The Getty
Research Home Search Tools & Databases Learn about the Getty Vocabularies Editorial Guidelines Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online
Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online
Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN): Editorial Guidelines

Note that you must print out each chapter as a separate PDF. To print the HTML page as a PDF, use the "print" function of your browser.

CONTENTS

Preface
Purpose of These Guidelines
Purpose of the TGN
Focus
Use
Contributors


1 ABOUT THE GETTY THESAURUS OF GEOGRAPHIC NAMES (TGN)
    Introduction and Overview (PDF, 4.2 MB, 100pp)

1.1 GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT TGN
    1.1.1 Scope and Structure
    1.1.2 What is a Thesaurus?
    1.1.3 What is a Geographic Place?

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

1.3 RELEASING THE DATA
    1.3.1 Web browsers
    1.3.2 Licensed files

1.4 VOCABULARY COORDINATION SYSTEM (VCS)
    1.4.1 Database
    1.4.2 Merged Records
    1.4.3 Operating VCS



2 GENERAL GUIDELINES

2.1 GENERAL INFORMATION
    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 place

2.2 MERGING RECORDS
    2.2.1 Rules for merging
    2.2.2 Procedures for merging

2.3 MOVING RECORDS
    2.3.1 Rules for moving
    2.3.2 Procedures for moving

2.4 SAMPLE RECORDS
    2.4.1 Sample TGN record
    2.4.2 Sample TGN record in VCS

2.5 LIST OF FIELDS
    2.5.1 About the fields
    2.5.2 List of VCS Fields



3 EDITORIAL RULES


3.1 HIERARCHICAL RELATIONSHIPS
    3.1.1 Parents
(required)
    3.1.2 Sort Order
    3.1.3 Historical Flag: Current or Historical parents
    3.1.4 Dates for relationship to parents
    3.1.5 Parent String


3.2 IDENTIFYING NUMBERS, STATUS FLAGS, AND SUBJECT SOURCES
    3.2.1 Subject ID
(required default)
    3.2.2 Parent Key
(required)
    3.2.3 Merged Status
(required-default)
    3.2.4 Published Status
(required-default)
    3.2.5 Review Status
(required-default)
    3.2.6 Record Type
(required-default)
    3.2.7 Candidate Status
(required-default)
    3.2.8 Label
(required-default)
    3.2.9 Contributors for the Subject Record
(required)
    3.2.10 Sources for the Subject Record
(required)

3.3 NAMES
    3.3.1 Term ID
(required-default)
    3.3.2 Name
(required)
    3.3.3 Preferred Flag
(required-default)
    3.3.4 Qualifier
    3.3.5 Sequence Number
(required-default)
    3.3.6 Historical Flag
(required-default)
    3.3.7 Name Type
(required-default)
    3.3.8 Vernacular Flag
(required-default)
    3.3.9 Language for Names
    3.3.10 Preferred Flag for Language
    3.3.11 Contributor for Name
(required-default)
    3.3.12 Preferred Flag for Contributor
(required-default)
    3.3.13 Sources for Names
(required)
    3.3.14 Page Number for Name Source
(required)
    3.3.15 Preferred Flag for Source
(required-default)
    3.3.16 Dates for Names
    3.3.17 Display Name Flag
(required-default)
    3.3.18 AACR Flag (LC heading)
    3.3.19 Other Flags
    3.3.20 Assigned To


3.4 DESCRIPTIVE NOTE
    3.4.1 Descriptive Note
    3.4.2 Sources for the Descriptive Note
    3.4.3 Contributor for the Descriptive Note


3.5 ASSOCIATIVE RELATIONSHIPS
    3.5.1 Related Places
    3.5.2 Relationship Type
    3.5.3 Historical Flag
    3.5.4 Dates for Related Places


3.6 PLACE TYPES
    3.6.1 Place Type
(required)
    3.6.2 Preferred Flag
(required-default)
    3.6.3 Sequence Number
(required-default)
    3.6.4 Historical Flag
(required-default)
    3.6.5 Dates for Place Types


3.7 COORDINATES
    3.7.1 Coordinates
    3.7.2 Bounding Coordinates
    3.7.3 Elevation


3.8 ADMINISTRATIVE FLAGS, NOTES, AND REVISION HISTORY
    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 APPENDIX A: DIACRITICS
    4.1.1 How to Use Diacritical Codes
    4.1.2 Diacritical Codes: Quick Reference
    4.1.3 Diacritical Codes: Full List


4.2 APPENDIX B: DATES
    4.2.1 How to Record Dates
    4.2.2 How to Use the Date Authority
    4.2.3 Date Authority


4.3 APPENDIX C: SOURCES
    4.3.1 How to Record Sources
    4.3.2 Rules for Sources
    4.3.3 Merging Sources


4.4 APPENDIX D: CONTRIBUTORS
    4.4.1 How to Record Contributors

4.5 APPENDIX E: LANGUAGES
    4.5.1 How to Record Languages
    4.5.2 List of Languages

4.6 APPENDIX F: PLACE TYPES
    4.6.1 How to Record Place Types
    4.6.2 Place Type List


5.0 ADDENDUM Z: DATA DICTIONARY

 

 

 

GETTY THESAURUS OF GEOGRAPHIC NAMES: EDITORIAL GUIDELINES

compiled and edited by
Patricia Harpring, managing editor

the Getty Vocabulary Program
Antonio Beecroft, editor
Robin Johnson, editor
Jonathan Ward, editor

Revised: 25 August 2019

 

 

PREFACE

This document contains information about editorial practice for the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)®, one of the vocabularies produced by the Getty Vocabulary Program. The other two vocabularies are the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)® and the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)®. A fourth resource, the Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA)® is under development. NOTE: The guidelines in this document are subject to frequent modification and addition.

 

Purpose of these guidelines
This document contains rules and guidelines intended for use by the editors of the Getty Vocabulary Program using the in-house editorial system, VCS (Vocabulary Coordination System). Contributors to the Getty Vocabularies and implementers of the licensed vocabulary data may consult these guidelines as well. However, contributors and implementers should keep in mind that they must extrapolate information and guidance appropriate for their own needs and uses.

 

Purpose of the TGN
The AAT, TGN, and ULAN are structured vocabularies that can be used to improve access to information about art, architecture, and material culture. TGN includes places important to art and architecture, including historical empires and archaeological sites.

  • Cataloging: The Getty vocabularies may be used as data value standards at the point of documentation or cataloging. In this context, they may be used as a controlled vocabulary or authority by the cataloger or indexer; they provide preferred names/terms and synonyms for people, places, and things. They also provide structure and classification schemes that can aid in documentation.

  • Retrieval: They may be used as search assistants in database retrieval systems. They are knowledge bases that include semantic networks that show links and paths between concepts; these relationships can make retrieval more successful.

  • Research tools: They may be utilized as research tools, valuable because of the rich information and contextual knowledge that they contain.

  • Linked Open Data (LOD): The Getty vocabularies are constructed to allow their use in linked data. Releasing the Getty vocabularies as Linked Open Data is part of the Getty's ongoing effort to make our knowledge resources freely available to all. The AAT, TGN, and ULAN are now available as LOD. They are published under the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) 1.0.

    Making the Getty vocabularies available to the research community as LOD could have a truly transformative effect on the discipline of art history in general, and on Digital Art History in particular.


 

Focus
Thebes or Diospolis? TGN is a structured vocabulary, including names, descriptions, and other metadata for extant and historical cities, empires, archaeological sites, and physical features important to research of art and architecture. TGN may be linked to GIS, maps, and other geographic resources.

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

 

Use
The Getty Vocabularies are copyrighted: Copyright © J. Paul Getty Trust. All rights reserved. The data is available in various formats, both as Linked Open Data and as licensed files. For details, see Obtain the Getty Vocabularies.

 

Contributors
TGN is a compiled resource; it is not comprehensive. It grows over time to become gradually more comprehensive, to reflect changes in the current political world, and to accommodate new research in art history and archaeology. The TGN grows through contributions. Information in the TGN was compiled by the Getty Vocabulary Program in collaboration with many institutions. Institutions interested in becoming contributors to the TGN may write to vocab@getty.edu, explaining the scope of their collections and likely contributions.

 

For further information, please contact

the Getty Vocabulary Program
vocab@getty.edu

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


 

1

ABOUT THE GETTY THESAURUS OF GEOGRAPHIC NAMES

   

1.1

 

General Information about TGN

For a briefer general introduction, see TGN Introduction and Overview (PDF, 4.2 MB, 100pp).

     

1.1.1

 

 

Scope and Structure

     

1.1.1.1

 

 

Scope of the TGN
The TGN is a structured vocabulary containing names and other information about administrative places and physical features, current or historical. Names for a place may include names in the vernacular language, English, other languages, historical names, and names in natural order and inverted order. Among these names, one is flagged as the preferred name.

     

1.1.1.2

 

 

Structure of the data
The focus of each TGN record is a place. In the database, each place record (also called a subject in this manual) is identified by a unique numeric ID. Linked to the record for the place are names, the place's parent or position 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). The temporal coverage of the TGN ranges from prehistory to the present and the scope is global.

  • The TGN is a hierarchical database; its trees branch from a root called Top of the TGN hierarchies (Subject_ID: 1000000); it currently has two published facets, World and Extraterrestrial Places. Under the 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, making the TGN polyhierarchical. In addition to the hierarchical relationships, the TGN has equivalent and associative relationships; thus it is a thesaurus, in compliance with ISO and NISO standards.
   
     

 

 

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

1.1.2

 

 

What is a Thesaurus?

  • The TGN is a thesaurus. 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 or genus/species), and associative. Thesauri may be monolingual or multilingual. Most fields in TGN records are written in English. While the TGN is not fully multilingual strictly speaking, the structure of the TGN supports multilinguality insofar as names and scope notes may be written and flagged in multiple languages. Thesauri are used to ensure consistency in indexing and to facilitate the retrieval of information.

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.2.1

 

 

Relationships
Thesauri may have the following three relationships:

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.2.1.1

 

 

Equivalence relationships
The relationships between synonymous terms or names for the same concept, typically distinguishing preferred terms (descriptors) and non-preferred terms (variants).

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.2.1.2

 

 

Hierarchical relationships
Broader and narrower (parent/child) relationships between concepts. Hierarchical relationships are generally either whole/part or genus/species; in the TGN, most hierarchical relationships are whole/part (e.g., California is part of the United States). Relationships may be polyhierarchical, meaning that each child may be linked to multiple parents (e.g., Siena is part of modern Italy and also part of historical Etruria).

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.2.1.3

 

 

Associative relationships
The relationships between concepts that are closely related conceptually, but the relationship is not hierarchical because it is not whole/part or genus/species.

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.3

 

 

What is a Geographic Place?

  • In the context of the TGN, a geographic place is an administrative entity or a physical feature that has a proper name, is of the type recorded in atlases and gazetteers, and is required for cataloging art and architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.3.1

 

 

Political and Administrative Bodies
Administrative entities are political and administrative bodies are defined by administrative boundaries and conditions, including inhabited places, nations, empires, nations, states, districts, and townships. Administrative entities include those defined by boundaries set up by standard, independent sovereign states. In addition, administrative entities in the TGN may include those with government and boundaries defined by ecclesiastical or tribal authorities. TGN may include former administrative entities, such as historical kingdoms or deserted settlements.

      • Examples

primary political unit

dependent state

autonomous municipality

nation

federation

independent sovereign nation

empire

first level subdivision

country

bailiwick

kingdom

canton

city-state

special city

colony

commissary

commonwealth

metropolitan area

independent city

county

department

dependency

parish (political)

province

region

shire

state

territory

external territory

unincorporated territory

overseas territory

possession

occupied territory

second level subdivision

diocese

archdiocese

parish (ecclesiastical)

arrondissement

third level subdivision

borough

precinct

township

inhabited place

locale

rural community

hamlet

village

American Indian reservation

city

town

Aboriginal reserve

 

 

 

 

1.1.3.2

 

 

Physical Features
Physical features are characteristics of the Earth's surface that have been shaped by natural forces, including continents, mountains, forests, rivers, and oceans. They do not include man-made features, such as roads, reservoirs, or canals.

      • Examples

ocean

pond

river

creek

lakes

lake

intermittent lake

bay

strait

glacier

river mouth

waterfall

desert

oasis

wetland

marsh

continent

subcontinent

fault

volcano

dunes

arroyo

canyon

fluvial island

mountain

mountain range

mountain system

hill

hills

plateau

valley

basin

field

plain

cape

island group

island

peninsula

reef

shore

cave

crater

depression

pampa

prairie

savanna

jungle

forest

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.3.2.1

 

 

Extraterrestrial places
A small number of extraterrestrial places are included in TGN.

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.3.3

 

 

Places that no longer exist
The TGN may include places that are no longer extant. This includes deserted settlements, historical states, and lost physical features, such as submerged islands.

      • Examples
      • Top of the TGN hierarchy (hierarchy root)
        .... World (facet )
        ........ Europe (continent)
        ............ United Kingdom (nation)
        ................ England (country)
        .................... Northumberland (county)
        ........................ Carrawburgh (deserted settlement)

      • Top of the TGN hierarchy (hierarchy root)
        .... World (facet )
        ........ Europe (continent)
        ............ Flanders (former nation/state/empire)
        ................. Aalst (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Amiens (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Antwerp (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Arlon (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Arnhem (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Arras (inhabited place) [N]
        ................. Artois (historic region) [N]
        ................. [etc.]

