Enhancing Access to Cultural Heritage Information

Introduction to Vocabularies: Enhancing Access to Cultural Heritage Information

Elisa Lanzi, with contributing editors Howard Besser, Joy Davis, Patricia Harpring, Christine L. Sundt, Helen R. Tibbo, Susanne R. Warren, Eleanor E. Fink, and David Green


72 pages

PDF file size: 27.4 MB


Digital networking will make our global cultural heritage accessible to a widespread audience. To reach this audience, it is essential to create and employ terminology that brings consistency to the language used in information retrieval contexts.

Introduction to Vocabularies highlights the crucial role that controlled vocabularies play in the description, cataloging, or documentation of cultural heritage information. The book stresses the importance of standards and the role of authority work in creating and managing vocabularies that would ensure integrated access. The book concludes with descriptions of three vocabulary databases developed by the Getty Information Institute.

The Introduction To series acquaints professionals and students with the complex issues and technologies in the production, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage information resources.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • A View from the Top: A Special Message for Administrators of Cultural Heritage Collections
    David Green, Executive Director, National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage
  • 1. What Is Cultural Heritage and Why Is It Important?
    • What is Cultural Heritage?
    • Adding Value to Cultural Heritage: Interpretation, Analysis, and Access
    • Cultural Heritage Information: Ten Characteristics
  • 2. Documentation: Analyzing and Recording Information
    • Different Approaches to Documentation
    • Vocabularies Are the Bridge
    • Documentation and the Web
  • 3. Standards: What Role Do They Play?
    • Why Standards?
    • Standards for Improving Documentation: Data Standards
    • What Are the Benefits of Standards?
  • 4. What, Why, and How of Vocabularies
    • Vocabularies as Knowledge Bases
    • Vocabularies: Types and Formats
    • The Role of Authority Work
    • Vocabulary Building
  • 5. The Getty Vocabularies: An Introduction
    • The Art & Architecture Thesaurus
    • The Union List of Artist Names
    • The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • 6. Improving Access Using Vocabularies: Theory into Practice
    • Vocabularies as Search Assistants
    • Vocabularies in Image Databases
    • Vocabularies in Library Catalogs
    • Vocabularies in Archival Description and Cataloging
    • Vocabularies in Museum Documentation
    • Vocabularies in Indexes
    • Vocabulary Browsers
    • Multilingual Vocabularies
  • Resources
    • Acronyms and Abbreviations
    • Readings
    • Tools

About the Authors

Elisa Lanzi is an independent Consultant and former acting director of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus.