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Cultural Ojbects Name Authority Online
Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA): Editorial Guidelines


Purpose of these Guidelines
Purpose of CONA
Status and Focus

    Introduction and Overview (PDF, 13 MB, 236pp)

    1.1.1 Scope and Structure
    1.1.2 More about Structure
    1.1.3 What is a "Work" in CONA?

    1.2.1 Review process
    1.2.2 Does contributors' data follow editorial rules?

    1.3.1 Web browsers
    1.3.2 Licensed files
    1.3.3 Sample Displays of CONA Data

    1.4.1 Database
    1.4.2 Merged Records
    1.4.3 Operating VCS


    2.1.1 Following the rules
    2.1.2 Required fields and minimal records
    2.1.3 Format and values
    2.1.4 Capitalization and abbreviation
    2.1.5 Language of the Record
    2.1.6 Production goals
    2.1.7 Leaving unfinished records overnight
    2.1.8 Quality control
    2.1.9 Avoid plagiarism
    2.1.10 Uncertainty and ambiguity in display fields
    2.1.11 Uncertainty and ambiguity in indexing fields
    2.1.12 Uncertain identification of a work

    2.2.1 Rules for merging
    2.2.2 Procedures for merging

    2.3.1 Rules for moving
    2.3.2 Procedures for moving

    2.4.1 Sample CONA record
    2.5.1 About the fields
    2.5.2 List of VCS Fields


    3.1.1 Parents
    3.1.2 Sort Order
    3.1.3 Historical Flag: Current or Historical parents and other flags
    3.1.4 Dates for relationship to parents
    3.1.5 Parent String
(required default)
    3.1.6 Facet or Hierarchy Code

    3.2.1 Subject ID
(required default)
    3.2.2 Parent Key
    3.2.3 Merged Status
    3.2.4 Published Status
    3.2.5 Review Status
    3.2.6 Record Type
    3.2.7 Candidate Status
    3.2.8 Label
    3.2.9 Contributors for the Work Record
    3.2.10 Sources for the Work Record

    3.3.1 Term ID
    3.3.2 Titles/Names
    3.3.3 Preferred Flag
    3.3.4 Qualifier
    3.3.5 Sequence Number
    3.3.6 Historical Flag
    3.3.7 Term Type
    3.3.8 Part of Speech

    3.3.9 Vernacular Flag (required-default)
    3.3.10 Language for Titles/Names
    3.3.11 Preferred Flag for Language
    3.3.12 Language Status
    3.3.13 Contributor for Titles/Names
    3.3.14 Preferred Flag for Contributor
    3.3.15 Sources for Titles/Names
    3.3.16 Page Number for Title Source
    3.3.17 Preferred Flag for Source
    3.3.18 Dates for Titles/Names
    3.3.19 Display Title/Name Flag
    3.3.20 AACR Flag (LC heading)
    3.3.21 Other Flags
    3.3.22 Assigned To

    3.4.1 Descriptive Note
    3.4.2 Sources for the Descriptive Note
    3.4.3 Contributor for the Descriptive Note

    3.5.1 Related Works
    3.5.2 Relationship Type
    3.5.3 Historical Flag
    3.5.4 Dates for Related Works


    3.6.1 Work Type, Creator, Dates, Location Catalog Level
(required-default) Work Type
(required) Preferred Flag for Work Type
(required-default) Sequence Number
(required-default) Historical Flag
(required-default) Display Date for Work Type Start Date / End Date for Work Type Classification
(required) Preferred Flag for Classification
(required-default) Creator Display
(required) Preferred Flag for Creator
(required-default) Contributor for Creator Display
(required) Related Person / Corporate Body (required) Related Person Role
(required-default) Related Person Extent Related Person Qualifier Creation Date Display
(required) Date Qualifier Start Date and End Date
(required) Geographic or Corporate Body Location
(required) Location: Link to TGN Location: Link to ULAN Historical Flag for Location
(required-default) Location Type
(required-default) Repository Numbers
(required if applicable) Credit Line Address Note

    3.6.2 Physical Characteristics, Culture, Provenance Display Materials
(required) Material Term (required if applicable) Material Role Material Flag Material Extent Display Dimensions
(required) Value
(required if applicable) Unit
(required if applicable) Dimension Type
(required if applicable) Dimensions Extent Dimensions Qualifier Scale Type Format Shape Culture Term Culture Sequence Number Culture Preferred Flag Style Term Style Sequence Number Style Preferred Flag Style Type Creation Number Copyright Provenance Watermarks Inscriptions Typeface Marks State Edition

    3.6.3 Depicted Subject General Depicted Subject
(required) General Sequence Number (required-default) General Preferred Flag
(required-default) General Indexing Type General Subject Extent Specific Depicted Subject
(highly recommended if applicable) Specific Depicted Subject: Link to CONA Specific Depicted Subject: Link to ULAN Specific Depicted Subject: Link to TGN Specific Depicted Subject: Link to AAT Specific Depicted Subject: Link to IA Specific Sequence Number Specific Preferred Flag Specific Indexing Type Specific Subject Extent Outside Iconography Term Outside Iconography Code Outside Iconography Source Source Preferred Flag Source Page

    3.7.1 Event Type
    3.7.2 Preferred Flag for Event
    3.7.3 Sequence Number
    3.7.4 Event Place
    3.7.5 Dates for Event

    3.8.1 Comment Flag
    3.8.2 Problem Flag
    3.8.3 Assigned To
    3.8.4 Special Project
    3.8.5 Facet Code
    3.8.6 Legacy ID
    3.8.7 Class Notation
    3.8.8 Image
    3.8.9 Index Note
    3.8.10 Not Found Note
    3.8.11 Status Note
    3.8.12 Editor Note
    3.8.13 Revision History

    4.1.1 How to Use Diacritical Codes
    4.1.2 Diacritical Codes: Quick Reference
    4.1.3 Diacritical Codes: Full List

    4.2.1 How to Record Dates
    4.2.2 How to Use the Date Authority
    4.2.3 Date Authority

    4.3.1 How to Record Sources
    4.3.2 Rules for Sources
    4.3.3 Merging Sources

    4.4.1 How to Record Contributors

    4.5.1 How to Record Languages
    4.5.2 List of Languages




    compiled and edited by
    Patricia Harpring, managing editor, and
    the Getty Vocabulary Program:
    Robin Johnson, editor
    Jonathan Ward, editor
    Antonio Beecroft, editor

Revised: 27 November 2022


This document contains information about editorial practice for the Cultural Ojbects Name Authority (CONA)®, one of the Vocabularies produced by the Getty Vocabulary Program. The other Vocabularies are Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)®, Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)®, Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)®, and Getty Iconography Authority (IA)™.

NOTE: The guidelines in this document are subject to frequent modification and additions.

Purpose of these guidelines
This document contains rules and guidelines intended for use by contributors and the editors of the Getty Vocabulary Program. Implementers of the Vocabulary data should consult these guidelines to extrapolate information and guidance.

Purpose of CONA
CONA, AAT, TGN, ULAN, and IA are structured vocabularies that can be used to improve access to information about art, architecture, and material culture. The Getty Vocabularies are not simple 'value vocabularies'; they are unique knowledge bases in themselves. Through rich metadata and links, the Getty Vocabularies provide powerful conduits for knowledge creation, complex research, and discovery for digital art history and related disciplines.

  • Cataloging: For some users, the Getty Vocabularies are utilized as data value standards at the point of documentation or cataloging, to promote consistency in assignment of a term or to provide options among multiple titles or terms referencing the same concept. For example, CONA is used by visual resources catalogers to reference the works depicted in images; museums could use CONA to reference a work located elsewhere, but related to a work in their collection. The Vocabularies provide preferred names or terms and synonyms for art and architecture, people, places, and things. They also provide structure and classification schemes that can aid in documentation.

  • Linking: For other users, the Getty Vocabularies are used in linking, in order to reference the unique identifier of the Vocabulary record, to link through coreferences, or to otherwise reconcile their data.

  • Retrieval: For other users, the Getty Vocabularies aid in retrieval and discovery, utilizing synonymous terms, broader/narrower contexts, and other rich contextual data in search assistants, in database retrieval systems, and more broadly in a linked environment. The Vocabularies are rich knowledge bases that contain dozens of fields of rich contextual data about each concept, and semantic networks that highlight links and paths between concepts.

  • Research tools: For other users, the Getty Vocabularies are used as look-up resources, valuable because of the rich information and contextual knowledge that they contain.