      • Top of the TGN hierarchy (hierarchy root)
        .... World (facet )
        ........ Africa (continent)
        ............ Egypt (nation)
        ................ Urban (region)
        .................... Al-Iskandariyah (governorate)
        ........................ Alexandria (inhabited place)
        ............................. Al-Hadrah (neighborhood)
        ............................. Antirhodos (former island)
        ............................. Pharos (island)

 

 

 

 

 

1.1.3.4

 

 

What is excluded from TGN?
Smaller features typically found within the boundaries of a city are generally not included in TGN. Typically excluded from TGN are buildings, landmarks, and streets within cities, although certain large features may be included. Also excluded are mythical places, such as the Garden of Eden (such places would be recorded in the CONA Iconography Authority). Lost sites may be included if they are generally believed to have existed, even if their precise historical location is not currently known.

     

1.1.3.4.1

   

Built works
In general, architectural works are outside the scope of the TGN. Buildings are occasionally included in the TGN, but these are limited to structures that are located in the countryside (for example, abbeys, villas, and shopping centers), where they serve as a place name in the absence of a larger populated place. Certain other large, major man-made features are also included in TGN, for example the Great Wall of China and the Appian Way. Large, major examples of landscape architecture may be included if they are used as a place name, such as Central Park in New York City.

     

1.1.3.4.2

   

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, although the Ottoman Empire could be included.

 

 

1.2

 

Editorial control

 

     

1.2.1

   

Review process

  • Records are contributed by various institutions or projects or created and edited by the Vocabulary Program editors, following the Editorial Rules laid out in this manual.

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

  • Vocabulary Program (VP) editors follow strict rules when adding new records to the TGN. VP editors edit the contributors' records to comply with VP policy and practice; however, given the large number of records in the TGN, editors do not have the time or resources to edit every record. An editorial goal is to have uniform and homogeneous records throughout the TGN, but employing flexible standards for contributors' data means that the TGN database as whole is not entirely consistent or totally uniform.

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

 

   

1.2.2

   

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 the TGN, and 2) the incoming data will be in an appropriate format and generally consistent with the TGN standards.

  • Given that the TGN is compiled from various contributors' automated records, it is necessary to allow "flexible standards" in order to accept contributions from a wide variety of institutions with established, diverse practice. Compliance with the critical standards regarding technical rules, structure, content, and editorial guidelines is required; however, certain other content and editorial guidelines are considered non-critical and are therefore not strictly enforced for some contributors. For example, it is critical that all records are in a format that can be imported into the TGN and include the required fields. It is also critical that the required fields are indexed or formatted in a way that will allow retrieval. However, it is not critical that the preferred name in a non-Roman alphabet be transliterated using an ISO standard (although this is highly recommended) or that the descriptive note be phrased according to a uniform style (although this is recommended too).

 

1.3

 

Releasing the Data

 

     

1.3.1

   

Web searching

  • On the Getty Web site: Users may search for individual terms and names in the Getty vocabularies online. The data is refreshed every two weeks. The Getty vocabularies are made available via this Web interface to support limited research and cataloging efforts. Data is refreshed in the online Web versions of the AAT, TGN, and ULAN every two weeks.

 

   

1.3.2

   

Licensed files

  • Fee-free formats: Users may acquire the full data for AAT, TGN, and ULAN, which is available in JSON, RDF, N3/Turtle, and N-Triples under the Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By) 1.0, through our Linked Open Data project.
  • Licensing raw data files: The AAT, ULAN, and TGN are currently available in annual releases of XML and relational tables. An institution must acquire a license and pay the required fees in order to access the data. With the license, the data is also available via Web Services, where data is refreshed every two weeks. See the data dictionaries and more information about acquiring the data at the Download Center.
  • Incorporated in vendors' systems: The Getty vocabularies may be used in various collection management systems or other information systems, for example Adlib Information Systems, Cuadra Associates, Gallery Systems, KE Software/KE EMu, Luna Imaging, Questor Systems, Vernon Systems, or Willoughby Associates.
  • Data Dictionaries: The data dictionaries and other documentation describe the release formats and content of the Getty vocabularies. They do not give step-by-step instructions on how to construct a database or interface based on the data files; analysis and programming resources will be required to implement the vocabularies. The Getty does not provide technical support. View the data dictionaries and data from our Download Center.

 

1.4

 

Vocabulary Coordination System (VCS)

  • VCS is the editorial system used to house and edit the three Getty Vocabularies. 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.

 

     

1.4.1

   

Database

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

1.4.2

   

Merged Records

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

1.4.3

 

 

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.
       

Last updated 25 August 2015
Document is subject to frequent revisions

 




Back to Top

The J. Paul Getty Trust
The J. Paul Getty Trust
© J. Paul Getty Trust | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use