute such as the date of an item. In the case of an automated system, a category of information may be equatable to a single field or a group of related fields (e.g., the elements that must be combined to form a geographic location). There are two basic types of categories: descriptive (those which, when combined, form a description of the group or item), and access points (those which create indices by which the description may be retrieved).

Core categories: The basic information necessary to create a minimum catalogue entry. The Guide distinguishes between core and optional categories.

Corporate body: Any organization, association, or collective of two or more people. Legal incorporation is not a criterion.

Data structure: The interrelationships of information within a cataloguing system. At the broadest level, data structure includes definitions of entire entities, or files (e.g., groups/items, subjects/built works, etc.); the relationships among entities (e.g., a person can be the architect of a built work); the categories or attributes that define the entities (e.g., an item has a date of execution); and the relationships of categories to other categories (e.g., the group of three categories within DATE OF EXECUTION; such categories often can repeat together within an entry). Data structure in automated systems most often takes the form of a flat file structure or a relational file structure.

Descriptive category: A category of information that is free from terminology control, that is, expressed as free text. It is intended to be read as part of the catalogue entry once the entry has been retrieved. It is not meant to be used for retrieval (compare with access point).

Entity: A thing of significance about which information needs to be known or held. In the context of the Guide the principal conceptual entities are groups/items, subjects/built works, people/corporate bodies, and geographic locations. Bibliography is an ancillary entity.

Field: A basic unit of a computerized record. A field is a space reserved for the recording of a particular, predetermined category of information. The placing of information in fields imposes a data structure on the contents of a file which makes them more readily retrievable.

Flat file structure: A computerized file in which the fields that make up a record are held in a single file. Files of this type tend to be relatively simple to use but are not well suited to applications where much of the information is hierarchical and/or where multiple occurrences of fields are required (compare relational file structure).

Format control: Format control is used to ensure uniformity of syntax and punctuation. This aspect of terminology control is applicable to most types of information.

Free text: Natural language prose, often unstructured. In an automated system, free-text fields are for qualification and display of the contents of separate fields designated as access points (see also descriptive category).

Groups: An aggregate of items that share a common history. Groups are defined by repositories, and they often have several subgroups established according to archival principles of provenance. A catalogue record will correspond to one level of a group, be it the top or whole group or one of the parts, such as a series.

Index: An index can be any of the following: a written or printed list of terms, names, dates, etc., usually in alphabetical or numerical order; a number of file cards arranged in an ordered sequence; a structured computerized data file. In the context of the Guide, the purpose of a data file is to allow a catalogue--whether printed, manual, or computerized--to be searched for particular types of information (e.g., by proper names, concepts, dates, themes, etc.).

Item: Any physically integral item, such as a drawing, volume, document, sheet, or sketchbook.

Maker: The person who physically created an item (as distinct from the person who designed the subject depicted, e.g., the architect).

Multiples: Prints, photographs, or items in other media that can be created in multiples through graphic reproduction.

Optional categories: Categories of information that complement core categories; when these are provided, a fuller, more detailed entry is achieved.

Preferred term:  When a manual or automated catalogue requires that all variations of a word or name be cross-referenced to one and only one word or name, the latter is considered to be given favor. In such systems, users must look for the concept or entity under that preferred form if they wish to find all the related information available in the catalogue.

Record: The unit of a file. A computerized file is made up of a number of records, each of which is in turn made up of fields.

Recursive relationship: A relationship between information held in a field, group of fields, or complete record and information of the same type held in one or more other occurrences of that record, or part thereof. An example is the relationship between authority records for an architectural firm and its successor firm(s).

Relational file structure: A computerized file in which the fields that combine to make up a record are held in a number of files, or tables. This type of structure is well suited to applications that require the ability to relate and combine pieces of information held in a number of files for purposes of both searching and retrieval. In a relational structure any hierarchical relationships between elements of records can be modeled explicitly and reproduced in the structure. (In flat files these relationships are implicit.) A relational data structure also allows for multiple occurrences of individual fields or groups of fields (see also flat file structure).

Retrieval: In this context, the recovery of information from storage. The retrievability of information is determined to a large extent by the care which has been taken to make it retrievable through such means as terminology control and the design of data structure.
Sketchbook: A volume of drawings, watercolors, or works in other media applied directly to bound supports or pages.

Subject: That which is depicted on an architectural drawing or other document. It can represent a design, an exercise, or an architectural work, built or unbuilt.

Terminology control: The various means or methods by which information is expressed with consistency. The Guide defines three such distinct methods for the control of terminology: format control, vocabulary control, and authority control.

Vocabulary control: 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). In order to provide guidelines for the controlling of vocabulary, the Guide suggests ADAG-developed word lists in a few cases (see, for example, PURPOSE (BROAD)). In addition to these lists, reference is made to the Art and Architecture Thesaurus as one possible control for vocabularies within appropriate information categories.

Volumes: Volumes are bound albums and sketchbooks, the contents of which may or may not vary in the subjects depicted, technique, and media. Only volumes that are currently bound are included in this classification, since levels of description in core cataloguing are delimited by the current physical integrity of items. Reconstructions of historical volumes are not included for this reason, except as a note category (see RELATED ITEMS).