  • In order to meet the needs of these various user communities, the Getty Vocabularies are made available in several ways.

  • Data formats: Releases include Linked Open Data (LOD) (JSON, RDF, N3/Turtle, N-Triples for GVP and Linked.Art), XML, Relational Tables, Web Services APIs. These files are used by developers or incorporated in various tools by vendors or others. These releases may be transformed to comply with other formats, such as the MARC format used for ULAN and TGN in the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). Some of these releases contain simplified versions of the data, while others contain the full, rich data sets, providing versions to meet the requirements of various developer communities. The AAT, TGN, and ULAN are available as LOD, relational tables, and XML. AAT, TGN, ULAN, CONA, and IA are available through APIs. The data file releases are refreshed periodically throughout the year. The Getty Vocabularies are published under The Getty Vocabularies are published under the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) 1.0.
  • Online search: The five Getty Vocabularies' online search pages are consistently the top sites visited at the Getty Research Institute Web site each month. Using these search tools, catalogers copy-and-paste Vocabulary terms and IDs as part of their daily workflow. Researchers use the search to locate rich information about the Vocabulary concepts. In the results displays, for each concept the data fields are presented in a logical full-record display for end users, as well as in hierarchical views. The online search data is refreshed monthly.

    Various releases or utilizations of the Getty Vocabulary data may contain more or less of the full, available data for each Vocabulary record, depending upon the purpose of the release. An implementation that intends to ask complex queries using the Vocabulary data would require the full available data. In another example, if a developer only needs to link to the unique identifier for the concept, perhaps a streamlined data set would be more appropriate; e.g., the ULAN data (and soon TGN data also) that is included in the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) is a subset of the full data available, which is streamlined and parsed to fit the particular requirements of MARC.

Yumedono or Dream Hall? CONA is a structured vocabulary that focuses on art, architecture, multiples, and works depicted in other works. It is a thesaurus that includes titles, artist attribution, creation dates, relationships, and location for works, both current and historical, documented as items or in groups, whether works are extant, destroyed, or planned but never built.

For further discussion of the history and scope of CONA, see About CONA.


The Getty Vocabularies are copyrighted: Copyright © J. Paul Getty Trust and released under Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) 1.0. For details, see Obtain the Getty Vocabularies.

CONA is a compiled resource; it is not comprehensive and is not intended to be comprehensive. CONA grows over time to accommodate new research and discovery in its stated focal areas in the disciplines of architecture, art history, archaeology, and related disciplines. Information in CONA is compiled by the Getty Vocabulary Program in collaboration with many institutions and other expert users. Institutions interested in becoming contributors should follow instructions at Contribute.


For further information, please contact

the Getty Vocabulary Program

Getty Vocabulary Program
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049







General Information about CONA

For a briefer general introduction, see CONA Introduction and Overview (PDF, 13 MB, 236pp).





Scope and Structure



Scope of CONA
The current focus of development in CONA includes architecture, destroyed works, disassembled parts of works, lost works, works never built, and works depicted in visual surrogates or other works. CONA records may represent works that are extant or historical, whether realized or conceptual. The scope of CONA may include many types of visual works: built works and movable works such as paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, basketry, ceramics, furniture, other visual media such as frescoes and architectural sculpture, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional or ceremonial objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums. It is our goal to be ever more inclusive of various cultures and their visual works, thus objects recorded in CONA are not necessarily labeled as art according to traditional Western aesthetics.

CONA data may be contributed from multiple contributors and other sources; the resulting merged or linked metadata provides a rich resource for compilations of points of view and discovery. The unique CONA ID provides for disambiguation of linked data about works. CONA includes coreferences to other IDs applied to the same work, including IDs in Library of Congress authorities, other authorities, and IDs used by the repositories of works.

What is excluded in CONA? CONA is not comprehensive. As of this writing, CONA contains around 107,493 titles of works. In general, out of scope for CONA are objects in natural history or scientific collections, although these works indeed fit into the framework of CONA and may be included if collected in art museums. CONA may include artists' films, but in general films, literary works, or musical works are out of scope for CONA. CONA does not include records for corporate bodies, although the building that houses the corporate body could 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, DC, 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 scope for ULAN). Overall, records that lack the minimal information for a CONA record are excluded; see guidelines for contributions for more information regarding minimum contribution requirements.



Structure of the Data
The focus of each CONA record is a work of art or architecture. In the database, each work's record (also called a subject in the database, not to be confused with iconographical depicted subjects of art works) is identified by a unique numeric ID. Linked to each work's record are titles/names, current location, dates, other fields, related works, a parent (that is, a position in the hierarchy), sources for the data, and notes. The coverage of CONA is global, from prehistory through the present. Names or titles may be current, historical, and in various languages.



Facets and heirarchies
The primary top divisions of CONA are the facets Built Work and Movable Work.

  • Unpublished facets in CONA are used for candidate records. Unpublished facets and hierarchies are designated by a flag and the "name" temp.parent (e.g., temp.parent/candidate records)




More about Structure

CONA is mapped to CIDOC CRM. A Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships used in cultural heritage documentation. The CIDOC CRM is intended to promote a shared understanding of cultural heritage information by providing a common and extensible semantic framework to which any cultural heritage information can be mapped.

The basic core structure of CONA may also be conceived as a thesaurus, with other types of information clustered around this thesaural structure. In this way, CONA easily fits with and may interact with the other Getty Vocabularies, AAT, TGN, IA, and ULAN, which are thesauri.

What is a thesarus? A thesaurus is a semantic network of unique concepts, including relationships between synonyms, broader and narrower (parent/child) contexts, and other related concepts. Thesauri allow three types of relationships: equivalence (synonym), hierarchical (whole/part, instance, or genus/species), and associative.

  • There are many fields in CONA, however through titles/names (equivalence relationships), as well as hierarchical and associative relationships, the basic structure of CONA is that of a thesaurus in compliance with ISO and NISO standards. Although it may be displayed as a list, CONA is a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the CONA hierarchy (Subject_ID: 700000000).

  • There may be multiple broader contexts, making CONA polyhierarchical. In addition to the hierarchical relationships (e.g., between a print and the larger volume to which it belongs), CONA has equivalence relationships (between equivalent titles/names) and associative relationships (e.g., between a sketch and the final work).

  • Most fields in CONA records are written in English. However, the structure of CONA supports multilinguality insofar as titles/names and descriptive notes may be written and flagged in multiple languages. All terms and other information are written in Unicode.





Thesauri may have the following three relationships:





Equivalence relationships
The relationships between synonymous titles or names that refer to the same work, typically distinguishing preferred titles and non-preferred terms (variants).





Hierarchical relationships
Broader and narrower (parent/child) relationships between concepts. Hierarchical relationships are generally either whole/part, genus/species, or instance; in CONA, most hierarchical relationships are whole part (e.g., a drawing is a part of a sketchbook). Relationships may be polyhierarchical, meaning that each child may be linked to multiple parents. Historical whole/part relationships may be tracked, for example, folios of disassembled manuscripts may be brought together again in CONA.





Associative relationships
The relationships between works that are directly related, but the relationship is not hierarchical because it is not whole/part or genus/species. An example is a drawing that is a study for a built work.





What is a "Work" in CONA?
CONA contains records for Built Works and Movable Works.

  • Built works:  For CONA, built works include 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. Models and miniature buildings are not built works (they are movable works). Many built works in CONA are manifestations of the built environment that are typically classified as fine art, meaning it is generally considered to have esthetic value, was designed by an architect (whether or not his or her name is known), and constructed with skilled labor. However, other structures that do not fall under this definition of western aesthetics are also be included, particularly when the works represent diverse cultural and ethnic points of view.

  • Movable works: For CONA, movable works include the visual arts and other visual cultural works that are of the type collected by art museums and special collections, or by an ethnographic, anthropological, or other museum, or owned by a private collector. Examples include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, ceramics, textiles, furniture, and other visual media such as frescoes and architectural sculpture, performance art, archaeological artifacts, and various functional objects that are from the realm of material culture and of the type collected by museums. CONA also includes visual works of cultural importance, having utilitarian or ritual purposes, that are not necessarily considered art according to western aesthetics. Are monumental works “movable works”? For stained glass windows, architectural sculptures, frescoes, freestanding monumental sculptures, furniture, and such other large works, the works should be cataloged as movable works, because their characteristics (types of artists, materials, designs, etc.) have more in common with movable works than with architecture; such works should be linked to the built work with which they are associated, if any.

  • With the exception of performance art, built works and movable works in CONA are unique physical works. However, CONA may include works that were never built or that no longer exist, for example designs for a building that was not constructed or a work that has been destroyed.

  • Conceptual works: This facet contains records for series as a concept, conceptual records for multiples, records for a conceptual group as for an architectural competition, and other similar records. Physical works, such as prints that belong to a series, may be linked to the conceptual record for the series or other conceptual works.

  • Visual Surrogates: This facet contains records for images and three-dimensional works intended to be surrogates for the works depicted, for example study photographs.

  • Unidentified Named Works: This facet contains records for works described in archival inventories or other sources, but their identity is not established.









Editorial control









Review Process

  • Records are created and edited by the Vocabulary Program editors and trained, established contributors, following the Editorial Rules laid out in this manual.

  • Other records are loaded from data extracted from contributors' cataloging systems or other databases. Metadata from other resources may be linked to the CONA records.

  • As time permits, the Vocabulary Program reviews individual records from contributors before they are released in CONA. All contributions are checked, but with less supervision required for trained, established contributors.

  • Vocabulary Program (VP) editors follow strict rules when adding new records to CONA, based on best practice established in Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA). VP editors edit the contributors' records to comply with VP policy and practice. An editorial goal is to have uniform and homogeneous records throughout CONA, however, flexible standards are in place.

  • The VP collects new issues that arise during the course of accepting contributions and editing CONA. The resolutions of these issues are periodically transferred to an updated version of the manual.









Does contributors' data follow editorial rules?

  • The Vocabulary Program communicates with and trains potential contributors, to assure that 1) the incoming data will be within the scope of CONA, and 2) the incoming data will be in appropriate format and generally consistent with CONA standards.

  • At the same time, preferences of contributing institutions, particularly owners and repositories, are respected. Repositories typically have existing cataloging rules. However, given that CONA is based on CDWA, which in turn reflects best practice as agreed by numerous and varied museums, archives, libraries, and other institutions, most contributors are already in agreement with CONA editorial rules.

  • Every effort is made to ensure that CONA data is consistent. However, given that CONA may be compiled from various contributors' automated records, it is necessary to allow "flexible standards" in order to accept contributions. Compliance with the critical standards regarding technical rules, structure, content, and editorial guidelines are required; however, certain other content and editorial guidelines are considered non-critical and are therefore not strictly enforced for some contributors.









Releasing the data









Web searching

  • On the Getty Web site: Users may search for individual titles and names, qualified by other fields, in the Getty Vocabularies online. Using these search tools, catalogers may copy-and-paste Vocabulary terms and IDs as part of their daily workflow. Researchers use the search to locate rich information about the Vocabulary concepts. In the results displays, for each concept the data fields are presented in a logical full-record display for end users, as well as in hierarchical views. The online search data is refreshed monthly.









Licensed files




Sample Displays of CONA Data









Vocabulary Coordination System (VCS)

  • VCS is the editorial system used to house and edit the CONA and the other Getty Vocabularies. CONA and each vocabulary is stored in a separate iteration of VCS. References to "the system" refer to VCS. References made to "fields" refer to data elements in VCS. References to a "record" or "subject record" refer to an intellectual record comprising all the data linked to a given Subject ID in the data structure (not to be confused with the depicted iconographical "subject").

  • In various fields, CONA is linked to AAT, TGN, ULAN, and IA.










  • VCS uses a relational database; the database models for each of the five vocabularies are identical in most ways, differing only where necessary. See the Data Dictionary for further information.









Merged Records

  • CONA is compiled from information that has been collected by the Getty and other institutions. When multiple contributors have submitted information about the same work, all the titles and other information about this work should be merged into a single record ("merge" is a function of the VCS editorial system).









Operating VCS

  • The chapters in this manual contain definitions of the fields, suggested values, sources where the values may be found, and rules for entering the data where relevant. The fields are presented roughly in the order in which they are found in VCS.

  • While there is some mention of the functionality of VCS in this manual, detailed instructions for the system are not included here. Instructions regarding how to use VCS are provided during training.

Updated 27 November 2022
Document is subject to frequent revisions


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